The Milwaukee Bucks are the 2020-2021 NBA champions. During the shortened season, the Bucks finished with the third seed in the Eastern Conference. With a record of 46-26, the Giannis Antetokounmpo led Bucks team finished the season as world champions.
The Milwaukee Bucks made some major moves to end their 50-year drought. The team acquired point guard Jrue Holiday over the recent offseason, which boosted the team both offensively and defensively. The team also added a pesky defender in P.J. Tucker, who was amazing during their title run. Milwaukee also acquired guard Jeff Teague and Bryn Forbes who each played a role during the team’s playoff run. Every move made by this Milwaukee team helped Antetokounmpo win his first title.
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Milwaukee had a disappointing regular season. Projected to be the top team in the Eastern Conference going into the season, the team dealt with a rocky start. Milwaukee throughout the season would go on multiple losing streaks that hindered their chances of obtaining the number one seed. With the addition of James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, the Eastern Conference became a very difficult race to finish for the top spot.
Under Mike Budenholzer the team was still amongst the best defensively. With the additions of Holiday and Tucker, the team became more versatile defensively. The moves throughout the recent offseason and during the season helped their star Antetokounmpo as they provided more assistance to ease up the load.
The Bucks for the past three years have been contenders to win the NBA Finals, but have been falling short in the playoffs. The expectation for this season was yet again to win a title with Antetokounmpo. The team faced great adversity during the playoffs, as they had to face a gritty Miami Heat team, the Brooklyn Nets, and a red-hot Atlanta Hawks. Milwaukee barely scraped by the injured Nets who were an inch away from losing the series. The team then faced an Atlanta Hawks team that was sweeping the nation. If Trae Young were to not go down with an ankle injury, the Bucks may have been sitting home watching the NBA Finals. Antetokounmpo throughout the whole playoffs, was the leading force to this championship run, not having one bad game.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo
It should not come as a surprise that Antetounmpo was the team’s MVP this season. The forward received another All-NBA first-team nod and had some votes for MVP. The Greek Freak finished the season yet again as a contender for the league’s best player. In the playoffs, especially in the NBA Finals, he was the catalyst of the team’s high success.
The versatile forward averaged 28.1 points, eleven rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game on the season. During the playoffs, Antetokounmpo averaged 30.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. The two-time MVP winner showcased why he leads this Milwaukee Buck’s organization, as he is an unstoppable force on the court.
Defensive Player of the Year – Giannis Antetokounmpo
There are only five players in the NBA who have been able to win both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season. Antetokounmpo had done that the season prior and was close to repeating that this season. The Greek Freak was able to garner some votes for defensive player of the year yet again. As the forward, is a dominant force in the paint. In-game six of the NBA finals, Antetokounmpo showcased his defensive prowess with five blocks on the night.
Antetokounmpo is always tasked to guard the best offensive player. As he had to guard, Kevin Durant, Trae Young, and Devin Booker throughout the playoffs. The former defensive player of the year averaged 1.2 steals and blocks per game on the season.
Sixth man of the Year – Bryn Forbes
The Milwaukee Buck’s bench was nothing spectacular this season. The team was built under Budenholzer to serve as a defensive team. Forbes was an exception, as he would provide the offensive spark off the bench. In 19 minutes a game the shooter averaged ten points per game on 47 percent from the field and 45 percent from three.
Forbes was a tremendous addition to the Bucks last offseason, as the team struggled to shoot the ball off the bench. The veteran guard comes into games and provides the necessary shooting volume the team lacked.
Biggest Surprise – Bobby Portis
Portis was on the verge of being out of the league. Last season he played with a struggling New York Knicks squad and performed only mediocrely. Portis was entering his fourth team in four years when signing with the Milwaukee Bucks organization. He would end up being a big help for the team later down the stretch as his explosive playstyle would give life to the Buck’s bench.
Although Portis was very inconsistent throughout the season, he had stretches to which he was the fourth-best player on the roster. A rather large improvement from prior seasons where he received most of his minutes on struggling teams. Portis even had bright spots in the NBA Finals, where he had 16 valuable points in a game six victory. The center just revitalized his career and could be seeing more promising minutes after this season’s performance.
Biggest Disappointment – Donte DiVincenzo
DiVincenzo was supposed to be traded to the Sacramento King’s last offseason. However, the trade went down the drain after an alleged case for tampering was brought up against Buck’s organization. The trade would have brought in forward Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign and trade deal. However, the league deemed it tampering and Bogdanovic would later sign with the Atlanta Hawks.
DiVencenzo would stay with the team in an awkward situation, after being traded but staying on the roster would mean some animosity against the team. Although it was not shown through the media, it seemed it affected his game. In 27 minutes as a starter, the shooting guard averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and three assists per game. His field goal percentage dropped heavily as he only shot 42 percent from the field, outside of his 45 percent from the previous year. Although the guard did not have a terrible season, he has yet to improve from the previous season. DiVencenzo has yet to break out into a reliable starter and is better suited for the bench for this Bucks team.
Antetokounmpo told media back in 2014 that he wanted to stay in Milwaukee until he was able to win them a championship. Well, now that he has done that it should not come as a surprise that the Greek Freak might eventually leave the organization. However, this is just speculation. There have been no rumors that Antetkounmpo wants out of Milwaukee, but the Finals performance that his team gave him was very underwhelming.
The team is not in a position to add any other stars to the roster, as both Holiday and Khris Middleton are on max contracts. The core of the team is all set until the 2024-2025 NBA season. This means that team will have to move either Holiday or Middleton for another talent down the line. Antetokounmpo is signed until the 2025-2026 season, but if the team does not show consistency after winning this title, the team could have a very disgruntled superstar.
In the short term, the Bucks will need to constantly upgrade the bench. The bench was not bad for the team this season, however, the team could still use more shooting depth on the roster. Players such as J.J. Redick, Tony Snell, and Doug McDermott could all be viable options for the bench. If Milwaukee is serious about keeping the Greek Freak happy, then building up the bench should be their main priority this offseason.
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