Milwaukee Bucks Team Previewby Jacari McRae October 6, 2021 0 comments
The Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t have asked for a better season in 2020-2021. It all finished with the team capturing its first NBA Championship in 50 years. The year started with a trade to acquire Jrue Holiday. The move even led Giannis Antetokounmpo re-signing on a supermax extension. They ended the regular season with a record of 46-26. While the record was lower than it was in 2019-2020, the Bucks were clearly better than they were a year prior. This time, they added toughness in Holiday, P.J. Tucker, and Bobby Portis. They all played a key role in Milwaukee’s championship run.
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After winning the NBA Championship, the Bucks now have to defend their title. This past offseason, many teams around the league made roster moves to improve their chances. The Bucks, however, had a quiet offseason. They re-signed Portis and added a shooter in Grayson Allen. Backup point guard Jeff Teague was replaced with George Hill. Milwaukee did lose a key starter in Tucker, who signed with the Miami Heat during free agency. Even with the loss of Tucker though, the Bucks still remain the best team in the East Conference.
The Starting Five
Allen provides good spacing for this five-man unit. While his defense is questionable, the others in the lineup should provide enough defensive pressure. They have one of the best on-ball defenders in Holiday. Antetokounmpo is a former defensive player of the year award winner. Lopez protects the paint well. In addition, Middleton can hold his own defensively. With Tucker gone, Antetokounmpo will have the challenge of guarding Kevin Durant, when the Bucks play a team like the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bucks second unit isn’t as impressive. It also wasn’t impressive last year. However, the Bucks’ leading stars carried enough of the load throughout the playoffs. This season, the bench is similarly thin. They replaced Bryn Forbes with Hill and Rodney Hood. Milwaukee is really thin in it’s power rotation. Portis, who is not a good rim protector, will likely play backup center. The Bucks will need their stars to carry the load yet again if they want to make another run deep into the playoffs.
One Potential Move to Make
The team’s frontcourt is where the team’s brass will likely look to improve. Right now, Lopez and Portis are playing the five. It’s even possible that Antetokounmpo could see some time at the five as well. With Tucker gone, the Bucks will probably be in the market for another frontcourt player. However, the Bucks don’t have the necessary assets to realistically pull off a trade. The team’s biggest trade chip might be Pat Connaughton and his $5.3 million salary. Unless Hood or Hill shine though, there’s no need to move him. Don’t be surprised if the Bucks roster remains the same throughout the season.
The Bucks and Nets are clearly the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Antetokounmpo will be in the running for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. The Bucks biggest threat in the Eastern Conference is Brooklyn. It will be interesting to see how they fare against a healthy Nets team this time around. Can the Bucks repeat? We’re about to find out.
Season Prediction: 58-24 and Win the Central Division
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