Coming off of a great bounce-back season, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have to take the next step: make it to the NBA Finals. The only question that last season and the offseason have left us with is this: do the Bucks have enough support around Giannis to make it that far?
There’s no doubt that head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system of surrounding Antetokounmpo with shooters created a roulette of choices for opposing teams. Do they let the threes fly, or let the Greek Freak drop 40 on them? That said, even with the perfect offensive system, and having the league’s MVP on the floor, the Bucks were wiped away by the Toronto Raptors.
The key for the Bucks will be to not overcorrect. Just continue to do the same things this season. Being a team that runs and guns in today’s NBA is such an important key to success, especially when you have a transcendent player like Giannis, who can create for others, as well as dominate on the offensive end.
This offseason, the Bucks added a few key role players and brought back most of their core from last season. They brought in Kyle Korver, who played for Budenholzer in Atlanta, and Robin Lopez to play with his brother Brook Lopez who was key for Milwaukee last season.
Korver is one of the greatest shooters we’ve seen in league history, and he has continued to age like a fine wine. He’s not much on the defensive end these days, so he might not be able to give the Bucks a ton of minutes, but there’s no doubt his shooting will be a great asset to the roster.
Lopez will bring defensive intensity and playmaking out of the post. In the past few seasons, he has improved his shooting range, but his strengths are in the post.
A huge missing piece this season will be Malcolm Brogdon, who signed with Indiana this summer. His defensive intensity and ability to get to the basket will be missed, but it seems that the front office valued Eric Bledsoe’s offensive ability over what Brogdon brought to the table.
The biggest key for the Bucks this season will be for Giannis to knock down jumpers. That is the one criticism you can find in his game. The man is basically flawless. He’s a great defender, an excellent passer and a force near the basket, but his shooting ability leaves a lot to be desired. That said, he’s still the league’s MVP without being able to knock down shots consistently, but the Bucks’ life would be even easier if he could dominate by stretching the floor as well.
The Bucks being at the top of the league is something that we can count on this season. They will probably win 60 games this season. Antetokounmpo will definitely be an All-Star and an MVP candidate once again. The only question that remains is whether or not they can push through the top tier of Eastern Conference teams and get to the NBA Finals.