Before this year, the Milwaukee Bucks haven’t been taken seriously as contenders since the “Big Three” era in the early 2000s, when Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson, and Sam Cassell lead the team. However, 2019 has changed all of that. For the first time in awhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP caliber season has turned many skeptics into believers, so much so, that even buyout candidates and veterans have decided to join the Bucks this year, as evidenced by Pau Gasol’s signing. Can you believe that Milwaukee is now considered a destination spot for free agent players? I never thought I would write that sentence.
This is what we call, The Giannis Effect….coming soon this June...Okay I’ll let myself out.
Regardless, The Bucks’ high-powered offense, courtesy of former NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer, has transformed this team into a legitimate candidate, arguably “the” candidate, to come out of the Eastern Conference this year. The Bucks have the luxury of having each position in the starting five being able to take their matchup one on one. This decision corrects what was wrong with Budenholzer’s Atlanta Hawks team in 2015. Though, each player fit well into his system, there wasn’t really a player besides Jeff Teague or Paul Millsap (not great options by any means) that could be the go-to guy when a bucket was needed. With this Bucks team, not only do you have a transcendent talent in Giannis that can literally do it all, but former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, blossoming star Khris Middleton, and former franchise players (for the Suns and Nets respectively) Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez, that not only fit well into the highly successful Budenholzer offense, but they can all create on their own and can switch onto any defender on defense. Oh, did I forget they can all shoot as well? Giannis is considered the worst shooter, but if you have seen lately, he has been improving by the day.
At first, the thought was that when the playoffs begin, and the game slows down, Giannis will fall apart because of his jump shot, but that’s not the case anymore. No matter how their star plays, he has backup that will be able to score well until June.
With the addition of Nikola Mirotic and the surprising play of Pat Connaughton and D.J. Wilson, along with a bench mob consisting of the improved Tony Snell, Ersan Ilyasova, and George Hill, this might be the most complete Bucks team since their 1971 title season.
Obviously, the talent level isn’t comparable to Kareem and Oscar, we can’t deny the potential of this team. The only thing holding back the Bucks now is injury, as Brogdan might be out until the playoffs start (or even later), and Mirotic might be out for up to a month. This could impact the team’s chemistry, which might be the one thing that needs to be worried about as we inch closer and closer to the first round. The only way to improve this team now is veteran leadership which can only help the chemistry of this team.
Once Brogdan was announced injured, I was hoping that the Bucks front office would sign former franchise star Brandon Jennings for a return but the erratic Tim Frazier was signed instead. I understand Frazier worked with the Bucks in training camp, but Jennings is a proven commodity. Milwaukee even signed him at the end of last season as a backup, so I don’t understand why he wasn’t even considered. When you’re making a legitimate run in the playoffs, the idea is to sign veteran free agents and not someone who wasn’t even able to find playing time on the Pelicans. Even with Jennings out, there’s no reason that the Bucks didn’t try to resign Jason Terry or even Joe Johnson en route to their potential first NBA Finals run in forty years. Well hopefully for Bucks fans, Pau Gasol will be able to make up for this front office decision.
Regardless, the Milwaukee Bucks are for real this time no matter what decisions they make going into the postseason. All we have to hope for now is a healthy roster and if this happens then, for the first time in awhile, we can actually agree with Milwaukee fans…
The Eastern Conference and the rest of the NBA need to “Fear the Deer”….
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