The Milwaukee Bucks are a young team looking to build on 2016-17’s somewhat successful season in which they posted a 42-40 record. This was a 9 game improvement from the year, which was good enough for the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference and a golden ticket to the playoffs. However, they were ousted in the first round by the formidable Toronto Raptors in 6 games.
Due to salary cap constraints and a nearly full roster new, GM Jon Horst decided to largely go with the status quo on the court heading into the new season.
Gerald Green (FA from Boston)
Gerald Green signed a 1 year deal worth $2.3 million. The Bucks will be looking at Green to come off the bench and supply some perimeter shooting as he was an effective 3 point shooter clocking in at 35% from beyond the 3 point line last season for the Celtics.
DJ Wilson (1st round pick, 17th overall out of Michigan)
Not a lot is expected out of the 6’10” former Wolverine in his first season with the Bucks as all five starting spots are incumbents from last year. Instead, Milwaukee will be looking to D.J. Wilson for his versatility off the bench and his ability to play multiple positions, while he adds some much needed depth. The 21 year old power forward may be lacking the college resume of a top 5 pick, but he flashed enough elite scoring potential in college to be worthy of his first round status.
Sterling Brown (2nd round, 46th overall out of SMU)
Could the Bucks have struck gold in the second round two years in a row? Former Mustang Sterling Brown, could very well be that diamond in the rough who may even eventually be the steal of the draft. Brown displayed all the traits in college that look to translate well in the professional game. In college the 6’5″ shooting guard was an excellent defender as well as being a capable scorer. Brown is the type of player that can do a little bit of everything for you. What team doesn’t need that?
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Top 5 off the Bench
* PF Jabari Parker suffered an ACL tear and is expected back in February
With a young nucleus, the Bucks are a team trending in the right direction. Having two NBA award winners, Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and Most Improved player Giannis Antetokounmpo, will help lead a squad with all five starters returning from last season. Brogdon, the surprise rookie of the year, was the first ever winner of the award post lottery draft to be selected in the second round. Giannis Antetokounmpo, or better know as the “Greek Freak”, really came into his own last year. He incredibly led the team in points (22.9), rebounds (8.8), assists (5.4), steals (1.6), and blocks (1.9). There has even been whispers of MVP talks for this upcoming season. Overall, the Bucks are a team based on speed and athleticism, with tremendous upside.
The biggest pitfalls facing Milwaukee this season is experience, or lack thereof. With an average starting age of under 24, the Bucks haven’t been through all the wars that veterans know all too well about. The team doesn’t have that leader with rings on his finger to show these young “bucks” what it takes to win, especially in the post season. Another issue facing the team is health. One of Milwaukee’s best player Jabari Parker had his second ACL surgery on the same knee in 3 years, the team is hoping he can bounce back similarly to how he did after the first surgery, he’s expected to return near the All-Star break.
Look for the Bucks to improve on last year and possibly challenge for a top 4 seed and home court in the first round. They could even surpass the Raptors for 3rd best team in a weak Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, they are still a ways away from challenging the Cavs. That is as long as LeBron is still in town.