Small Ball 2016-17 Season Previews: Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks – 33-49

Key Additions: Matthew Dellavedova – G (FA – 4 years, $38M), Mirza Teletovic – F (FA – 3 years, $30M), Jason Terry – G (FA – 1 year, $1.5M), Thon Maker – F (Draft – 1st Round, #10 Overall), Malcolm Brogdon – G (Draft – 2nd Round #36 overall)

Departures: Jerryd Bayless, Chris Copeland, Jared Cunningham, Damien Inglis, O.J. Mayo, Steve Novak, Grevis Vasquez

Just two seasons ago the Milwaukee Bucks were the young darlings of the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker were their young studs that were going to bring the Bucks back to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. However, things went downhill quickly for Jason Kidd’s team. Parker returned from an ACL injury, but looked completely lost as a defender. Antetokounmpo still can’t shoot, but his unleashing as “POINT GIANNIS” in the second half of the season was a lone bright spot for the 2015-16 season.

Jason Kidd went from a team full of veteran shooters and young assets to a team of young assets and no shooters (Milwaukee shot a league-low 15.6 three-pointers per game last season). The Bucks saw an eight game decrease in wins and they look destined to once again finish in the 30-40 game win range this year.

Milwaukee has undergone a complete rebuild in terms of their logo, jerseys, etc. and have a brand new stadium coming down the pipeline. It is in the owners best interest to have this team be good and quickly. Their free agent additions of Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic, and Jason Terry signify that this team is looking to be in the playoff hunt this season.

SEASON/ROSTER OUTLOOK:

Coming into 2016-17, things don’t look much better for Milwaukee. They lost two-way stud Kris Middleton for six months to a torn hamstring before training camp even started. To compensate for arguably the best 3-and-D player in the NBA, the Bucks opted to bring in Michael Beasley. While Beasley’s knee massages are second to none, it is very unlikely that he is able to make a significant impact in Milwaukee–based off the fact that he never has in any of his other stops.

“POINT GIANNIS” is must-see TV and the Bucks are going to have their own special square on my NBA League Pass desktop screen. The development of Jabari Parker and the potential of Thon Maker make this team one to keep an eye on for the future. They might’ve lost their spot in the NBA hipster rankings to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but there’s still a scenario where the Bucks find themselves as a contender in the near future.

PREDICTIONS: 38-43

Milwaukee will be right on the cusp, but ultimately fall short of making it’s way back to postseason play. Having Middleton sidelined until March, at the earliest, really is going to hurt them. With Middleton they have a solid roster that has the length, talent, and defensive prowess to hang with any team in the league–they were the first team to defeat the Golden State Warriors last season.

Antetokounmpo could break into superstar territory this year, he blitzed the league post All-Star break with an assortment of triple-doubles as a 6-foot-11 point forward. If he’s developed the semblance of a reliable jump shot, then he becomes one of the hardest players to defend in the NBA.

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