For the rest of the year, Milwaukee’s remaining schedule looks tough. But hey, at least we’re more than halfway to the long, arduous NBA playoffs.
The Bucks are currently 46 games into their 82-game season. It seems like they will be a top-four seed in the Eastern conference. Really, the key is to be a top-six team so you don’t have to mess around with the play-in nonsense. How ten teams in each 15-team conference make the playoffs is beyond anyone.
Poor health has been the watchword for the first half of Milwaukee’s season. COVID has also been brutal to the Bucks. But we still have Giannis, Jrue, and Khris. That championship trophy is still ours. We still have the Deer District. And we still have plenty of reasons for mid-season optimism.
Now, what about the Bucks’ schedule? Does it get any easier? Harder? Let’s check it out.
The Bucks’ Schedule Gets Worse
A worthwhile comparison with the Bucks is the Packers. As long as Green Bay is in a terrible NFC North, they have a shot. It works the same with Milwaukee; as long as they are in an awful Central division, they have a shot, too. The NBA Central has some pretty bad teams, as does the Eastern conference.
Milwaukee’s remaining strength of schedule is the worst in the NBA. The teams left for the Bucks to face have a combined winning percentage of .547. By comparison, the team with the easiest remaining schedule is our fellow Central Division pal, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their coming opponents’ winning percentage is .464.
The Bucks only get to play the Pacers and the Pistons one more time. They also face the Chicago Bulls four times – we’ve yet to play them. No games are left against the lowly Magic. They have an easy game against OKC and two against the Sacramento Kings. As scheduled, the Bucks still need to play the Suns twice, the Grizzlies twice, and the Nets twice.
In short: it gets a lot tougher from here on out.
The Good News
The best stretch to really get a run going comes in two five-game patches (January 22nd – February 5th) and at the very end of the season (April 3rd – April 10th). Most of those games are at home and all of them are quite winnable. These seem like the games where Giannis plays 20-25 minutes, has 20 points, and the starters get some rest.
Also, there’s more good news: it does exist with the Bucks and their remaining three back-to-backs. In the NBA, these can be a killer. Legs get tired and even a deep team like the Bucks is more at risk to lose. For Milwaukee, every team on the end of their back-to-back has a losing record. That should help. With only “load management” standing in the way, the Bucks could really look to sweep those three sets.
Of course, we still don’t know what future roster movers are on the horizon. You would think the Bucks’ 2022 first round pick could net a healthy, veteran power forward.
Final Guess on the Bucks Record
With all of this tough-schedule talk, what is a reasonable guess for Milwaukee’s final record? While the Bucks’ brutal upcoming matches may get in the way, so could COVID or even other injuries.
I’ll go on the record and say: 49-33. In a shortened 2020-2021 season, the Bucks were 46-26. They were the third seed. Based on the remaining schedule, I’d take them there again. With injuries impacting the Nets and Bulls, I predict the seeding will be as follows: Heat #1, Nets #2, Bucks #3, Bulls #4, Cavs #5, Hornets #6…..
What’s your guess? Check out the choices below.
For More Wisconsin Sports Content:
Follow me on Twitter @authorrudylb and follow us @WiSportsHeroics! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here. Also, check out our merch store for some awesome WSH merchandise!