The Bucks are officially past the midway point of the NBA’s 82 game season. The defending champions are currently sitting fourth in the East with a 26-17 record. Milwaukee is three games behind the Chicago Bulls, who occupy the first seed. That’s not a bad position to be in, and there are plenty of things to be happy with thus far.
So, let’s have a look at some positives the Bucks have displayed throughout the season.
Jrue is playing at an All-Star level. Yes, he’s missed many games during the season due to an ankle injury and/or the league’s Health and Safety Protocols. But on the whole, he has been superb for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Through 33 games, Holiday is averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals in 33 minutes per game. He’s shooting 49.9% from the field, including 38% from beyond the arc. Add in his 71% from the free throw line and it’s certainly something for Bucks fans to be happy about.
The biggest takeaway for me is that Jrue came back stronger this year. We all know he had rocky stages in last season’s playoff run with his shooting, which frustrated us all. However, it shows a lot about the man to be able to improve so much this season and not let that affect him.
There’s obviously no guarantees that he will be able to keep this up all season and into playoffs. But if he can, the Bucks are potentially unstoppable when you factor in Giannis, Khris, and the rest of the rotation.
Giannis for MVP x3
Giannis already has 2 MVP awards, amongst other accolades in his trophy cabinet, for good reason. And this season, he’s making a hell of a case to win MVP for the third time in his career.
He’s averaging 28.4 points per game (32.5 mins) on 54.1% shooting (including 28.4% from the three-point line). Whilst his shooting percentages are down ever so slightly from last year, he is shooting more. Plus, his points per game have also improved.
After what seemed like the controversy of the decade, Giannis has cut his free throw routine down. We all remember opposing fans counting incredibly quickly to 10 seconds every time he was at the line. They still do that occasionally, but at least now they have to count even faster. In 10.5 attempts per game, Giannis is hitting 70% of his shots. Again, this is an improvement on last year. Given the amount of times #34 is fouled, this an important stat. He can collect a whole lot of points at the line if he can keep this up.
Along with impressive scoring averages, Giannis is logging 11.4 rebounds, six assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game.
I could speak about Giannis’s offense all night, but there’s more to the Greek Freak than the fact that he’s an offensive juggernaut.
His play on the other side of the court is second to none. In fact, you could argue a solid case for him to win the DPOY award this season. Giannis has come up with some crazy blocks and huge defensive plays thus far. He never gives up on a play, meaning opponents constantly have to think of option number two for getting to the rim. Nobody is safe around the man.
I could sit here and compare Giannis to KD and Steph this season, since they’re both rightfully in the hunt for the MVP award. But this is a piece about the Bucks, so I won’t. What I will say is this: all three are some of the best to ever play the game of basketball. We are all incredibly lucky to be able to watch them play.
But for what it’s worth, I’ve got Giannis as MVP with KD and Steph coming second and third, respectively. Let’s get those MVP chants going at the Fiserv Forum. Make them so loud, I can hear them from Scotland, and I’ll join in from my front room with a beer.
Let’s be honest, we have seen plenty of starting line-ups and rotations throughout the season so far. Along with injuries, we’ve had Health and Safety Protocols to deal with. And boy, we’ve had our fair share of those. Yes, every team in the NBA has had to deal with both, but it takes a lot to come out the other side just as strong. That’s exactly what the Bucks have done.
Every player on the Bucks roster has missed games for one reason or another. All of our starting five have missed at least nine games each, including Brook Lopez, who missed all but the opening night win against the Nets. Brook has been a huge loss; he is the backbone of our defense, even when Giannis is being Giannis on the defensive end.
Personally, I think a lot of praise needs to go to two players who have really upped their game this season. Bobby Portis has stepped into the starting five and been brilliant, and Pat Connaughton has been hot off the bench and/or starting when required. The man has even taken a kick or two to the face for the team this season. If there was an Iron Man award, Pat would have it in the bag.
The rotation has been interesting to say the least, with Jordan Nwora and Sandro Mamukelashvili getting more minutes than we all expected at the start of the season. Both have shown positives in their performances for being a second year player and a rookie. Yes, they have improvements to make, but the fact that they’ve been able to step up when required says a lot about them both.
The other side of the coin is two players who haven’t delivered: Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood. It has gotten to the point that Semi doesn’t even see the floor now, which given our struggles at times with player fitness says a lot. Will he perhaps be used as a pawn in a trade? Who knows, but it is clear to see he isn’t a good fit for the Bucks as it stands.
Grayson Allen deserves a mention, too. Although he has cooled off slightly now, he started out great for the team and is still averaging 11.9 points on 41% shooting, including just shy of 39% from three. This will inevitably lead to a Donte vs. Grayson debate, but let’s save that for another article.
We’ve beaten some good teams and lost some games that we shouldn’t have. But Milwaukee has dug in and found ways to win when it matters. Overall, sitting fourth in the East at this stage of the season is good enough for me. With the possibility of a full strength team in the second half of the season, the Bucks could be unstoppable.
Bring on the next half of the schedule.