For the Milwaukee Bucks, the 2019-2020 NBA season ended too soon. After a dramatic off-season, the team is back in action, ready to begin their quest for a NBA Championship. Due to COVID and the late ending to last season, there will only be three preseason games and 72 regular season games. The first of these games takes place tonight at 7:00 against the Dallas Mavericks. Here, we take a look at what each team is going to be watching for with the regular season just 10 days away.
The Dallas Mavericks’ Offseason
The Dallas Mavericks, by most accounts, had a very successful off-season. They drafted Arizona’s Josh Green with the 18th pick in the NBA Draft. The 20-year old wing player averaged 12.0 points in his lone college season. In addition, they drafted guard Tyrell Terry out of Stanford (31st overall pick) and guard Tyler Bey out of Colorado (36th overall pick). In free agency, the Mavs retained Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Bruke. Both of these players were signed using parts of the team’s $9.3 million mid-level exception. The team also signed forward Wes Iwundu away from the Orlando Magic for a vet minimum deal.
Like many teams, the Mavs were heavily involved on the trade-front as well. They traded Seth Curry for Josh Richardson and the 36th overall pick. In addition, they Delon Wright and Justin Jackson for James Johnson.
The retooled roster, built around Luca Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, will look to improve on their seventh-seed finish in the West last season. Perhaps most notable was that the Mavericks did not make a major push to sign a third star player to play alongside Doncic and Porzingis. The conjecture is that if Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo does not sign his supermax deal this offseason, the Mavericks will try to make a run for him when he hits free agency.
The Bucks’ Offseason
Much of the talk surrounding the Bucks’ offseason has not been positive. First, there was the Bogdon Bondonovich fiasco; now, there’s the anxiety surrounding Giannis’ supermax decision. What is lost in between, though, is that the Bucks vastly improved their roster this offseason.
Eric Bledsoe and George Hill (along with three first-round picks) were traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday. This move alone made the Bucks an infinitely better team than last year. Holiday is an extreme upgrade, able to guard any position on the floor.
In free agency, the Bucks added Bobby Portis, DJ Augustine, and Bryn Forbes. Each of these players averaged double figures off the bench for their teams last season. No Bucks reserve player averaged double figures last season. On the flip side, the Bucks lost Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez to free agency. Kyle Korver was also not resigned.
Without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, the Bucks acquired two second round picks. With the first, they drafted Jordan Nwora out of Louisville. Nwora, by all accounts, was one of the best, if not the best, three-point shooters in the draft. With their second pick, the last of the entire draft, the Bucks took Sam Merril out of Utah State. Both players are mature, having played multiple college seasons.
What to Watch for Tonight
The Bucks starting lineup will include Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Giannis, and Brook Lopez. The fifth starter could be Donte DiVicenzo, but that has not been determined yet. Undoubtedly, Coach Bud will use these preseason games to toy with different lineups to help determine who the fifth starter will be.