Now that the Bucks have played a quarter of their games, it’s bold prediction time!
Bobby Portis joins the starting lineup
Bobby Portis has been electric off the bench this season. I believe that he has played well enough to earn himself a starting role. This could happen in two ways. The first way is that the Bucks move Donte Divincenzo to the bench. This would mean Donte takes over the 6th man role. Donte was the 6th man last year and played very well in that role. He has taken that next step forward and has added an efficient offensive element to his game. Donte would be a fantastic sparkplug off the bench. The other way and the most likely way that Portis joins the starting lineup is if the Bucks move on from Brook Lopez.
The Bucks move on from Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez is coming off a career year on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, he is following up his All-NBA defensive selection poorly. He’s averaging fewer steals and fewer blocks in more minutes. His defensive rating is also 10 points worse than last season. Brook turns 33 in April and is owed roughly $40 mil over the next three years. The Bucks could use the money they saved from trading him to increase their Big depth or gain another starter, whether at the Center or Shooting Guard position.
Pistons: Mason Plumlee 9.7 PTS, 8.7 REBs, 3 ASTs in 27 minutes. 117 ORtg, 110 DRtg
Rockets: Demarcus Cousins 8.9 PTS, 7.4 REBs, 2.5 ASTs in 19 minutes. 98 ORtg, 99 DRtg
Raptors: Chris Boucher 13.8 PTS, 6.5 REBs, 1 ASTs in 23.2 minutes. 132 ORtg, 108 DRtg
Trailblazers: Enes Kanter 11.4 PTS, 10.9 REBs, 1.1 ASTs in 24.1 minutes. 129 ORtg, 112 DRtg
*check out Mitch Lang’s article on more in-depth looks at potential Brook Lopez trades*
There’s also the possibility of the Bucks trading Brook for picks and depth and have Bobby Portis step into the starting center role.
The Bucks have three All-NBA defensive players, once again
Last year the Bucks had the best defensive rating in the NBA, and they were rewarded by having Giannis Antetokounmpo make the All-NBA defensive first team. Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez both made the All-NBA defensive second team.
This year, the Bucks have Giannis, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and they made a trade for Jrue Holiday, one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. Giannis has taken a step back, defensively, compared to last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him only make the All-NBA defensive second team. Still, I foresee him making All-NBA defensive first team, along with Jrue Holiday. The third member of the Bucks to make an All-NBA defensive team may surprise you.
It’s Bobby Portis. Now I don’t foresee Bobby making a defensive team as the 6th man. This is only possible if he is given a starting role on the team, as an earlier prediction suggests. Portis has been incredible on the defensive side of the ball this year. He may not be posting incredible defensive stats, but his defensive impact is one of the team’s best. His defensive rating is 107 which is second on the team. I predict Bobby makes the All-NBA defensive second team if he becomes a starter.
Khris Middleton makes his first All-NBA team
A few years ago, Khris was signed to a max contract, and many fans questioned the Bucks’ decision to do so. Well, Khris is silencing the doubters. He’s been an All-Star the last two seasons and is well on his way to making his third straight All-Star appearance. He’s also only improved. After narrowly missing the 50-40-90 club last year by .003% on free throws, he has shattered his career highs in FG%, 3P%, and FT%.
He’s also averaging a career-high in assists while only being .1 away from tying career highs in rebounds and points. He is on pace to be the first player to average 20-6-6 on 50-40-90 shooting splits since Larry Bird in 1988. Khris Middleton is the star Bucks fans have always wanted next to Giannis, and Khris will finally be rewarded for all his hard by making his first All-NBA team this season.
The Bucks have a postseason comeback
After two very disappointing playoff trips, the heat is on Coach Bud. They have the two-time MVP and have been unable to make the NBA championships as the one seed the last two seasons. After blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and losing in 5 in the 2020 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bucks (and the fans) are fed up with losing in the postseason.
I predict that they fall 3-2 to a lower seed until Giannis and Khris takeover. Khris shoots lights out in the final two games of the series, which opens the lanes for Giannis to drive and dominate in the paint. Giannis will average a 30 point triple-double, and Khris will average 25+ while hitting 50% of his three-pointers in those final two games. The two Bucks stars’ clutch performances will silence the doubters who think they can’t come up clutch in the postseason.
Don’t forget to follow me @LouisNapolitano and @WiscoHeroics1 on Twitter for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest Wisconsin sports news, click here!