The Milwaukee Bucks are currently sitting 35-21 and third place in the Eastern Conference. Sitting four games back of Eastern leading team the 76ers, while sitting equally distant from the fourth placed Celtics.
They Think They Can
The Bucks retooled this off-season to try to find players who can more consistent difference makers. They then added two more veterans in Jeff Teague and PJ Tucker. Guys that will be able to score off the bench and play tough defense.
The Bucks still have back to back reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s to go along with his big three running mates in Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. I had them as a top three big three in a previous article
Giannis is having another MVP contending year averaging 28 points 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Middleton is also having a great season even though he missed out on the All-Star game. Middleton is averaging over 20 points a game on a nearly 50/40/90 season. And then the newcomer Jrue Holiday, who just signed a max extension. He started off slow with the Bucks after missing games with Covid. However, he has been really good and is averaging 17 points a game and even walked away with a player of the week honors. Most importantly, Holiday has brought a ability to score off the dribble, hit open threes, and play really solid defense.
Lastly, the bench is deeper, and more reliable then the last two seasons and has some versatile veterans on in Tucker, Teague, Portis.
Three Reasons to Be Concerned
First reason the Bucks should be concerned is the same reasons that cost them the last two years. Their scoring from players not named Giannis. If Giannis stays healthy the game plan against the Bucks will be the “wall” defense. To force Giannis to kick it out to other teammates to make them beat them. Over the last two seasons players not named Middleton haven’t been able to step up consistently enough.
Secondly, Giannis could be a problem, Giannis is a top 3 player in the league. But at times the Bucks rely on him being able to get to the rim to much. I mentioned in the first concern, teams are going to build a wall and make it tough on Giannis to get to the rim. Giannis is going to have to convert free throws at a clip of at least 70%. Which is where he has been since the All-Star break. Also, he is going to have to not only be willing to take 3’s but, hit 1 or 2 of those per game to help open up the defense.
Lastly, the top 3 in the East are tough. The 76ers are finally seeing the “Process” pay off and if they can keep Simmons and Embiid on the court they are going to be extremely tough to beat. Then you have the newly formed super team in the Nets. A team that not only has Harden-Durant-Irving as there big 3. But, also has a deep roster of experience veterans who have played in some huge games. One team I would also be concerned about is the Heat the team that upset the Bucks last year and won the Eastern Conference, the Heat know the recipe to beat the Bucks and wont be afraid in a possible match up.
The Bucks still have the 76ers twice and the Nets twice remaining in the final 16 games which will tell us a lot about this team and give them a chance to catch one or both of those teams to help their playoff seeding. However, I think the Bucks likely will end up the three seed in the East.
I think they will likely take on the Knicks in the first round. I think the match up is a good one for the Bucks and they take the Knicks out in five games. Setting up a match up with the 76ers in a series that goes to six before the Bucks pull it out. All leading up to the clash with the Nets a series that likely goes seven games and will we determined on which team can score 150 points first as I don’t see the Nets being able to slow the Bucks offense. Unfortunately, the Bucks wont be able to stop the Nets either. This series is however going to be determined on the Nets home court in game seven a game that the Bucks will take and finally crack the finals.
Bucks will take on the Lakers to decide if Lebron is still the King or if Giannis will become the new face of the league.
Sadly for Bucks fans Lebron will out perform Giannis. But, the Bucks will win the series in 6 games to become the new NBA CHAMPIONS!!!
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