Are the Milwaukee Bucks somehow underrated heading into the 2023-24 season? The hype doesn’t seem to matter to some members of the media. Despite trading for Damian Lillard and adding some solid rotational pieces in free agency, Milwaukee still hasn’t received the respect they deserve since acquiring Damian Lillard.
Milwaukee is one of the favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy this upcoming season. One scout who believes the team will have trouble for this reason matches up against the other Titans of the Eastern Conference.
An anonymous scout doesn’t believe in the possibility of the Milwaukee Bucks winning it all in the 2023-24 season.
The scout, speaking to SI Senior Writer Chris Mannix. The scout noted on the positive side that Lillard and Giannis are vital for the team’s success, but he had some trepidations about why Milwaukee might not reach their goals this season.
“The biggest question will be is [Khris] Middleton going back to the guy he was closer to two years ago, or is he fading and going to be closer to what we saw last season with all the injuries? They really lack a ton of athleticism.
They have gone with all these big rosters.
All those bigs make them super slow. It felt like towards the end of last season they had just relied on Giannis’ greatness and an inconsistent East to get that No. 1 seed. That whole upset to the Heat. I don’t know if anybody saw that coming like that, but all year long, teams were looking at the top of the standings thinking, “Give us the Bucks. We don’t want to play the Celtics.”
That lack of athleticism will be a problem in the playoffs, because Boston’s pretty athletic just because of [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown. Philly’s a s—- show, so who knows there. They would probably match up poorly versus Cleveland. I think they match up poorly versus Boston. I also could see Milwaukee struggling with the Detroits of the world. The Pacers are going to be a real thorn in that team’s side.”
The question about Khris Middleton is valid. Can he return to being the go-guy he was two years ago, or are his best days behind him? When the team re-signed Middleton to a three-year $102 million extension, there was a level of comfort that Middleton could go back to being the player he was when he helped lead Milwaukee to a championship. Since then, Middleton has battled a wrist injury, which he had surgery after last season, and a troublesome right knee that limited him to 33 games this past season.
Being athletic doesn’t win a championship. It helps, but can anybody name a player who is on Boston’s bench that’s not named Derrick White? But watch out for Boston because this scout, viewing Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as athletic, means they will run the table in the Eastern Conference.
The scout also brought up how Milwaukee could be a bad matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Oh, you mean the same Cavs team who lost in five games to the New York Knicks in the first round last season? Cleveland didn’t do anything to update their roster this offseason and are projected to finish No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, so what makes Cleveland a tough matchup for Milwaukee? The Knicks dispatched Cleveland in five games with less talent, and Milwaukee would do the same to Cleveland with more talent.
But hey, watch out for Detroit because every Bucks fan is waiting for that November matinee against the Detroit Pistons.
It’s sad when these anonymous scouts and executives talk to these NBA reporters. They should put their real name to what they are saying because those guys are supposed to be experts in their field. Then why don’t they use their names? The fact that a scout thinks Milwaukee will struggle with Detroit or Indiana during the regular season is ludicrous.
There are a lot of new pieces in Milwaukee this upcoming season, but make no mistake, this team will be back in the Eastern Conference Finals when it’s all said and done.