Milwaukee’s Khash Money Khris will help take the Bucks as far as they can go!
The forward position is, hands, down, the deepest and best position on this team.
First off, if Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek-Nigerian basketball player whose star is about as globally bright as anyone’s is on the planet right now, plays like he has the past four years Milwaukee will be in every game he plays. He averaged 31.1 points per game last season, a career-high, and the 28-year-old also had a career-high “fouls against” 12.3 which means he drew tons of fouls by driving hard to the basket. He is arguably the most efficient player in the NBA. His only weakness is free-throw shooting. (70.8 career free throw shooting percentage.) He has won the league’s Most Valuable Player award twice.
Giannis has played in 254 games in the last four seasons, starting in all of them. That is out of 328 total games he could possibly play or he plays, in generally, 77% of the Bucks games in a season. It would be surprising to see that number change or to see Giannis (6’11”) play in more than 70 games. The playoffs can be so long in the NBA. His style is to attack, draw fouls, and score downhill. It is very likely he’ll average around 32 minutes a game and play in 65 plus games this year.
Last year’s MVP winner Joel Embiid played in 66 games and in 68 games the year before. It is highly likely that this year’s MVP race will be between those two players again. Giannis is simply a blessing to have here in Milwaukee in a Bucks uniform. He is a “high motor”, bonafide star. Wisconsin is blessed to have him.
Second off, the starting two forwards for the Bucks will be Giannis and his partner in crime Khris Middleton. If Middleton can just be a bigger scoring threat Milwaukee could make a deep playoff run.
Is this a comeback season for Khris Middleton?
The 32-year old only played in 33 games last year. (Middleton started 19 of them.) He just never fully looked “right”. During the regular season Middleton averaged a pedestrian 15.1 points per game. He also shot an abysmal 31% from three. (His career three point average is closer to 39%) For Milwaukee to compete they need a healthy, three point shooting Middleton.
Milwaukee would certainly take a season from Middleton like he had in the 2020-2021 championship run. During that season Middleton averaged 20 points a game, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Middleton is a very good free throw shooter, routinely averaging over 90% from the charity stripe.
Drafted out of Texas A&M by the Detroit Pistons, if Middleton has a “comeback season” look out! That might be enough for Milwaukee’s new “big three” to make a run at an NBA Championship.
Jae Crowder will see an increased role
The Bucks gave up a lot to acquire Crowder (five second round picks), especially since he was sitting out the majority of the season last year. That all seemed to show in the playoffs when he only played 19 seconds in the first two games against the Heat.
Crowder will play a more prominent role for the Bucks this season. He has already played more in the preseason. Against Memphis he played 25 minutes, scoring 8 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Against the Bulls he got the start and played 20 minutes and scored 10 points, grabbing 4 rebounds. Crowder already looks to be in Coach Griffin’s rotation.
“Bobby, Bobby, Bobby”
Portis made a legitimate run for NBA 6th man of the year last season for Milwaukee. The first bench player to enter the game for Coach Bud, Portis brings a high level of intensity and energy to the team.
Portis started against the Bulls in the preseason and appears to be in Coach Griffin’s good graces.
Portis averaged 14+ points a game last year for the Bucks while grabbing 9.6 rebounds. He would be a starter on 26 other NBA teams.
Pat Connaughton and Chris Livingston
The 30 year old has been a huge part of this franchise. The career 36% three point shooter you seem to know what you are going to get from “Planet Pat”: solid hustle with timely threes.
He will double up as a shooting guard and small forward. If you’d like some more information on the guards on this team, check out the link below.
Livingston, the rookie from Kentucky who seemed to “demand his way” onto Milwaukee’s roster, will have time to develop and work his way into meaningful bench minutes in January and February. He is a long player who can score and block shots.
The Final Verdict
This is a 60+ regular season win team. How deep they can go in the playoffs will depend on the team’s health and if the coaching can keep up with the talent.
If the emphasis is on defense- which is what all the messaging seems to be coming out of camp- that bodes well for a great season and great playoff run.
Keep an eye on this space for game previews, recaps, and the latest Bucks news.
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