One of the things that has made the Milwaukee Bucks different than many other NBA franchises is the fact that they did not go out to sign star players and form their core through free agency. While the LeBron James’s and Kevin Durant’s of the league try to find superstars to gel with them, Bucks’ superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo built chemistry with the players already on his team.
No, neither Khris Middleton nor Jrue Holiday were drafted by the Bucks. Both were acquired via trade. That being said, no NBA analyst or fan was calling them a Super Team once Milwaukee traded for Holiday. Still, they were able to win a NBA Championship in their first year together.
Injuries have, in part, caused them to fall short of the ultimate goal in the two seasons following their title. However, they still stand as one of the most formidable trios in the NBA.
Milwaukee Bucks Big 3, Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Gets Disrespected in Latest Rankings
Without a doubt, there are numerous Big Three’s around the NBA that can be considered elite. However, in a recent article posted by Bleacher Report, Greg Swartz does not include the Bucks’ Big Three of Giannis, Middleton and Holiday in his top five. He has them as an honorable mention, writing:
“The Bucks have to hope last season was a fluke from Middleton, who battled injuries while only averaging 15.1 points with an effective field-goal percentage of 49.9 percent. Giving the soon-to-be 32-year-old a three-year, $93 million contract that can top $100 million with incentives shows Milwaukee believes he can still be an All-Star caliber player.
“This is still one of the elite trios in the NBA, but it should no longer be considered the best.”
Last season, the Bucks’ trio was ranked as the best in the league by Swartz. While his reasoning for keeping them out of his top-five could be seen as sensible, the ones he did rank ahead of Milwaukee’s stars make his exclusion of them quite confusing.
For example, Swartz ranks the New Orleans Pelicans’ trio of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson as the fifth-best Big Three in the NBA. Now, while he argued that Middleton being hurt last year and missing time led to the Bucks’ trio’s fall from out of the top five, he includes a trio headlined by Zion Williamson who has yet to play a full NBA season.
Swartz ranked them fifth on the assumption that everyone will stay healthy and, if they do, they certainly deserve a top-five ranking (each averaged over 20 points per game last season). However, Williamson less than a year-and-a-half of NBA games under his belt. They have not proven anything as a trio.
The next three trios that Swartz ranks in his top five are the Los Angeles Lakers (LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reeves), the Boston Celtics (Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kristaps Porzingis) and the Phoenix Suns (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal).
The hype surrounding these trios makes it easy to see why they are ranked where they are. However, none of them have accomplished together what the Bucks’ Big Three did: win a NBA Championship. The Lakers won their last title in 2020 before Reeves was drafted.
The top Big Three, according to Swartz, is the Denver Nuggets’ trio of Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon, and Jamal Murray. This is fair, as they just won a NBA Championship themselves. They should be at the top until proven otherwise.
So, Milwaukee’s Big Three is going into the 2023-24 NBA regular season being underrated. Don’t think for one minute that they would have it any other way.
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