The NBA is a very competitive league and has been for the longest time. It is very difficult to find two, let alone three, great players to lead your team. However, the NBA now consists of many very great teams with great trios. Think of the Nets, Bulls, Lakers, Suns, and Heat. But there is one trio that I believe is better than all the others. That is, the Milwaukee Bucks’ big three.
The defending champs’ big three consists of two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, All-Defensive first team selection Jrue Holiday, and elite scorer and shooter Khris Middleton. These three are almost unbeatable when they are on the court together. They’ve bolstered an astounding 80% win rate this season when playing together. There are multiple reasons why the Bucks’ big three can be so dominant. Let’s review why.
When you consider the Milwaukee Bucks, the first thing most people think of is that they have arguably the greatest player in the NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, what they need to start associating the Bucks with is their ability to lock down specific players and even whole teams at an elite level.
First, the Bucks have who many call the best perimeter defender in the NBA in Jrue Holiday. Holiday is a three-time NBA All-Defensive team selection and has averaged almost two steals per game over the last five years. Along with Holiday, at the guard positions are Grayson Allen and Wesley Matthews, who are very underrated defenders in the NBA.
Then, when fully healthy, the Bucks have arguably the best defensive front court in all of basketball. Khris Middleton, who can defend 1 through 5, and two elite shot blockers and post defenders in Giannis and Brook Lopez. Giannis is a four-time All-Defensive team selection and won the 2019-2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. This Bucks team can be the best defensive team in the NBA… and the rest of the league knows it.
The offensive talent and shooting on the Bucks’ current roster is off the charts. First off, reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a walking 28, 11, and 6 on most nights. His partner in crime Khris Middleton can easily score 20-30+ on any given night. Also, Jrue Holiday had his career-high in scoring earlier this year, scoring 40 points in Giannis and Khris’s absence. He is very capable of getting 20+ points in most games, as well. However, the main reason the Bucks are as successful as they have been is because of the amount of lethal three-point shooters they have.
The Bucks currently have an astounding four players who are shooting 40% or higher this season so far. These include Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, and Grayson Allen, who each usually knock down multiple three-pointers every night. Once Giannis starts attacking the paint like he does so well, all the Bucks’ shooters start feasting from the three-point line and beyond, due to their great floor spacing.
This Bucks team at full strength is a better team this year on the offensive side of the ball than last year. This is due to the acquisition of lethal shooter Grayson Allen, the steady development of Jordan Nwora, and the consistent shooting of Pat Connaughton. I believe that this Bucks team has a very good chance to repeat as NBA Champions because I don’t think any current roster can beat this team in a seven game series.
Great Head Coach and Front Office
Now you might ask, how does having a great coach and front office affect why the Bucks are the NBA’s best team? Well, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has improved year after year during his tenure with the Bucks. He’s helped this team become elite on the defensive side of the ball. Budenholzer is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year award winner and has made exceptional strides in his in-game adjustment ability over the last two years. Budenholzer has also had a major part in Giannis, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis getting down in the post to score more often.
Meanwhile, this front office – led by General Manager Jon Horst – has surrounded Giannis Antetokounmpo with all the shooting and defense that he needs to succeed. Horst has shown his willingness to go out and sign/trade for players that can help the team succeed as a unit. For example, this last off-season, Horst traded for former Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Grayson Allen. Allen has become arguably the Bucks’ best three-point shooter and averages almost 16 points per game. With a great front office, this Bucks team will always be able to adjust to different circumstances when needed.
Stable and Developing Bench
Milwaukee’s bench is a whole story on its own. Once Brook Lopez finally gets healthy and is ready to return from his surgery, the Bucks’ bench could arguably be one of the best in basketball. To start off, Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton are the two best players off the bench. Portis is almost averaging a double-double this season at 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Connaughton is one of the Bucks’ better shooters and is averaging 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
To follow that up, they have veteran wings Wesley Matthews and George Hill. There’s also young developing talent such as Donte DiVincenzo and Jordan Nwora, who can both score the basketball. This Bucks team, when fully healthy, is arguably their deepest one in recent memory. Who knows if they’ll make it even deeper as the trade deadline approaches?
No matter what, the Bucks should be able to score a good amount with their bench players, and knowing this is a Budenholzer coached team, I’d take a good guess and say that their defense will be pretty great too.
I not only believe that this Bucks team has what it takes to win the Eastern Conference once again, but I believe they have a very good chance to repeat as NBA Champions. It won’t be easy, as the Eastern Conference has gotten even stronger since last year with the sudden emergence of the Chicago Bulls and even the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, I believe the Bucks’ only real test would be the Brooklyn Nets once again. If Kyrie Irving, by the time the playoffs come around, can still only play away games, I think the Bucks would beat them in a series.
No one knows what the rest of this season has in store and what roadblocks may pop up out of nowhere. But I can tell you this: if the Milwaukee Bucks find a way to repeat as NBA Champions, then it could be the beginning of a new NBA dynasty.
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