As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day nineteen’s release of a season preview ends up being the young, up-incoming Milwaukee Bucks. I will provide a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.
Last Season’s Record: 41-41
Playoff Status: Lost 4-2 First Round to the Chicago Bulls
The 2014-2015 season could be seen as Cinderella type story for the Milwaukee Bucks. Having the worst record the previous year, with a roster full of players needing development, and a second year coach, Milwaukee was suppose to yet again compete for a top lottery selection. This was not the case for Milwaukee, as they fed off their coach’s energy and defensive mind set, they built great chemistry, and with this, secured the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the playoffs, Milwaukee was matched-up with divisional foe, Chicago. Milwaukee fought dearly, but their lack of offense, mixed with the playoff experience of Chicago was too much for them to handle, causing them to lose the series in six games. Although Milwaukee lost, they learned quite a few lessons, and were heading into the offseason with plans to fix these weaknesses.
Heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, Milwaukee was matched with every shooter out there. Rumors swirled they were going to trade up to secure one, but in the end Milwaukee stayed put. Milwaukee ended up drafting Rashad Vaughn, a shooting guard/small forward out of UNLV. Vaughn is a great offensive weapon for Milwaukee to develop off of their bench. Vaughn has the ability to stretch the floor, as well as put the ball on the court, and attack the basket with drives and floaters. The bench was in dire need of another shooter to help space the floor, so this is what Vaughn will be leaned upon for his rookie season. Milwaukee traded their second round pick (also a future first round pick) to the Toronto Raptors, in exchange for back-up point guard, Greivis Vasquez. This trade shows Milwaukee’s desire to add shooters, and improve their offensive attack.
Milwaukee is not typically a marquee free agent destination. The stadium is run-down, although they will be getting a new stadium, the area surrounding the arena is not pretty, Milwaukee is not usually a rising team full of talent, the weather just plain sucks (I have lived in it for 20 years), all of this leads to free agents going to other teams. However, this offseason, Milwaukee was able to sign a bigger name free agent in, Greg Monroe. Monroe will be stepping in to provide in instant boost to Milwaukee’s interior offense, which should allow for the shooters to be more effective with more open looks. Monroe has never been a intimidating defender, but hopefully under Jason Kidd, Monroe can better protect the rim. Monroe was able to be acquired, as Milwaukee traded Ersan Ilyasova to Detroit, in order to create the necessary cap room to sign Monroe. Switching teams will help both players, as they were both in the wrong schemes, allowing for both teams to improve their overall talent. Milwaukee also made a big splash by giving Khris Middleton a big $70 million extension. Middleton’s perimeter and defensive skills will only keep developing in Milwaukee, making deal to look like a steal in a couple years. Chris Copeland was also signed, giving Milwaukee a proven shooter for their bench. Copeland has the versatility to play small forward or power forward, giving Milwaukee the unique ability to stretch the floor from both positions. The other big move was the trade for Vasquez. Although Milwaukee had Jerryd Bayless as their back-up point guard, Michael Carter-Williams can not be trusted to stay healthy, so the addition of Vasquez gives Milwaukee insurance, as well as a more potent bench scorer. Milwaukee had a very successful offseason, in which they addressed their biggest needs of interior scoring and bench scoring.
The 2015-2016 season has Milwaukee on the rise, in terms of the Bucks. Last season, we all saw the further development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, and this offseason in international play, Antetokounmpo seems to have developed a consistent three point ball, only furthering how devastating he could be this year for the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo has developed a meaner attitude when he is on the court as well, and this aggression should lead to drastic point total increases, as well as the building blocks of a future team leader. The return of Jabari Parker, off a torn ACL, will greatly help the offense generate more points. The addition of Monroe, although for offense will be great for Milwaukee, their current frontcourt of Parker and Monroe is currently a weak spot for defense. Both of these players will have to improve this part of their game in order for Milwaukee to not get beat up down-low by opposing teams. The back court lead by, Williams and Khris Middleton will be expected to control the pace, provide shooting, and play excellent defense. Williams has almost abandoned his perimeter shooting and mid-range, so hopefully he had developed that this offseason, as he will not just be able to drive every possession. The starting five has unlimited potential on both ends of the court, and it will be interesting to watch them gel, and they could become one of the best starting units in the league in the near future. Now for the much improved bench. The bench retains previous scorers Mayo and Bayless, but now have Vasquez, Vaughn, and Copeland. These five scorers will provide Milwaukee with the needed floor spacing and scoring to become an actual threat in the Eastern Conference. It also has the defensive specialist, John Henson, who will be playing for a big extension, so Henson should look to explode production wise. Miles Plumlee and Johnny O’Bryant provide some front court depth, but neither will be key contributors. Milwaukee is a very young and talented team, but with this, they lack experience, and for this reason, I think Milwaukee will improve their win total, and become a much better team, but will not make it the championship, not with Cleveland lead by LeBron. I fully expect Milwaukee to be contending for championships in the next two-three years whoever, as their roster develops its star players.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17