MILWAUKEE BUCKS REDO
From the 1970’s through the 1980’s, the Milwaukee Bucks were one of the best teams in the NBA. Making the playoffs multiple times as well as winning an NBA Championship in the 1970-1971 season, the Bucks appeared to be carving a name for themselves in history. Then the 1990’s started and it appeared that the Milwaukee Bucks had finally run out of gas from their race to the top and the team has never risen above mediocrity since. Ending this season with a 33-49 record, the Bucks are in a desperate need for a rejuvenation so let’s evaluate their team.
The point guard position has been extremely difficult for Jason Kidd to fill which is unusual considering Kidd was a guard himself meaning he should have an edge over other coaches when it comes to discovering new talent in this position. Currently listed as the starter is former Syracuse player Michael Carter-Williams, who seems to bounce back and forth between Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers the past few years. Entering the draft too early and depriving himself of experience is what’s hurting Williams, as well as his inability to shut up… which has rubbed fans the wrong way. Averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and a 45.2% field goal percentage, Carter-Williams is an unspectacular guard who hasn’t exactly meshed well with the team. He has all the signs of a young point guard being both brash and over-confident that it may be time to trade him and cut their losses. His substitute is another former Syracuse player Tyler Ennis who also entered the draft much too early. Like Carter-Williams he suffers from lack of experience as well as his small stature. However while he hasn’t shown vast improvement since his rookie year in the NBA, Ennis has shown to be a gifted player in college so he may be worth keeping around as a backup for the time being. During the offseason he will need to work on bulking up as well as becoming a more competitive option during the season but he did undergo surgery this year so he gets a pass on his poor statistics.
At the other guard position, starter Khris Middleton has tremendously improved since his 2014-2015 season putting up decent numbers this year. His current averages are 18.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and a 44.4% field goal percentage. Yes, Middleton will need to work on his field goal completion but is definitely showing that he is willing to work hard in the off-season to ensure that his improvements can be seen on the court. Meanwhile nineteen year old Rashad Vaughn didn’t have that much of an opportunity to shine in his rookie season for the bucks. With only 3.1 points per game and a 30.5% field goal percentage, Vaughn will need work much harder if he even wants to be relevant in the NBA. He is extremely young though and bears the burden of his inexperience but as a number one draft pick it’s unlikely that the Bucks will give up on him after one season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the starting small forward who also has shown that practice pays off. Only in his third year of his career, Antetokounmpo was the bright spot this season for the Milwaukee Bucks. Averaging 16.9 points, 4.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and a 50.6% field goal completion rate, Antetokounmpo has developed into a reliable starter who will definitely be in the lineup for next season. While Carter-Williams has aggressively disputed statements that Antetokounmpo will be leading the offense next season rather than him, it’s beginning to look more like this is the case as Antetokounmpo has developed into the clear team leader. Meanwhile backup forward Damien Inglis only played in twenty games this year so his statistics remain largely unnoticeable. Considering last year was his rookie year it seems unlikely that Inglis will be cut however the team desperately needs a substitute forward who can perform admirably off the bench to give Antetokounmpo a break when he needs one.
Of the power forwards, Jabari Parker is the starter and after finishing only his second year in his career, Parker seems to be a reliable enough player to stick around for a third. He made improvements from his first season but not by a lot which means that their may not be room for improvement however Parker is such a young player as well (he entered the draft after one year of college) that he shows signs of inexperience as he plays. Last season he averaged 14.1 points, 1.7 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and a 49.3% field goal percentage which isn’t spectacular at all but enough to argue he should be with the Bucks for at least another year. As a power forward his rebound and point statistic should be higher but hopefully these are things he will work on during the off-season. Meanwhile his substitutes John Henson and Johnny O’Bryant have the opportunity to try to gain his starting position by performing well during practices and scrimmages. Of the two Henson has the best bet and in the meantime O’Bryant (another young player) may do better on another team while the Bucks try to pick up a veteran performer.
With fellow big man and center Miles Plumlee headed to free agency, Greg Monroe is the sole center for Milwaukee. The closest thing this team has to a veteran at twenty-six, Monroe is also the most consistent performer. Averaging 15.3 points, 2.3 assists, 8.8 rebounds, and a 52.2% field goal percentage last season, Monroe is one of the few solid players this team has. Coupled with forward Antetokounmpo, the two of them could make major strides next season working as a team. Yet the Bucks desperately need a backup center because god forbid Monroe gets hurt, they would be screwed.
The NBA Draft is currently underway and while it is unfair to match up the new picks against players who have already played they should still be evaluated to see if they’ll be potential assets to the team. The Milwaukee Bucks used their first round pick to take Thon Maker the 7’1″ center who has been sending NBA fans into a frenzy trying to figure out his age. There’s no denying that the versatile big man is a great addition to the team but with people questioning his alleged nineteen year old age with claims that he is twenty-four, the Milwaukee Bucks may have a bit of controversy on their hands. At nineteen Maker also shows sign of inexperience but if he is much older than he may have been a poor round one pick. Also if he is found to be lying about his age who knows what the ramifications will be. Meanwhile Malcolm Brogdon was one of the round two picks by the Bucks and unlike many others, he played all four years in college. As a guard, Brogdon can capitalize on the poor point guard position for Milwaukee especially considering he has just as much experience as Carter-Williams or Ennis. The Bucks also drafted Patrick McCaw however he was quickly traded to the Warriors which is a shame because McCaw seems to have all the talent to be an incredible player.
As head coach, Jason Kidd must have whip-lash from the way his teams constantly jerk back and forth from being surprises to subpar. However, Milwaukee owners have already discussed extending his contract and maybe with some shakeups in his starting lineup, Kidd will be able to move the Bucks forward as an actual competitor in the NBA.