Winning in the NBA isn’t easy, but the Bucks might be on the brink of a break-out season. They have a bunch of guys on their young roster with untapped potential. Last year they started two first rookies, two fourth year players, and one fifth year player to close out the year and in every playoff game. The starting lineup should be the same this year, but expectations will be heightened for everyone on the team. Khris will be full health, Giannis will be expected to be in MVP talks, Thon & Brogdon are no longer rookies and Snell has a new big contract to live up to. As far as the bench goes, Jabari will also be working towards a big contract, Telly and Delly are trying to have bounce back years to justify their big money deals, and there a plenty of recent draftees on the bench looking to make names for themselves as well. This might not be a title contending year, but there is a chance the Bucks can win 50 games and a playoff series.
Last year the Bucks used 12 starting lineups, their second most used lineup the one that started every game in the playoffs, went 12-2 in the regular season. Extrapolated over the regular season that record would come pretty close to the 72 win Bulls and the 73 win Warriors. Is that reasonable? Nope, but that record shows they had some synergy and because of the young age of that group they could grow together. There is just such potential with a core anchored by Giannis, he is something that the NBA has never seen before. Every Bucks fan can spout off some stat about how great he is from leading his team in every stat to hand size. Truly a two way player that excels on both ends and still only 22 with room to grow. This team returns the highest percentage of minutes played of any team in the NBA, a consistency that no other team can match.
Everyone on this team can play better than they did last year, and there aren’t any glaring regression candidates. Jason Terry could be worse this year, but the Bucks really are not counting on him for any major contributions. Snell could shoot a little worse, but most other people are positive shooting regression candidates specifically Delly and Telly. The Bucks will also feature true competition at a few spots, so if Telly is not shooting well D.J. Wilson will get a chance. On the reverse side the Bucks will not need to ask more of anyone than they are capable of, they can bring on their rookies slowly.
One of the keys to this season going better, is the fact that they should have an entire season of Khris Middleton at 100% health. Khris helped turn around the season last year and is almost without debate the second best player on the Bucks. He does it all for them on both ends and just about do everything you would near a basketball player to do. Having him from game 1 until game 82 will have a huge impact on the amount of games they can win. His rankings in the SI 100 and ESPN 100 show how talented he is. Him and Giannis form one of the best duos in the East, with the right supporting cast they have the talent to lead a team to 50 wins.
Giannis is the key driving force behind this team though, he is the one with MVP aspirations and the one that will need to be elite to propel them deep into the postseason and into the top four in the East. Giannis was so good last season, but we have seen him get better every season of his career and even if he does not have another big step
in him. He has been dominant in the preseason and with the talks of a MVP finish, he will need to bring an intensity into all 82 games that most of us have never seen a Buck do. Giannis is this teams ride or die, and as he goes we will go.
The starting lineup averages 23 years of age and boasts five quality defenders and four quality shooters. This is the year the Bucks can be a top 10 offense and defense, can be a strong team on both ends of the court and really punish teams who aren’t as well balanced. They have competent depth as well something that many Bucks teams of the last decade have lacked. This Bucks team can be the best Bucks team many of our younger readers have ever seen.