If the Bucks want to win 50 games this year, they will need to have breakout seasons from a couple of players. So we asked our team to name a guy they thought could be poised to have a breakout season.
I’ve been riding the Thon Maker train since the night he was drafted and I’m not getting off anytime soon. More than anything I bought into Thon because of his appetite to get better and to be the best. I was very curious as to how Thon would develop this offseason but it seems like his 6,000 calorie per day diet helped him put on at least a little weight in the offseason. In the last preseason game against the Pistons Thon looked like he could handle big-bodied Andre Drummond a little better than he would have last season. I think his biggest impact this year could be the development of a Giannis-Thon pick and pop to help open up the middle of floor for Giannis and create some better driving lanes for Giannis to the rack. I have big faith in Thon this year and I think he will be the X-factor in the Bucks pursuit toward 50 wins.
Khris Middleton. Khris Middleton is the heart and soul of this Bucks team. The Milwaukee Bucks are worlds better when Khris Middleton is on the floor, this was evident after he returned from a torn hamstring late last season. Having a full training camp and preseason under his belt will make all the difference for this team. Khris is going to start the season healthy and he’s ready to burst on to the scene. Middleton can be a first time all star. this season and cement himself as a top 30 player. His combination of elite three point shooting and terrific perimeter defense separates him from the pack, but he has also shown the ability to be a secondary play maker for Milwaukee. He’s a swissarmy knife that can play, and defend multiple positions on the court. Khris Middleton will be a key cog in elevating this team to new levels this season.
If the Bucks want to reach their goals, they need to find ways to take some of the load off of Giannis. Tony Snell is a prime candidate, and with a new contract, he looked ready to prove himself in the preseason. His role in the offense last season was to rotate the ball and shoot open jumpers. Being more aggressive within this role could make a huge difference for the Bucks. He can give the Bucks more offense by shooting off kick out passes with a hand in his face, and working to move more on the wing to create space for his shot. Simple shooter 101 stuff. Now that he’s grown comfortable in his role, he can expand it.
It may be time for Bucks fans to hop on the Pony Express bandwagon for 2017, as SMU alum Sterling Brown could be the latest rookie surprise for Milwaukee this season. He showed during the preseason that he is both physically and mentally gifted and capable enough to handle the grind that is an NBA season and lifestyle, and displayed a complete package to his game both offensively and defensively. As the Bucks operate around the cap and luxury tax finding role players in the draft becomes key and Brown looks like the could play that part. He could earn a role of around 10-15 minutes a game early on in his rookie campaign backing up Tony Snell and Khris Middleton, he may come out of nowhere to some and make sure that they remember the name of one Sterling Brown.
Malcolm Brogdon coming off his surprising rookie campaign won the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year by averaging 10.2 PPG and 4.2 APG. At 24 years old Brogdon is in the proverbial “prime” of his career and should take a jump statistically being the full-time starting point guard after sharing the role with Matthew Dellavedova much of last season. The combination of Brogdon’s soft shooting touch, elite passing ability, and length at 6’5 makes him the perfect fit in the Bucks lineup. It will be important that Brogdon is in the starting lineup the whole season to build necessary chemistry. Malcolm’s improved offensive production within Milwaukee’s system may be the boost the Bucks needs to take the next step.