Before I dive deep into the season the Bucks have been having, I am going to start before the season even started. First, on draft day the Bucks surprisingly take a 6’6” guard from UNLV named Rashad Vaughn who was coming off of a torn meniscus. Vaughn has turned into a great option off the bench, a deadeye shooter and only 19 years old with a bright future in this league. Later that night, they trade a first and second round pick for Greivis Vasquez. Not a terrible trade at the time but no one knew that Vasquez would be out for a majority of this season after injuring his ankle which required surgery. I do not see the Bucks resigning him next offseason due to his large contract. Finally, one of the biggest name free agents on the market, Greg Monroe signs a max deal with Milwaukee over big market teams like LA and New York. He saw the best chance to win in Milwaukee which is a great sign that Milwaukee is being looked at more favorably around the league. Then, the re-signing of guard/forward Khris Middleton. He had a breakout season in 2014-15 and is having an even better season this year. He made a case to be an all-star and to this point is averaging 18.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 4.2 apg which are all career highs. Going forward, these two guys will make a big impact on this team Giannis and Jabari.
To this point in the season, there are a few things standing out that I could not be more happy about. First, the Greek Freak, averaging career highs in almost every measurable category. At the age of 21, he is averaging a steady 16 points, 7.6 boards and 3.4 dimes. These numbers do not do his game justice to what it has been over the last month. Averaging 16.6 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 apg. He had his first two career triple doubles in February. He has essentially taken over as point guard and it could not be working out better. He has made everyone better including Jabari Parker who was not having the best season up until February started where he has been putting up 18 points a game. Including a career high 36 against Houston. I love the new lineup in use as well. It is very surprising that it works as well as it does, but Plumlee and Mayo really space the floor out better than Monroe and MCW do. This leads to more opportunities for Jabari, Giannis, and Middleton. The way these three have been playing this season makes me ecstatic about the future of this team.
Finally, my disappointments from this season. By far the most disappointing thing I can not help but notice, the 8-25 record on the road. By no means am I saying I know what it is like to play in the NBA, but it can not be that hard to win on the road compared to winning at home, where the Bucks are 17-11. Granted there are a few teams in this league that haven’t even lost at home, the 17-11 record is pretty good, especially compared to an 8-25 road record. Even if that road record was near .500 (16-17), the Bucks would be 33-28 which would be a 5 seed in the east. That is just something to watch for the future. One more downfall has been injuries, which is hard to control. However, having a healthy team would make things a lot easier. Having Vasquez, Henson, Mayo, and even Steve Novak healthy for most of the season would surely help. Mayo is not having the strongest season because of his lingering hamstring injury. That hamstring injury and a back injury for Henson have plagued them all season long, making it hard to get the most out of those guys.
All of this is encouraging stuff for the future. The three stars are playing very well this season and quite frankly it has been making me excited since the new year hit, even though we are still losing games. After the solid draft pick we will be getting this offseason, maybe a few free agent pickups, I am excited to see where the Bucks are at next season. Giannis will be just 22, Jabari will still just be 21, even if there is a similar season next year, there is still a long time to grow. Even though fans (including myself) want to win now, this will be a process. A lot of young players, who are indeed very talented and are only going to get better. We all just have to be patient, the phrase “own the future” was adopted two years ago and that is what the Bucks continue to do. Even after a .500 season with a playoff appearance, –which was not supposed to happen– this team is still very different than last years and needs some time to grow. Let’s accept this season for what it has been, a developmental one, and continue to own the future.