The Bucks Playoff Push

Before the season started, I made predictions for all of the playoff seeds, East and West, as well as the seasonal awards. I had the Bucks finishing as the 10 seed this season. You see, I was under the assumption that: A) Khris Middleton would be out for the season, and B) Giannis wouldn’t take as big of a stride as he did in terms of skill. Furthermore, probably not much more than a month ago I thought our season was over. Milwaukee was well out of the playoff race and things just weren’t clicking for us at all. In my mind, I thought we should just throw in the towel now and spare the energy and maybe get a decent pick out of all this(Yes I wanted the Bucks to tank, I’m the worst). Well it’s nearly April and the Bucks are sitting pretty in the 6 seed and the 5 seed is a potential reality as well. In the remaining 7 games, Milwaukee can and should go 6-1 realistically, with losses to Boston and Oklahoma City. @Indiana and vs. Detroit must be treated as must wins if the Bucks wish to remain the 6 seed or make a push for the 5 as Indiana is right on Milwaukee’s heels in the standings(Same record; Milwaukee is the higher seed due to divisional record as of now) and Detroit is still in the hunt for a playoff spot surprisingly enough.  At this point in the season, consistency is the name of the game. The Bucks just can’t let up now, if Milwaukee decides that now is a good time to hit cruise control, they’re in for a rude awakening, as Chicago, currently on the outside looking in, is just 2.5 games behind Milwaukee. The Eastern playoff race is extremely interesting right about now, as any team seeded 6-10 is fully capable of slipping into the playoffs and ruining another team’s season. Some movement is almost inevitable, the Bucks just can’t be the team to slip up.

The Bucks, if they do finish 6-1 in these last 9 games as I predicted, will have the first winning season in Milwaukee since a young Brandon Jennings led us to a 46-36 record in the 2009-10 season and nearly stole a series from the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. Realistically, Milwaukee is a first round exit this year, but depending on where we finish in the standings does make a difference. As of right now we play the red hot Washington Wizards, who have gone 10-5 in the month of March thus far, including a win against the defending champs. However, aside from that win vs Cleveland, Washington has had a relatively easy schedule in March. @Portland is probably the most quality win they’ve had, they dropped two straight to Toronto, a loss to Dallas, and narrowly escaped with a victory vs Orlando. I think the Bucks can at least hold their own vs any team they go against, but in my opinion, Washington as our first opponent will not be a series that lasts too long. Washington is an extremely deep team and the Bucks consistently struggle to deal with fast PGs(that John Wall guy is pretty fast). No matter how the seeding goes, who the Bucks play(assuming we remain in the top 8 seeds) the playoff experience guys like Giannis, Brogdon, Thon, and Middleton will get is invaluable. It’s such a monumental boost to have not only veterans who know how to handle themselves throughout the postseason, but your stars as well.

The harsh truth is, the Bucks aren’t winning the title this year, in fact, we probably won’t next year either. But if we wish to continue making strides to get to that level, our core players need to get their feet wet with playoff basketball. The atmosphere is so different from regular season basketball and the intensity is multiplied tenfold. Having a champions in the locker room, such as Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, on a team like this will likely prove to be an extremely valuable asset to the young core of the Bucks. Even if Terry plays minimal minutes, guys like that set the expectation for the younger guys and keep the locker room focused on the task at hand. Once the playoffs start, it’s all business, no more games. Now, if the Bucks can manage to win a series, that’d be incredible not only from a fan’s standpoint but from an experience standpoint as well. And, to be honest, I think this team has the ability to beat almost anyone they go up against in the first round. Cleveland fell to the 2 seed last night and if Milwaukee ends up lining up with them I think it’d be an interesting series. Even if “playoff LeBron” is a whole different animal, watching Giannis go up against him would be phenomenal.

In close, with the season winding down, the Bucks just need to remain consistent and keep their eyes on the prize. Play whoever you’re matched up with. Don’t be content with just making the playoffs, win a series or two! Get that invaluable experience that will help our guys out beyond words can express in the long run. With how the Bucks are playing right now and their ludicrous length, no team should want to face them in the first round.


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