The Milwaukee Bucks will enter the 2020 season facing hefty expectations. This, of course, is due to rostering reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. With the roster they have, there’s no doubt that this season will be championship or bust.
Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview
2019-20 Season Review
The Bucks finished last season with the best regular-season record in the league at 56-17. They were an excellent defensive team while Antentokounmpo dominated the league. Khris Middleton continued to shine as a stellar second-option, and role players like Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, and George Hill perfected their roles.
Going into the NBA bubble, the Bucks were seen as the clear Eastern Conference favorites. They actually lost their first playoff game versus the Orlando Magic in the first round, but bounced back nicely and won four games in a row.
The second round, however, was not pretty. Milwaukee matched up versus the Miami Heat, more than a formidable opponent. With that being said, any team feature Antentokounmpo is typically the favorite. Miami, however, had a perfect defensive strategy that stifled Antentokounmpo. He wasn’t as effective as usual, and later got injured which ended Milwaukee’s playoff hopes a lot earlier than expected.
Milwaukee needs to keep Antentokounmpo content. He’s entering free agency next season, so Milwaukee knew this offseason that they had to build a team capable of winning a championship now.
They traded for Jrue Holiday. They signed D.J. Augustin, Bryn Forbes, Torrey Craig, and Bobby Portis.
Holiday is a huge pick-up. He’s one of the top perimeter defenders in the entire league and more than capable of leading a team on offense. He averaged over 19 points per game last season but also contributed to nearly seven assists per game even though primarily playing as a shooting guard. Playing as the lead point guard, Holiday could easily average double-digit assists this season.
The price to acquire Holiday was deep, however. Milwaukee will be without Bledsoe and Hill next season, but also plenty of future first-round picks. Expect Holiday to play a massive role.
The other pick-ups were good moves for the bench. Augustin is a very solid back-up point guard. Forbes is a solid shooter who provides a spark off the bench. Craig is a terrific defender with experience on a contender. Lastly, the Portis pick-up can prove to be underrated. He’s capable of starting in the league and will be one of the better back-up power forwards in the league.
As mentioned earlier, this season is championship or bust for the Bucks. Antentokounmpo hasn’t signed a contract extension yet, so there’s a possibility he may opt to leave if Milwaukee can’t compete as expected.
This, of course, will set the franchise back for years. Antentokounmpo is one of the league’s top players and will continue to be just that for the next decade. Furthermore, the Holiday price was steep and Milwaukee could potentially lose out on great draft picks for years to come.
This is the most pivotal Bucks season in years. They can either win a championship or get close enough to convince Antentokounmpo to stay or face a rebuild without all their assets.
Milwaukee Bucks Season Prediction
The Bucks look terrific on paper. Expect a starting five of Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, Middleton, Antentokounmpo, and Lopez. The bench will have plenty of defensive prowess and scoring with Augustin, Craig, Forbes, Portis, and Pat Connaughton.
The Eastern Conference, however, isn’t a walk in the park. The Heat are strong, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors should be just as good, and the Philadelphia 76ers strengthened their roster. And, of course, the Brooklyn Nets will finally be able to feature Kevin Durant.
There are no excuses left for Milwaukee. They’re experienced and should be improved. Anything short of making the finals will be a disappointment.
Milwaukee Bucks season prediction: 50-22, first place in the Eastern Conference.
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