The Milwaukee Bucks enter the 2021-22 season with lofty goals in mind. They look to repeat as NBA Champions this season with the reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way. Their championship win last season ended a 50-year title drought for the Bucks. With that championship, all three Antetokounmpo brothers who have played in the NBA have won at least one championship. Thanasis Antetokounmpo was a part of this Bucks championship team and Kostas Antetokounmpo won one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.
Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview
Recap of Last Season
During the offseason after the 2020 season, the Bucks landed Jrue Holiday in a four-team trade deal. Later on, he and Giannis Antetokounmpo signed very large contract extensions with the Bucks. This will keep the Milwaukee Big Three together until 2024 when Khris Middleton will become a free agent once again.
Last season, the Bucks had another strong regular season performance. They earned the third seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 46-26. Milwaukee then built on their regular-season success into the playoffs.
In the first round, they faced off with the Miami Heat and swept them. It was a dominant performance by the Bucks after losing to the Heat in the second round during their previous playoff. Next up, the Bucks played the star-studded Brooklyn Nets who then became shorthanded due to injuries. Despite the incredible performance by Kevin Durant, the Bucks took this series in seven games.
Milwaukee then played the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. During that series, there was a scary moment for Giannis Antetokounmpo. It looked like he suffered a major knee injury in Game 4 of the Conference Finals. Fortunately, it was much less serious than it looked. In his absence, Middleton and Holiday led the way for the Bucks and won this series in six to go to the NBA Finals.
Then the Bucks played the Phoenix Suns and won in six games after falling behind 2-0 in the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Finals MVP. He averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and five assists in the 2021 Finals.
While the Bucks were fortunate with their injury situation, it didn’t change the fact that they played incredible basketball. It appears that Holiday was the missing piece that the Bucks needed to win a title.
The Bucks retained most of their players who saw playing time during the playoffs last season. Milwaukee brought back their fan-favorite Bobby Portis on a two-year $9 million deal after he declined the player option.
Their key departures include Bryn Forbes and P.J. Tucker, who was their mid-season acquisition last year. Tucker signed with the Heat and San Antonio Spurs brought back Forbes who spent his first four NBA seasons there.
Key signings from this offseason for the Bucks include Grayson Allen, Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye, Tremont Waters, and George Hill. For Hill, it will be his second stint with the Bucks. On paper, the Bucks bench doesn’t look impressive. But those players can space the floor with their shooting. The Bucks had the fourth-highest three-point percentage in the league last season. They shot 38.9 percent from behind the arc.
The Bucks are expected to have Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez start alongside the Milwaukee Big Three. Outside of winning a championship last season, Middleton and Holiday helped Team USA earn another gold medal in this year’s Olympics. They became the fifth and sixth players in NBA history to win an NBA championship and a gold medal in the same year.
The road to a championship for the Bucks will be more difficult this year. During the playoffs last year, there were many injured star players. The Bucks happened to be one of the healthiest teams left standing last season. There’s also the fact that certain teams got stronger this offseason. What is clear is that the Bucks are one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference this year and winning another title isn’t out of the question for them. At the very least, expect them to make another deep playoff run if the team is healthy.
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