The Milwaukee Bucks, the reigning NBA champions, started the season off quite slowly. After re-adjusting, they’ve been nearly unstoppable. They’re going to enter the playoffs with plenty of pressure to repeat, but there’s no doubt that this team is as talented as any.
Milwaukee Bucks – Contenders or Pretenders?
Milwaukee can switch seeds in the Eastern Conference on any given night. The battle for the top four seeds is extremely tight right now with the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics joining the fray. Every regular-season game remaining is essentially a playoff game in the sphere of seeding.
The Bucks, however, will be confident entering any first-round match-up. Homecourt advantage in the first round isn’t technically clinched just yet, but it would be quite surprising to see Milwaukee slip up.
Milwaukee’s remaining schedule isn’t easy, however, facing the likes of Philadelphia, Boston, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Dallas Mavericks.
This team can blow up offensively in any given game. Milwaukee ranks fourth in the league in total points per game at over 115. The team’s overall field goal percentage is quite high at nearly 47 percent. The three-point shooting is even more impressive, as the team shoots around 37 percent per game.
Milwaukee is a great rebounding team as fell, averaging the second-most rebounds per game in the NBA behind the Memphis Grizzlies. They average the most defensive rebounds per game but aren’t amongst the top in offensive rebounds. With this being said, part of this is due to their efficient offense.
They don’t make many mistakes either. They’re 12th in the league in the least turnovers committed per game and third in the least fouls committed.
Milwaukee’s greatest strength, of course, is the play of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He can easily be the best player on the court in any match-up. It helps to have another fellow All-Star in Khris Middleton as well as Jrue Holiday who regularly plays at an All-Star level.
It’s quite difficult to find a weakness in Milwaukee’s game. If they’re not amongst the top in the NBA in a certain category, they tend to hang around the better half.
They will need Brook Lopez at full health once the playoffs begin. He recently returned to action. Bobby Portis filled in quite well, and the team traded for Serge Ibaka, but Lopez holds the most experience with this roster. They’ll need him against the likes of Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Jarrett Allen, and others.
The Milwaukee Bucks X-Factor
The x-factor on this team is Holiday. Antetokounmpo will always find ways to score. Middleton can get into funks at times but recovers well. Holiday is typically almost always consistent, but he’s capable of doing so much more than he’s currently doing.
This season Holiday is averaging about 19 points and seven assists per game. These are by no means pedestrian numbers. Holiday, however, while matched-up versus elite point guard, can easily put up 20 and 10. In addition, he is a terrific perimeter defender and Milwaukee will need that in every playoff game. An All-Star quality Holiday is a championship recipe.
The Final Verdict for the Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are a contender, there’s no doubt about that. Anything less than another Finals appearance will probably be a disappointment in the eyes of the players, staff, and fans.
This team is as talented as any and a championship repeat would not be a surprise to anyone.
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