The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off the best season the franchise has had in years, clinching the best record in the NBA, but once again falling short of their goal in the playoffs and losing vs. the Toronto Raptors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is fresh off winning the first of – hopefully – multiple MVP awards and has looked extra motivated to pick things up right where he left them, but this time, putting the cherry on top of the sundae and making it to the NBA Finals.
The Bucks were dealt a major blow by losing Malcolm Brogdon, but coach Mike Budenholzer has proved to be a master of adjustments. So, how will they lineup to start this upcoming campaign? Let’s break it down:
Bench: George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, Kyle Korver, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton, Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez
Point Guard: Eric Bledsoe
Ever since his move from the Phoenix Suns, Eric Bledsoe has embraced his role with the Bucks perfectly. He can play off-ball when needed, or be an unselfish playmaker when asked to run the point.
He’s improved as a defender and is one of the strongest, most athletic point guards in the league. Still, he ran out of gas in the playoffs back-to-back seasons, so perhaps the Bucks will be smart and monitor his minutes going forward.
Shooting Guard: Wesley Matthews
Landing Wesley Matthews was huge for the Milwaukee Bucks, even if he’s not as fast as he used to be back in the day. He’s one of the lone pure 3-and-D players remaining in the league and a tailor-made fit for this system.
Matthews can still hold his own on the defensive end against quicker, more athletic guards and even keep some small forwards in check. He’s a streaky shooter, but if he can consistently knock down shots from the perimeter, he’ll be huge for this team.
Small Forward: Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton is coming off a breakout year, earning a shiny new contract extension. And even though some of his detractors may claim he got overpaid, he played a major role in this team’s success last season.
Middleton can do a little bit of everything and do it well. He can shoot, spot-up, facilitate for others, and is capable of guarding multiple positions as well. Also, his presence in the perimeter opens up a lot of space for Giannis’ drives.
Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off the best season of his career yet, but he’s barely scratching the surface of his potential — that thought is scary as hell. He just keeps getting better and better.
Giannis never stops grinding and he’s a young man that learns from his mistakes. So, once he learns how to consistently knock down shots, he’ll be the most unstoppable player in the world. Will it be this year?
Center: Brook Lopez
Coach Budenholzer completely turned Brook Lopez’ career around. He took several steps away from the basket, faced up, and started knocking down three-pointers as if he was one of the Splash Brothers.
Lopez’ new-found stroke from deep was this team’s X-Factor. They could surround Giannis with four shooters at the time and spread the floor for him to drive freely. He’s aging like fine wine, and they got him on a huge discount.