The Milwaukee Bucks current roster, as it stands, is a contender in the East. But is it a contender for an NBA Title? How about an Eastern Conference Championship? Central Division champs?
Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Milwaukee Bucks into a wide open Eastern Conference this year. With LeBron James joining the Western Conference, the East’s doors are open for the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Bucks and all the others in the East.
The Celtics feature a star-laden roster at each position. The Raptors swooped up a top-5 player in Kawhi Leonard. The Sixers remained more or less the same, just young and ready for more playoff experience just like the Bucks. It’s easy to look at the East and say Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia are tier-1 in the conference. Bucks, Indiana Pacers in a close tier-2 and then the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards in the lower tiers.
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Who is going to help set the Bucks apart from the rest of the East? Push them into top contention? The roster as it stands is above average. Outside of the best player in the East, the Greek Freak.
At the guard position, Eric Bledsoe needs to be more efficient and run the offense by creating shots and spreading the floor. Bledsoe playing some defense would be nice too. Donte DiVincenzo barely even had a chance to play in the Summer League due to an injury so we have no idea how he can help this team. If he is the three-and-D player he was made out to be it will be huge.
Malcolm Brogdon, Sterling Brown, Matthew Delladova, Tony Snell and new Buck Shabazz Muhammad (who remains unsigned), need to provide quality minutes when put in. Each has the chance to contribute in some way. Question is if they can or will. Out of each of them, only one averaged more than 10 points per game-Brogdon.
Bucks forwards obviously have Antetokounmpo to rely on, but they need solid help around him and off the bench. The signing of Ersan Ilyasova was a nice piece to bring in since he plays forward and center. He will be able to contribute in big ways by grabbing rebounds and spreading the floor to the three-point line.
Khris Middleton has a lot of teams wanting him heading into 2019 free Agency and expect him to show every team even more this year. D.J. Wilson looked like he made big strides in his game during Summer League and will look to contribute early and often. Wilson had the third most points per game and rebounds per game during Summer League for the Bucks. His defense was much improved as well, something the Bucks will look to exploit.
The center position got a big boost with the signing of Brook Lopez. He is an experienced big body who can also stretch the floor. Referring back to rebounds, Lopez will help a lot. Bucks were last in the league last year in rebounds per game. That should change with him lurking down low. Tyler Zeller (whose contract remains unguaranteed), John Henson and Thon Maker will all look to improve on their below average numbers.
The center position is certainly the biggest question mark for the Bucks. Loaded at guards. Full of proven and up and coming talent at forward. The front office helped, but it remains to be seen how the new acquisitions fit in with everyone else. New coach and all.