Milwaukee Bucks Ultimate 2023-24 Season Preview

Oct 2, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and guard Damian Lillard (0) pose for a picture during media day in Milwaukee. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and guard Damian Lillard (0) pose for a picture during media day in Milwaukee. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks tip off a highly anticipated season when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. It will be the second straight season they’ve played each other in the opening game, with Milwaukee winning 90-88 last year.

The Bucks have been on a tear in season-openers, boasting victories in five of their last six outings, including two consecutive wins. Their sights are set on extending this streak, yet their attention is not solely on the 76ers. This season, they’re immersed in the process of adopting a new system under the guidance of freshly appointed head coach Adrian Griffin and integrating their new superstar, Damian Lillard.

As we journey through this season, brace for what might be a somewhat turbulent start, but rest assured, I’m here to guide you every step of the way. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimate season preview that will leave you fully primed for the upcoming Bucks’ season.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Milwaukee Bucks 2023-24 season: key players, biggest strengths and weaknesses, and more.

Bucks Offseason Moves


  • Head coach Adrian Griffin
  • Damian Lillard (trade)
  • Malik Beasley (free agency)
  • Cameron Payne (free agency)
  • Robin Lopez (free agency)
  • Andre Jackson Jr. (draft)
  • Chris Livingston (draft)


  • Khris Middleton (three years, $93 million)
  • Brook Lopez (two years, $48 million)
  • Jae Crowder (one year, $3.2 million)
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo (one year, $2.4 million)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (contract extension) (three years, all the money)


  • Mike Budenholzer (fired)
  • Terry Stots (resigned)
  • Jrue Holiday (trade)
  • Grayson Allen (trade)
  • Jevon Carter (free agency)
  • Joe Ingles (free agency)
  • Wesley Matthews (free agency)
  • Goran Dragic
  • Meyers Leonard

Expiring Contracts in 2024

  • Jae Crowder (unrestricted)
  • Robin Lopez (unrestricted)
  • Cameron Payne (unrestricted)
  • Malik Beasley (unrestricted)
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo (unrestricted)
  • MarJon Beauchamp (Bucks have until October 31 to accept his team option for 2024-25 season at $2.7 million)

Key Player To Watch

Malik Beasley, Jae Crowder and MarJon Beauchamp. The Bucks are facing a critical task this season: identifying a lockdown wing defender to compensate for the absence of Jrue Holiday. Whether it’s Beasley, Crowder, or Beauchamp, the name is irrelevant; what matters is someone stepping up to the plate.

Beasley seems slated for the starting lineup, entrusted with the toughest defensive assignments from the get-go. Crowder is the seasoned veteran of the group, but his performance left much to be desired last season. In contrast, Beauchamp, despite his promising mental and physical attributes, lacks the same experience and strength as his counterparts. The success of the Bucks’ defense hinges on one of these three individuals embracing the challenge and filling the critical role of a wing-stopper.

In-Season Tournament Preview

The NBA is set to kick off its inaugural in-season tournament this year, and the Bucks find themselves in East Group B, alongside the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, and Charlotte Hornets.

Each team in this group will face off once against the others, with these games counting both for the regular season and the In-Season tournament. The squad boasting the best record in group play, along with one team from each conference that had the top pool play record but didn’t clinch their group, will progress to the knockout rounds in December. The first two knockout games will also be reflected in the regular season record, but the championship game on December 9 will not. The victor will lay claim to the inaugural NBA Cup.

Below is a glimpse at the Bucks’ complete tournament schedule. It’s going to be intriguing to observe how these teams tackle the tournament. Will they prioritize these games as the NBA intends, or will they consider them just another entry in the lengthy regular season calendar?

  • November 3 vs Knicks
  • November 17 at Hornets
  • November 24 vs Wizards
  • November 28 at Heat

Biggest Strength

Scoring. This team should have no problem putting the ball in the hoop from every level on the court. It starts as soon as Lillard carries the ball across halfcourt, where he’s an immediate threat. This will pull his defender far across the three-point line, committing to slowing him down at the cost of team defense.

It continues on the arc with shooters like Khris Middleton (now overqualified as a true third option), Beasley, Brook Lopez and others. Then there’s Lillard’s pick-and-roll partner and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who almost seemed like an afterthought to defenses in the preseason. He’ll face more advantageous situations than at any point in his career. When you put all the pieces together, they’re a threat to score from the second they cross halfcourt.

Biggest Weakness

Perimeter defense. Obviously, the loss of Holiday is huge, but this is also about who they replaced him with. Lillard and Beasley are below-average defenders, but the Bucks seem to trust the latter with primary wing-stopping responsibilities. That’s a dangerous proposition, as he’s never been able to handle that role in the NBA. I’m not sure why that would suddenly change now. Milwaukee has very few proven perimeter defenders on their roster.

Will The Young Guys Play?

Mike Budenholzer was notorious for being hesitant to play young guys–and for good reason. It takes time to acclimate to the NBA, and the Bucks were in win-now situations throughout his tenure. We still have to find out how Griffin feels about them.

Beauchamp, Andre Jackson Jr., and AJ Green are the three to watch. Beauchamp could burst onto the scene as a glue guy who excels on defense. Jackson Jr. is a unique young player who can do a little of everything except shoot. And then there’s Green, who doesn’t just shoot, but he shoots. We’ll see if any of them can earn PT.

Why They Can Win It All

The Bucks will win in the postseason because of their offense and not despite it. Lillard and Antetokounmpo will have had a whole season to work on their craft, understand how to bend defenses to their will, and how to play together to light up the scoreboard. Middleton will put up efficient scoring numbers as teams completely forget about him on the weak side. The offense will gel as a whole and will make it difficult for opposing teams to keep up with them in a seven-game series.

Why They Could Fall Short

Injuries and defense. The Bucks are old, and we’ve seen injuries derail their last two postseason runs. That’s a genuine concern again.

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If the Bucks want to win it all, they’ll have to figure out how to defend players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tyrese Maxey, and Jimmy Butler in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That’s a question they don’t have an answer for heading into the season.