Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Milwaukee Bucks Are Awful


The Bucks finished last season with some unfulfilled expectations. Can they turn it around without Middleton?

Let me start this piece by stating that I was indeed driving the Milwaukee Bucks sedan-sized bandwagon for last season. The team had a lot of talent. Enough talent to potentially get them into the playoffs out East. They were a sleeper to sneak into that 6-8 spot. It would be fascinating to see if they could piece everything together, especially under head coach Jason Kidd.  I’ve come to realize that Kidd may actually be a real life crazy person.

The Buck’s season started and immediately ended.

They start off last season 0-3, losing to the Knicks by 25, then the Wizards and Raptors. They manage to get it up to 5-5 before falling under .500. They would stay there the rest of the season, finishing at 33-49.

Once again I have been fooled by the Milwaukee Bucks organization. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. Look at what they’ve accomplished and who they’ve drafted over the last 10 years. (Very little)

*Side note that I find hilarious* I recently discovered the Bucks drafted Joe Alexander at number eight in the 2008 draft. Joe Alexander hasn’t played 70 total games in the NBA. I could make a whole other article based on some of the terrible draft choices the Bucks have recently made, but not today.

Last year’s Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t really get it together. They never had everyone click at the same time. They lost Michael-Carter Williams for the last 22 games of the season due to a hip injury.  At that point, the season was already lost and MCW had been moved to the bench in favor of Jerryd Bayless (if that tells you anything about how things were going). Jokes aside, Bayless had a solid season, averaging 10/3 on 42% shooting and 43% from deep, which landed him a 3yr/27mil deal in Philly.

Jason Kidd decided to move Giannis to point guard where he averaged 17/7/4 throughout the year.  A bright spot on paper, the stats did not translate into wins. Now the question becomes if playing Giannis, a non-shooter, at point guard on a team that already has no shooting, is a smart move? My guess is that the Bucks haven’t thought this through completely. Giannis will have to put up some Magic-esque numbers to direct this group of players, which I believe he may be able to do.  I’m not saying Giannis is the next Magic, but he could easily put up similar numbers. Giannis could improve his stats and average somewhere around 20/8/7 next season, something I don’t think is out of the realm of possibility. Especially if Kidd gives him the green light to do as he pleases, which may end up being the Bucks only source of offense this season.

The Bucks have very little rim protection. Greg Monroe, a power forward at heart, once again played center for a majority of the season.  He defended guys bigger and quicker than him, and Monroe’s terribly slow feet couldn’t keep up with any of them. Monroe is a solid low post player on offense, and a great rebounder.  He has yet to find a lineup that suits him on any team that he has played for. He has yet to play on a team that finished with a winning record, nor has he finished a season with a positive +/- on offense. Miles Plumlee definitely didn’t make up for Monroe’s flaw on defense, either. Monroe and Plumlee both posted negative +/- ratings last season while on the court. The future of the interior lays in the hands of John Henson’s health and whether or not he can actually learn how to play offense.

Jabari Parker needs to boost his 3PT% way up (shot 25% last season) if he wants to take the next step on a team that lacks shooters. He’s a great rebounder, but his lack of height and playing power forward most of the year did him no favors.

Fast forward to now, where I ask myself, will I make the same mistake again and claim that the Bucks will win 45 games? Yes!


No I will not.

Here’s the reason why: Khris Middleton is out. The only man on the Bucks roster that can consistently score from multiple areas of the court on any given night, is going to be out for 6 months. Not ideal, let me tell ya.  Math tells me he won’t return until March.  With that being said, here is what the Bucks starting lineup might look like come the season opener.

PG: Giannis Antetokounmpo
SG: Delly
PF: Jabari Parker
C: Greg Monroe

Michael Beasley was recently traded from the Rockets to the Bucks in exchange for Tyler Ennis. Ennis is still a very young player who has shown he can become a legit backup in the league. Beasley, on the other hand, had a game last season where he shot the ball 19 times in not even 15 minutes of playing time. Believing Michael Beasley is going to “revive” his career in Milwaukee is the definition of playing yourself. Don’t play yourself. Not over Michael Beasley.

Now I’ve seen some things on the Twitter that suggest Jason Kidd wants to start Rashad Vaughn (who was horrendous last year, averaging 3 PPG in 14 MPG, but he’s only entering his second season) at SG and also start Miles Plumlee over Greg Monroe. Is Plumlee really a better option at this point? I say no, but if Kidd plans to start Vaughn, I won’t put anything past him. I really hope the purpose of the Beasley trade wasn’t to replace Middleton.  I like to believe thats true, just for the laughs.

No one has any idea if rookie Thon Maker will be any good. Nobody even knows how old he is. Rookie Malcolm Brogdon can shoot the ball, but it’s questionable if he can come in and contribute right away.

The Bucks were the 25th best team in scoring as a team (99.0 PPG), shot less than 35% from 3, and finished 26th in Offensive Rating. None of these are any good. When you lose the best contributor to those numbers with no solid replacement, things aren’t going to be looking any better. Signing Mirza Teletovic to a 3yr/30mil deal in the offseason should help the offense and spread the floor more. Mirza shot 39% from 3 last season for the Suns playing 21 minutes a game. He’ll have to remain consistent from deep while playing more minutes, and if he can the entire offense will benefit. Jason Terry and Steve Novak are the team’s next best perimeter shooters, and they aren’t players that can go for 30 minutes a game anymore.  Even 20 minutes would be a struggle. Novak hasn’t played 250 minutes over the past 2 seasons and Terry, at 38 years old, is coming off his second worst shooting season of his career. It’s hard to rely on players like that to provide significant minutes and production.

The Bucks have a solid defense of quick and lengthy players who can create transition opportunities. But all that effort will be for nothing if they can’t score on the other end. Delly isn’t going to score 40 a night, even if I’m guarding him.

Trading Greg Monroe is a rumor that has been circulating ever since he got to Milwaukee. Is he a guy that the Bucks can figure out going forward? Can they find him that perfect fit in a lineup? I’m not sure he can, with the Bucks. Monroe clogs up the middle and doesn’t have a reliable jump shot.  He is most effective in the paint.

What would the market for Monroe be anyway? Would they trade him for multiple shooters? A 3-and-D player would be ideal, but there aren’t many of those readily available to be traded. Is a more mobile big man the answer? Plumlee and Henson seem to be the direction they want to head in as far as their big men are concerned.  They are still young and need more time to develop. The good news is Monroe is only 26 and still has trade value.  Not many players in the league can consistently put up 15/9 every game. He should be a hot commodity on the trade market, and the Bucks should be able to flip him for someone valuable.

This team will be BEGGING to reach 35 wins in a much improved Eastern Conference, and even that many wins would surprise me, honestly. I just don’t see how essentially the same team from last season can lose its best scorer and somehow manage to improve. Trading Monroe for someone who can contribute right away while Giannis turns into a borderline superstar would be the only “hope” this team has for next season. I don’t see any improvement for this year. A couple years down the road things may change. The roster must change if they want to be taken seriously.

As it stands now, the Bucks are awful.


(Stats via Basketball Reference)