The Bucks Add Some International Flavor
*Photo via Fox Sports
The Milwaukee Buck did not have a successful season last year, finishing with a 33-49 record and missing the playoff by almost 11 wins. Right now, they seem to be eager to improve during this summer, having signed the 30-year-old shooting big man Mirza Teletovic a few weeks back, and more recently acquired Matthew Dellavedova from the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Jabari Parker and “the Greek Freak,” Giannis Antetokounmpo still growing and taking more responsibilities on the court, this team should be improved.
Maybe it’s time to fear the deer again?
There is a reason I said “again”. This is not the first time that a team as “out of the spotlight”as the Bucks have shown signs of overachieving. In the season of 2014-2015, Milwaukee was led by Brandon Knight (until he was traded) with 17.8 and six other players averaging double figures in scoring, including O.J. Mayo in his....relevance. With this, the Bucks finished the season with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 41-41 record. The team’s second best record in the past decade. If this does not sound impressive enough, they had won only 15 games in the season before and in 2014 they became one of the few teams in NBA history to double their previous season win totals before the season’s All-Star break. This young, fearless team fought fiercely during the playoff series against the Bulls, even though they lost, the team has shown some excellent potential.
But the next regular season, the one we just witnessed, might not have gone as they had planned. Finishing with only 33 wins, the team missed the playoff spot and this summer, they have a lot of work to do.
*Photo via Sporting News
Signing Teletovic and Matthew Dellavedova seems like a smart move, because at least it can add some playoff experience to this team, on the condition that the team does make it into the playoffs. Mirza has the ability to stretch the floor and grab rebounds, so we shall see what this big man can do for the Bucks. If he is able to turn back to the Mirza who was playing for the Brooklyn Nets, it would be a huge boost. However, if this team wants to move further, the head coach needs to think twice before giving Dellavedova too many minutes. It’s true that he is a decent, young, chippy, talented point guard who can both shoot and take the ball inside the paint, but right now, the Bucks need to be patient, because they need one of their players to have as many chances as possible to grow and show their talent, Michael Carter-Williams.
MCW has his ups and downs, struggling to show consistency on the court. But looking at his stat sheet, despite the fact that last season he almost averaged three turnovers per game, he has also been able to dish out 5.2 assists per game. So, it seems that he is trying to help the team, moving the ball, making passes, even though his ball safety is not the best in the league. The team should make full use of his talent and willingness of making unselfish plays, and try to give him more minutes next season.
Enough about MCW. The fact that nobody has left the team this summer (yet) shows some good chemistry, and once Delly and Mirza are added to the roster, they will have a much better bench depth than before.
As for head coach, Milwaukee is good with Jason Kidd. He is capable, and is always very insistent that his players finish every play that they attempt. He is young, as a head coach, but also experienced. This is actually very valuable, because the style of the game has changed drastically over the past years and coach Kidd has more experience in these changes more than most other coaches in the league because he was a player himself just three years ago. What he brings to the team is just what the players need.
The Bucks are a very young team, second youngest in the league with an average age of 24.6. This is a team that is still growing, while they seem vulnerable and immature at first glance, one can never underestimate this squad. While some high-profile teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors keep staying at the center of the stage, other teams that are still under development like the Milwaukee Bucks might really surprise us in the upcoming season.