NBA Power Rankings #9: Milwaukee Bucks
photo via Wikimedia Commons
The Milwaukee Bucks have seemingly been poised for a breakout season every year for the past two or three years. This year though folks, I'm feeling really good about it. The Bucks are finally going to be team that teams will be scared of playing. Giannis Antetokounmpo is just 23 years old and still hasn't entered his prime but should take another big step forward (he's my leading MVP candidate to start the season), new head coach Mike Budenholzer should finally bring some stability to the coaching staff, and some of their young players should be able to step up and be serviceable role players.
Giannis is called the "Greek Freak" for good reason and it was on full display last season. Expect Giannis to improve like he as every year he's been in the league. With him leading the team (both in the locker room and in literally all major per game statistical categories) those no reason for the Bucks to not be a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Giannis will be playing under his fourth head coach in his sixth season in the league and coach Budenholzer is certainly the most proven and qualified than others that came before him.
Coach Bud led the "starless" Atlanta Hawks to a sixty win season and several playoff births during his tenor in the ATL and he should be able to fully unlock the potential of Giannis. It seems crazy to think that Giannis hasn't been at his full potential, but it's the truth. An experienced head coach with a star and a group of role players should create the perfect storm for the Bucks this season.
Of course, Giannis' main running mates will be Kris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe, but there are several other talented players on the team who should be able to help lift some of the weight off of Gianni's shoulders. Brook Lopez and Erson Ilyasova were a solid off-season pickups by the Bucks, they drafted a proven college player in Donte DiVincenzo coming into his rookie year, and players like Thon Maker, Sterling Brown, and Malcolm Brogdon should all make steps forward to improve their game.
The Bucks could win fifty games in the regular season for the first time since the 2000-2001 season if things fall into place. The Bucks have found ways to slow their process in the past, but things seem to be shaping up for a break through in Milwaukee.