Milwaukee Bucks: NBA season schedule, preview and roster 2018
The baby Bucks finally grew up last season, and after minimal changes, can the Greek Freak and co. build upon last year’s success?
Arrivals: D. J. Wilson, Sterling Brown, Brandon Rush, Gerald Green, James Young, Joel Anthony, Kendall Marshall
Departures: Spencer Hawes, Michael Beasley
The Bucks had a fairly quiet offseason, in part due to their limited cap flexibility. They re-signed primary free agent Tony Snell to a decent contract, which was a good piece of business on their part. Meanwhile, Greg Monroe opted into his contract so they didn’t need to replace a key part of the bench unit.
They also picked up two potential 3-and-D wings in the draft with D. J. Wilson and Sterling Brown. However, it remains to be seen whether either of them will be a significant contributor this season even if Jabari Parker misses significant time recovering from his second ACL tear.
Milwaukee were reportedly in the running for Kyrie Irving with their offer of Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, and a first-round pick drawing serious consideration. But while they did not land the 25-year-old, the Bucks still figure to have a promising young team capable of making noise in the East.
Projected Depth Chart
C – Thon Maker / Greg Monroe / John Henson
PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo / Mirza Teletovic / Jabari Parker / D. J. Wilson
SF – Khris Middleton / Sterling Brown
SG – Tony Snell / Rashad Vaughn / Brandon Rush
PG – Malcolm Brogdon / Matthew Dellavedova / Jason Terry
Antetokounmpo is obviously this team’s biggest strong point. The Greek Freak transformed into a legitimate superstar last season as he led the team in just about every major statistical category. And the scary part is he’s likely to get even better. He still doesn’t have a consistent jumper, and if he finally figures that out, the league could be in trouble.
Antetokounmpo’s versatility is such an asset as it allows him to fill so many roles on the team on both ends of the court. He filled in capably at small forward when Middleton missed the start of last season, and he’ll be moving up to power forward while waiting for Parker to return.
Giannis is just one of a handful of long, athletic, and versatile defenders on this Bucks team. Khris Middleton, Snell, and Malcolm Brogdon are all able to switch multiple positions along the perimeter, while Thon Maker also possesses great mobility despite being 7’1”. With so much length on the roster, the Bucks were unsurprisingly one of the top shot-blocking teams in the league last season.
The Bucks also force a lot of steals and turnovers due to their ultra-aggressive defensive scheme, which sparks their fast-break offense. Milwaukee were actually a below-average team overall defensively last season, but the potential is there for them to take a significant step up.
Rebounding is the main issue with Milwaukee. While Giannis hauls down more than his fair share of boards, hardly anyone else has helped him out. Maker is a well below-average rebounder for a big man and Parker isn’t really a big-time rebounder at power forward. The Bucks were way down in 26th in defensive rebounding rate last year, which explains their low defensive ranking.
While the Bucks shoot threes well, they don’t shoot them as much. They finished 21st in three-point attempts last season. Middleton attempted just 3.6 threes per game, which is too few for someone who shot a blistering 43 percent from downtown last season. Even Brogdon, who shot over 40 percent, attempted less than three per game.
The team’s overall depth is an issue. Greg Monroe and Matthew Dellavedova are just about the only two bench players that can be counted on to be consistent rotation performers in what is a predominantly young and inexperienced roster. Meanwhile, their offense still isn’t quite where it needs to be, especially late in games. For all the Greek Freak’s improvements, he’s still not a reliable isolation scorer who can consistently get a team key buckets in crunch time.
Player to Watch – Thon Maker
After hitting the jackpot with Giannis, did the Bucks do it again with Maker? The 20-year-old didn’t get much playing time as a rookie early last season, but was eventually starting by February and throughout the playoffs. He showed more than enough flashes of the potential the Bucks saw which compelled them to draft him in the top ten overall.
While Maker didn’t have great numbers (just four points and two rebounds in 10 minutes per game) and is not a strong rebounder, he’s already a capable defender and rim protector, and also displayed three-point range.
Maker should get even more opportunities to play this season and will be the team’s starting center right from the start. It might still be too early to expect him to break out, but it should be fair to expect a few more pieces of incremental development.
1 Oct 18, 2017 @ Boston Celtics
2 Oct 20, 2017 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
3 Oct 21, 2017 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
4 Oct 23, 2017 vs. Charlotte Hornets
5 Oct 26, 2017 vs. Boston Celtics
6 Oct 29, 2017 @ Atlanta Hawks
7 Oct 31, 2017 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
8 Nov 1, 2017 @ Charlotte Hornets
9 Nov 3, 2017 @ Detroit Pistons
10 Nov 7, 2017 @ Cleveland Cavaliers
11 Nov 10, 2017 @ San Antonio Spurs
12 Nov 11, 2017 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
13 Nov 13, 2017 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
14 Nov 15, 2017 vs. Detroit Pistons
15 Nov 18, 2017 @ Dallas Mavericks
16 Nov 20, 2017 vs. Washington Wizards
17 Nov 22, 2017 @ Phoenix Suns
18 Nov 25, 2017 @ Utah Jazz
19 Nov 28, 2017 @ Sacramento Kings
20 Nov 30, 2017 @ Portland Trail Blazers
21 Dec 2, 2017 vs. Sacramento Kings
22 Dec 4, 2017 @ Boston Celtics
23 Dec 6, 2017 vs. Detroit Pistons
24 Dec 8, 2017 vs. Dallas Mavericks
25 Dec 9, 2017 vs. Utah Jazz
26 Dec 13, 2017 @ New Orleans Pelicans
27 Dec 15, 2017 vs. Chicago Bulls
28 Dec 16, 2017 @ Houston Rockets
29 Dec 19, 2017 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
30 Dec 22, 2017 vs. Charlotte Hornets
31 Dec 23, 2017 @ Charlotte Hornets
32 Dec 26, 2017 vs. Chicago Bulls
33 Dec 28, 2017 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
34 Dec 29, 2017 @ Oklahoma City Thunder
35 Jan 1, 2018 @ Toronto Raptors
36 Jan 3, 2018 vs. Indiana Pacers
37 Jan 5, 2018 vs. Toronto Raptors
38 Jan 6, 2018 @ Washington Wizards
39 Jan 8, 2018 @ Indiana Pacers
40 Jan 10, 2018 vs. Orlando Magic
41 Jan 12, 2018 vs. Golden State Warriors
42 Jan 14, 2018 @ Miami Heat
43 Jan 15, 2018 @ Washington Wizards
44 Jan 17, 2018 vs. Miami Heat
45 Jan 20, 2018 @ Philadelphia 76ers
46 Jan 22, 2018 vs. Phoenix Suns
47 Jan 26, 2018 vs. Brooklyn Nets
48 Jan 28, 2018 @ Chicago Bulls
49 Jan 29, 2018 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
50 Feb 1, 2018 @ Minnesota Timberwolves
51 Feb 2, 2018 vs. New York Knicks
52 Feb 4, 2018 @ Brooklyn Nets
53 Feb 6, 2018 @ New York Knicks
54 Feb 9, 2018 @ Miami Heat
55 Feb 10, 2018 @ Orlando Magic
56 Feb 13, 2018 vs. Atlanta Hawks
57 Feb 15, 2018 vs. Denver Nuggets
58 Feb 23, 2018 @ Toronto Raptors
59 Feb 25, 2018 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
60 Feb 27, 2018 vs. Washington Wizards
61 Feb 28, 2018 @ Detroit Pistons
62 Mar 2, 2018 vs. Indiana Pacers
63 Mar 4, 2018 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
64 Mar 5, 2018 @ Indiana Pacers
65 Mar 7, 2018 vs. Houston Rockets
66 Mar 9, 2018 vs. New York Knicks
67 Mar 12, 2018 @ Memphis Grizzlies
68 Mar 14, 2018 @ Orlando Magic
69 Mar 17, 2018 vs. Atlanta Hawks
70 Mar 19, 2018 @ Cleveland Cavaliers
71 Mar 21, 2018 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
72 Mar 23, 2018 @ Chicago Bulls
73 Mar 25, 2018 vs. San Antonio Spurs
74 Mar 27, 2018 @ Los Angeles Clippers
75 Mar 29, 2018 @ Golden State Warriors
76 Mar 30, 2018 @ Los Angeles Lakers
77 Apr 1, 2018 @ Denver Nuggets
78 Apr 3, 2018 vs. Boston Celtics
79 Apr 5, 2018 vs. Brooklyn Nets
80 Apr 7, 2018 @ New York Knicks
81 Apr 9, 2018 vs. Orlando Magic
82 Apr 11, 2018 @ Philadelphia 76ers
Even if Parker misses a good chunk of time recovering from his ACL tear, the Bucks should be able to overcome that loss like they did with Middleton last season. The likes of Antetokounmpo, Maker, and Brogdon still have some more room to grow, and the team should enjoy the continuity and relative lack of changes this offseason.
After a top-six finish in the East last season, it’s not a stretch to see the Bucks potentially break into the top four of the conference this time out. The Bucks take yet another step up as they go 46-36 and grab home-court advantage in the first round.
Where do you see the Milwaukee Bucks ending up this 2017/18 season? Comment below!