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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?


Offseason Recap

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

Strengths

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.

Weaknesses

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.

2017/18 Schedule

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     

Prediction

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!

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Brad Taningco

Brad Taningco has been a RealSport NBA contributor since Decemeber 2016. But apart from basketball, he's also a fan of soccer, American football, baseball, and ice hockey.

Milwaukee Bucks: NBA season schedule, preview and roster 2018

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