Offseason Forecast #10: Milwaukee Bucks

If you just look at their record, one could say that the Bucks had a disappointing season. Fresh off a playoff berth, fans were hoping for another big jump from Milwaukee, but it did not happen. After losing veterans Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley, the Bucks suffered on defense and could not produce the wins away from home that they needed. Also, the addition of Greg Monroe did not work out the way they had planned. Monroe did not provide a big enough defensive presence underneath, and he will likely be traded this offseason. That being said, I would argue that the Bucks still had a successful season. Going into last year, even the most optimistic fan would not have said the Bucks would be a contender, so using this year as another learning year for their core can only help them moving forward. With a budding Big Three in Milwaukee, it is time to for them to stand by their slogan under the new ownership and “Own the Future.”

Here are the per game statistics for the 2015-2016 Milwaukee Bucks:

W-L    FG%   3P%   FT   FTA   ORB   AST   STL  BLK  TOV   PF   PTS
                                                            
33-49 .467  .345  17.0  22.7  10.5  23.1  8.2  5.8  15.2  20.7 99.0

Here are the per game statistics for their opponents:

W-L    FG%   3P%   FT   FTA   ORB   AST   STL  BLK  TOV   PF   PTS
                                                             
49-33 .454  .352  18.4  23.9  11.5  24.5  8.3  5.6  15.5  19.5 103.2

The Bucks have one of the brightest futures in the NBA. They have a strong core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. Although his first half of the season was nothing special, Parker started to turn up the heat in the second half of the year and become the scorer he was expected to be out of Duke. The Greek Freak also had a tremendous second half of the season. Once he was given the reigns as the primary ball-handler on offense, he started providing triple-doubles at 6-11. Point Giannis is a tremendous idea that could easily yield an all-star season in the future. The last part of their core is Middleton, who quietly averaged 18ppg this season. Middleton is rising up the ranks of top shooting guards in the league and his effect on the defensive end is something else to take into account. Still, their problem this season was their lack of depth off the bench. We will see how they account for that through the draft and free agency.

The Bucks select 10th in the Draft, and there are lots of places they can go. They struggled with shooting as a team last season, so it would not be a surprise if they targeted a sharpshooter, but if they plan on trading Monroe, a big man will also come into play. If they look for shooters, a falling Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray would be ideal, but Furkan Korkmaz is probably most likely. There are plenty of big men around the 10th slot, but Jakob Poeltl or Henry Ellenson (local product) seem to be the front-runners. To me, however, I like Wade Baldwin in the Milwaukee system. At 6-3 with a 6-11 wingspan, Baldwin fits right into their lengthy lineup. The Bucks will also probably trade Michael Carter-Williams this offseason, so adding a point guard who can shoot and plays well off the ball (next to Point Giannis) could be perfect.

Obviously, free agency for the Bucks will be dictated by their potential trades involving Monroe, MCW, and possibly John Henson as well. These players are still valuable on the market, even if they do not fit in Milwaukee, so they could yield some solid returns. Still, veteran depth and shooting would help this young squad. The first name that comes to mind is Jared Dudley, who played with the Bucks in 2014-2015, and is a great player for a locker room. Aside from him, Courtney Lee or Mirza Teletovic would be solid options to back up their young core. Also, they will searching for a backup point guard, as Jerryd Bayless is better suited to play off the ball (should he be resigned). Because of their lackluster shooting last year, the addition of Seth Curry would be very interesting. He is a proven shooter in the NBA and could be a nice bench piece to provide some shooting.

In the long run, I still love where the Bucks are heading into next season. They have three great core pieces that are super young. As a reminder, Middleton is still 24, while Parker are Giannis are 21. With the right moves in the next few years, the Bucks could leap into the top of the Eastern Conference.

Previous Offseason Forecast: Denver Nuggets (33-49).

Next Offseason Forecast: Orlando Magic (35-47).

And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.

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