The Milwaukee Bucks’ 2016-17 season promises to be one full of expectations.
Will Giannis Antetokounmpo complete his evolution to NBA all-star talent? Can Jabari Parker realize the potential the Bucks saw when they selected him second overall in 2014? And what the heck happens next with Greg Monroe?
We’ve been dancing around each of those topics for much of the summer — some more happily than others — so it’s not surprising that they were once again recurring themes in our latest podcast. But rather than speaking in generalities, this time around we tried to put numbers to them, over/under style:
Give our reasoning a listen and then let us know in the comments which side of each bet you’d put your money on (note: we’ll have a few more later this week):
- Giannis and Jabari: 300 total dunks. The Bucks’ dynamic duo combined for a whopping 270 dunks last season (per Basketball-Reference), including an eye-popping 124 over the final 31 games (note: CBS’ leaderboard has them slightly higher at 273). That ranked them sixth and seventh, respectively, in the NBA and trailing only big men DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Nerlens Noel, Hassan Whiteside and Anthony Davis. You can watch all 141 of Giannis’ dunks here or all 129 of Jabari’s dunks here.
- Khris Middleton: 5.5 three point attempts per game. Finding ways to get Khris Middleton more threes has been a recurring theme in this space, and the good news is that last season did bring some progress: Middleton led the Bucks in three pointers attempted, and overall his 4.6 attempts per game represented a major increase over his 14/15 average of 3.4 per contest. Still, his 361 total attempts placed him just 33rd league-wide, and his three point rate actually declined after the all-star break.
- Greg Monroe: 27.8 minutes. In six NBA seasons, Monroe has never played fewer than 27.8 minutes per game, including last season (29.3) when he dipped below 30 for the first time since his rookie year — and not without good reason. Monroe’s poor defensive fit became a recurring theme of the Bucks’ disappointing season, and at this point it seems like both sides would prefer a fresh start. But until that happens, Jason Kidd will have to manage a $41 million big man rotation that also features occasional starters Miles Plumlee and John Henson. Will Kidd risk having a disgruntled Monroe on his hands by starting Plumlee (or Henson)? Or will he continue to give Monroe starter minutes until a move is made? As obvious as the best tactical option might be, don’t discount potential locker room politics and trade market posturing.
I was pleased to join Jon Hill and Matt Hill on the Super Hoopers podcast last Thursday, and you can check it out below...you know it was fun because at one point we talked about crying in an Arby’s bathroom.
Note that the segment about Thon Maker’s age controversy was edited down so that a long discussion about the yearbook conspiracy was excluded (not my call, but I understand why...it’s a weird and circuitous topic). Long story short: Maker’s age and murky educational history remain a bizarre story with lots of confounding evidence from both sides, and I’m not going to act like I can explain it all.