Can you feel it? The NBA season is drawing nearer every day, and we’re ready for some Milwaukee Bucks action. In our last Roundtable, we answered some general questions about the team, and this time we want to get more specific, including putting some predictions out there. Give us your takes in the comments!
Over/Under: 2000 attempts from three for the season (about 24.5 per game).
Kyle: Over. Milwaukee attempted 1,946 threes last season. Swapping out Michael Beasley and Jabari Parker, who could take the shot but opted more for Mid-Range and getting to the rim, for Khris Middleton, Sterling Brown, and D.J. Wilson creates the difference. I also think the offense will try and have more shooters around Giannis to help him and teams will continue to focus their attention on him.
Mitchell: Over. You can’t fight progress, and Jason Kidd can’t fight the three-pointer anymore.
Adam: Slight over. The league’s average 3-point attempt will continue to click up and Milwaukee will fall in line by creeping just above 2,000.
Corey: Over. Fingers crossed in Middleton staying around a full season. If he does, the Bucks creep over 2,000 with comfort. Not to mention that Mirza can apparently see now, so bombs away.
Rachael: Over, mainly for the reasons Kyle listed. We’re going to have players open on the perimeter because of the attention Giannis commands while driving, so we need to take advantage and actually complete these shot attempts. Please.
Dylan: If Jason Kidd wants a job next season, they better be over.
Gabe: Corey makes a great point with Khris Middleton (hopefully) being out on the court for an entire season. If the rest of the team stays ambitious from deep, I think the Bucks pass that mark with ease.
Over/Under: 10th in Offensive Rating (13th in 2016-17)
(Editor’s Note: Under indicates 10th or better, Over indicates 11th or lower)
Mitchell: Under. Superstar Giannis plus a healthy Khris Middleton plus a ton of shooters should give the offense a solid foundation, and with a happy Greg Monroe holding down the second unit with his bruising brand of bucket-getting, scoring points should not be a problem.
Corey: Under. Looking at last year’s results you would anticipate teams like the Clippers (5th) and the Jazz (12th) falling after their offseasons. That already puts the Bucks on the doorstep of the top ten if their own unit doesn’t regress (which I don’t envision too dramatically). It all comes down to how many of the 82 Giannis and Middleton have together.
Adam: Under. I think offense will be this team’s forte and Giannis’ continued progression and a healthy Khris will drag this team just barely into the top ten. I’m a little fearful for some 3-point regression from Snell or Brogdon, but there’s enough talent here to compensate for deflated performances from a few guys.
Dylan: Under. I’m hoping Delly and Telly show up a bit more on offense to give the Bucks a boost and make up for the regressions to the mean Adam predicts. However, if a Monroe trade happened in the middle of the season I could see them dropping to the mid-teens without that steady bucket-banger down low.
Rachael: Under, especially considering the addition of Brown and Wilson, as well as a healthy Middleton. However, unlike Dylan, I don’t hold out much hope that Delly will be able to add much of an offensive boost.
Kyle: Under. I think better seasons will occur for Mirza while D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown will stay in their lane and keep things simple. That plus the addition of a healthy Khris should give the Bucks a small boost even in the event of a small Tony Snell dip in shooting.
Gabe: Under, because of that player named Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Over/Under: 15th in Defensive Rating (19th in 2016-17)
(Editor’s Note: Under indicates 15th or better, Over indicates 16th or lower)
Kyle: Under. While I’m not sure it will be a Top-5 unit as Jason Terry insisted during Media Day, with a five man lineup of Thon/Giannis/Khris/Snell/Brogdon should carry the Bucks the Top-10.
Mitchell: Over, until further notice. I think they’ll win games by focusing on outscoring the other team rather than shutting them down. There’s enough good defenders (or “good enough” defenders) on the team to give me hope, but the system asks a lot of them.
Corey: Under. How many questions can I break out Khris Middleton to support my answer? While he individually can be a bit of a roller coaster, his presence on the floor slots the other pieces into place on the defensive end. The Bucks were a noticeably better club defensively when he returned last season. I think the Bucks can creep into the top half of the league defensively this season.
Adam: Under. I’m bullish on the potential of their stingy starting five (Brogdon, Snell, Middleton, Giannis, Maker), but am doubtful whether the plug-and-play bench pieces will be able to execute Kidd’s gambling scheme. Not to mention the fact that one of those guys getting hurts throws that off-kilter. I think they’ll end in the high teens and we’re forced to rehash this conversation again next year barring a coaching overhaul.
Dylan: Over. Are we sure the scheme is still capable of being top-15? Even with some talented defensive players I think this could be the final year of the scrambling, hyper-aggressive scheme experiment. It won’t be bottom-5, but I could see them finally coming to terms with its demise.
Rachael: Over, sadly. I know it’s just preseason, but it certainly hasn’t given us much hope on any defensive improvements.
Gabe: Under. Call me crazy, but I think we might see an increase in defense. Will it be as good as the 2014-15 team? I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but I think we’ll see an improvement as a defensive squad. With that being said, I’m going to put my answer as under.
Over/Under: Jabari Parker will play in 30 games this season.
Mitchell: Over. The team should be cautious, but I think that Jabari is eager to prove that he belongs on the floor (and deserves a hefty contract next summer), and his rehab looks like it’s ahead of schedule.
Kyle: Under. I think the Bucks will ease him back into it. It feels like it will be a post-All Star return, which would give him 20-ish games.
Corey: Over. Returns at the All Star break, plays the final 25 of the regular season and eclipses 30 after the Bucks win their first round series.
Adam: Over. I like Corey’s calculation.
Rachael: Over, due to the playoff games he will be playing. :)
Gabe: Over, but I just hope he’s not rushed back — and I’m sure he won’t be.
Over/Under: 1.5 All Star selections for Milwaukee.
Mitchell: Over. Khris has an open path to asserting himself as a top player in the East, and the team should (key word: should) be good enough to bring the spotlight onto him.
Kyle: It’ll be close, but I lean towards over. I think Khris will have a repeat of his 2014-15 season, and coaches will notice more as the Bucks’ national recognition increases.
Corey: Over. Middleton makes it as a reserve.
Adam: Over. Melo, Jimmy Butler and Paul George are gone from the forward crop with Gordon Hayward as the only bona fide star replacing him. Middleton should fill that void in this year’s All-Star game along with Giannis.
Dylan: Over. Last year Giannis got 1.6 million votes. That’s less than half of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population. Teletovic will rally the home country vote to score a starting spot. But if that fails to materialize Middleton should get the respect he deserves after a few years of impressive, under-the-radar play.
Rachael: Over — I agree with Corey on Middleton making the reserve team.
Gabe: Over! I’m definitely on board for Khris Middleton (#NBAVote) getting in there as a reserve. Wait, voting isn’t open yet? Oh don’t worry, the NBA will open the ballots up two weeks from now (this is a joke at how early they start votes, haha)
Over/Under: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP rank: 4.5
Kyle: Under. I think LeBron and Kawhi will be the top two, and who takes third will be a toss up. I think Russell Westbrook and James Harden getting stars added to their roster will decrease their chances, while Kevin Durant and Steph Curry will cancel each other out. That mainly leaves players like Giannis and John Wall to make a jump, as long as their respective teams do fairly well.
Mitchell: Under. Giannis is that damn good and will do just as much (if not more) for the Bucks as he did last season. If Giannis repeats his 2016-17 campaign and the team wins 50+ games, he’s in Top-3 territory.
Corey: Under. He’ll finish fourth behind LeBron, Westbrook and Harden, in no particular order.
Adam: Over, barely. I think he’ll finish fifth behind Lebron, Westbrook, Harden and Kawhi. There’s some lingering potential for KD to get a Finals MVP bump that pushes him into that upper echelon too. Giannis is knocking on the door, I think he’s just one more year away.
Rachael: Under. Man, it feels incredible to say that. Like Kyle said, I think these superteams will lessen other players chances at winning MVP. Although, I’m sure the guys care infinitely more about a championship than an individual award.
Gabe: Under, especially if the Bucks win 50 or more games and he puts forth numbers that are slightly improved compared to last season. It’s a winning culture in the NBA and if Giannis puts forth another astonishing year and the team sees an improvement in the win column, I think he’s going to be rewarded.
Over/Under: 53.5 total wins (including playoffs).
Mitchell: Over. I am leaning into it!
Kyle: Under, but by 0.5 games. I think the Bucks will win six games in the playoffs and have 47 regular season wins. That necessarily means that the season is a failure, but hell, if Milwaukee wins 42 games again and makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals, that’s better anyway.
Corey: Over. 49 wins in the regular season, 16 in the postseason. *emoji eyes*
Adam: *splashes cold water on the fire* Under. I’m dubious of all the leap to 50 rhetoric so I’ll harrumph and declare they get just 44-45 wins with between 4-6 in the playoffs.
Dylan: Over, but only because the Eastern Conference is even weaker than expected. A regular season boost to around 48-49 wins and a successful playoff series is within reach.
Rachael: Over, especially because the playoffs are included. I BELIEVE!
Gabe: Oh, way over. I’m saying they hit the low 50’s win total in the regular season, mainly with how the Eastern Conference has depleted this offseason.
Dealer’s Choice! Make one prediction for the Bucks’ 2017-18 season.
Kyle: Milwaukee will finish inside the top 5 for Effective FG% again.
Mitchell: The Bucks will rank in the Top 6 in Assist/Turnover Ratio (were 9th last year, with an A/TO of 1.73). None of the team’s most prominent ball-handlers (Giannis, Khris, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova, and sometimes Greg Monroe) are known to be butter fingers, and my hope is that all the continuity we’ve heard about means that the Bucks can take care of the basketball.
Corey: Now that he’s no longer being asked to be the primary ballhandler, Matthew Dellavedova climbs back over 40% in 3Pt% for the season.
Adam: Rashad Vaughn will play more minutes with the Herd than with the Bucks.
Rachael: Thon Maker will double his current points per game and total rebounds per game (4 PPG and 2TRB as of last season). Not sure if that is a hot or a cold take.
Gabe: Bucks Twitter will be in meltdown every game, no matter what happens.
Dylan: Matthew Dellavedova will live up to they hype this season by shooting 42% from 3 and injure at least three opposing players.