After months of waiting. Months of speculation. Months of debate over what changes Bud would bring. Months of waiting for a Donte DiVincenzo made jumper (I kid, I kid Donte stans), we’ve finally arrived at the 2018-19 regular season. Expectations are high, much higher than in year’s past judging by our season predictions piece that’s dropping later today. It’s about time we get some quality basketball back in our lives, and a season opener in Buzz City is how it kicks off for the Milwaukee Bucks.
I don’t need to remind most of you how this offseason went for Milwaukee. Coach Bud has brought a newfound energy to Milwaukee’s offense, which blasted through opponents en route to a 3-1 record in the preseason. Giannis is operating like a swiss army knife. Miles of space are open within the arc and Bucks’ shooters are, surprise, openly shooting! Expect the threes to rain for days this year as we finally get our first real extended look at the starters. The defense remains a work in progress, but the early returns on the offense seem like they could carry the team in the season’s early stages.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The man is primed for what could be an MVP-caliber season. His downright disrespectful dunking already seems in midseason form. And he’s apparently stroking the three with confidence this year? Who else do we want to see more than the return of Giannis Antetokounmpo in ample minutes.
A sneaky transformational offseason for Charlotte went relatively unnoticed it seems like based on the utter lack of buzz around this team. Like Milwaukee, they swapped out an old coach in Steve Clifford for James Borrego. Borrego had a brief stint in Orlando as the head coach, but has cut his teeth as an assistant for Gregg Popovich. He inherits a roster that certainly lacks star power, but got an influx of talent with the selection of Miles Bridges in this year’s draft. Malik Monk could shake off whatever got in his head last year and Willy Hernangomez provides another young option. It’s telling the players I’m most intrigued by all sit on their bench though, as I still don’t see them being able to keep up with Milwaukee’s talent.
Player to Watch: Miles Bridges
The player I personally hoped would somehow fall to Milwaukee at 17 fits in well for a Charlotte team that has aging 3 and 4 swingmen with Marvin Williams, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Bridges brings a shotmaking and playmaking dynamic that seems like it should exceed each of the veterans labeled above, and I personally think he has an athletic ceiling he couldn’t quite scratch in college. I’ll be curious to see how Borrego matches him up against Milwaukee defensively.