At 34-12, the Milwaukee Bucks are, by definition, the best team in the NBA. They have the best record (by winning percentage, at 0.739, a 60-win pace), the best net rating, and the best margin of victory, all by a wide margin. What a difference a year makes.
The difference is not limited to the hardwood. Bucks fans, young and old, near and far, have come around to fully embrace the team’s new form. Rule number one might always be “Never Trust The Bucks,” but that whole rulebook feels more and more outdated. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a perennial All Star shoo-in and MVP contender, the rest of the supporting cast is showing up night-in and night-out, and Mike Budenholzer knows what he’s doing. When everything is clicking, it’s hard not to buy in.
So just how confident are Bucks fans right now? Initial expectations were that the Bucks would win 50 games, but as the season progressed, so did the predicted length of Milwaukee’s postseason run. Now, the number bandied about is 60 games, and the ending everyone is getting amped for is not winning in the first round of the playoffs...but in the last.
How did we get here? The on-court explanation has multiple answers, but this question is for the fans. Milwaukee Bucks fans, forever lamenting their team’s longevity, are now on the bandwagon for a legitimate contender. Talk about a fundamental shift!
In anticipation of this shift, Brew Hoop started doing something new this season. In all of our game previews, you may have noticed a poll. This poll asks the reader to predict the outcome of the game, and whether it’ll be close (within 10 points) or not, and most importantly the poll closes before tip-off. And yes, we went back and tracked every poll we had available, and put the data together.
Full disclosure: this data set isn’t exactly going to end up on Five Thirty Eight. Those guys are pros, and we do our best. However, some of the insights we can see help pinpoint when public opinion on the team began to move from “optimistic” to “wildly optimistic.” Let’s dive in to some results!
Total games polled: 40 (from October 26 to January 21)
Average votes per game: 302
Average results per poll:
- Win big (by 10 or more points): 42.4%
- Win close (by 9 or fewer points): 36.2%
- Lose close (by 9 or fewer points): 16.1%
- Lose big (by 10 or more points): 5.2%
Overall W/L record (did the poll correctly predict the outcome?): 27/40 times
Overall accuracy (did the poll correctly predict the outcome and margin?): 19/40 times
Biggest vote: Monday, October 29 vs. Toronto Raptors (1,272 votes)
Strongest take: Friday, November 16 vs. Chicago Bulls (86.41% picked “Win big”)
Wrongest take: Wednesday, December 12 @ Indiana Pacers (1.18% picked “Lose big”)
Confidence (change in percentage of “Win big” predictions over time): increasing!