Welcome back to another year of the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the aging pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we’re guessing on how the team will perform across various metrics
O/U - 40 3-point attempts/game
Mitchell: Last year’s “Let It Fly” squad shot 38.2 threes per game, and this year should be “Let It Fly 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Malcolm Brogdon, for all his strengths, was just a slow three-point shooter, and don’t forget that this team featured guys like Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson last season.
Now? Who on this roster is going to find themselves behind the line with the ball and not take the shot? Giannis, maybe? They already bumped that number up to 39.2 in the preseason (sloppy play and all), so pushing it past 40 doesn’t seem too far off. I’ll go over.
Gabe: HAMMER THE OVER, BABY. This is a mortal lock. You can’t tell me that a team that shot as much as they did last year will shoot less after the off-season additions that Horst made. Like Mitchell said, it’s time for “Let It Fly 2” Electric Boogaloo” to come to a basketball court near you.
Adam: Ya, this one seems pretty definitive. Given the offseason acquisitions of Korver and Matthews, this team seems primed to lean even further into their long-distance launching mantra. I wonder if Bud will search for more balance at various points as their cold spell last postseason also spelled doom, but they seem ready to get over that 40/game mark.
Riley: Under here. Sure, the system rewards and encourages as many threes as possible and the roster follows that maxim, but breaking 40+ seems like a big ask. This isn’t the Rockets offense and the superstar that runs that system operates quite apart from the superstar that runs our system. They’ll get close without crossing that line.
O/U - 1.5 players on All-Defense First or Second Team
Mitchell: This over/under essentially is asking me if I believe that both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe will repeat their performances from last year on defense. I believe that both of them will, and I will pound the over.
Kyle: I’m going to take the other guard to get first team was Marcus Smart while for second team it was Klay Thompson and Jrue Holiday. With Klay’s injury, that is one less competitor and with the defensive awards, it usually becomes a legacy spot for Eric’s to lose.
Gabe: I agree with Mitchell. Expect strong defensive campaigns from both Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe. Who’s ready for some Antetokounmpo chase down blocks?
Adam: Under on this one. Once players crack the fraternity of All-Defense clubs, they tend to stick around whether they’re deserving or not. In that way, it seems obvious both Bledsoe and Giannis will return to that ring of honor. I can see some of the scuff from Bledsoe’s Playoff performance rubbing off on him this season and making writers shy away from letting him in again though.
O/U - 3.5 Defensive Rating Ranking
(over means better than 3rd...)
Mitchell: I’ll take the under. Garbage time stats from blowout wins still count towards the rating!
Gabe: Under. While we all know it starts with the defense, I don’t think they’ll be better than the third rated defense. I can see a top-5 finish though, as this defense will be stout and one of the top in the league.
Adam: Over. Bud’s insistence on defensive dominance feels too ingrained for this team to not accomplish a similar feat to last season. I think Robin’s arrival will mean their rim protection could be, amazingly, even stingier.
O/U - 1.5 Trades during the season
Mitchell: Jon Horst has plans on plans on plans, to be deployed if the team gets into a pinch and needs to use some of their newfound draft capital (Thanks, Indiana! Thanks, Malcolm!) to fuel a true win-now move. Last year’s Bucks were incredibly fortunate on the injury front, and I’m loath to believe that they’ll enjoy the same amount of luck again this season. I’ll take the over, but be perfectly happy with being wrong.
Gabe: This is always so hard to finagle, simply due to the unforeseen chaos that can happen to the roster as the season unfolds. However, like Mitchell pointed out, Horst has trade picks he can use as bait to help Milwaukee get some necessary reinforcement at the deadline or perhaps earlier. I’ll take the over.
Adam: I’m leaning the same way as Mitchell and Gabe. Horst likes to tinker on the fringes to gain capital (see the beloved Jodie Meeks reunion) and I envision him doing the same this year. Give me the over.
Riley: I love me some Jodie Meeks (NBA Champion!) parts swapping as much as the next guy, but the impetus for margin trades that existed a year ago to help clean up the capsheet isn’t as strong this season. My gut tells me the Bucks stand pat with one trade, but they’ll make it a biggie in an effort to see if another Mirotic-esque experiment has better outcomes.
O/U - 57.5 Wins
Mitchell: Over. I am as high as can be on this Bucks team’s prospects this season. The rest of the East (save Philadelphia, who I respect but don’t yet fear) doesn’t present enough of a challenge, and the opponents out West (which is somehow incredibly deep again) are going to have their hands full dealing with each other, making preparing for a unique powerhouse like Milwaukee more challenging (and ultimately, at least in the regular season, less successful).
Gabe: 60 wins is always viewed as a commemorative achievement in this league, and rightfully so. The Bucks were fortunate enough to reach that in Budenholzer’s first year. While I don’t think they’ll surpass that threshold, I think they’ll finish just below it, at either 58 or 59. I’ll take the slight over, but could also see the under happening as well.
Adam: All in on over here. Even with a team that leans heavily into load management, they still boast a roster that’s deeply more talented from 1-15 than a lot of teams in the league. That mattered in the preseason, and it’ll matter as the season wears on. Even on nights when the stars play less, there’s still enough talent on the team and Bud’s system is a buzzsaw.
Riley: Under by a hair for a few reasons: First, the East is theirs to lose and outside of Philly there will be few challengers for the top spot. Second, the team’s bill of health among the starters was borderline insane a year ago; factoring in misses for load management or plain recuperation is hard to calculate, but keep an eye on that. Third, I wonder what the league will do to adjust to Milwaukee’s approach. We’ve got to learn from Jason Kidd’s mistakes and not expect what worked so well to go perpetually unhindered. Giannis is a monster, but these are other NBA teams we’ll be playing against.