Your Milwaukee Bucks, Vegas favorites to take the Eastern Conference crown and reigning home to the MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, are tipping off their most anticipated season in decades against the Houston Rockets. With expectations far outside typical Bucks norms, the staff wanted a chance to weigh in, on the record, for what this team will accomplish and how the league may shake out as a whole.
Read through our predictions below, and bookmark the link to pester us all season-long about just how roundly wrong we each were.
Bucks 2019-20 Record, Seed, and Playoff Performance
Mitchell: I am sky-high on the team’s prospects for this season. Everybody has a clear role, everybody is well-suited for their role, and the system remains simple and straightforward. This team is going to have the same ceiling as last year, but perhaps a higher floor game-to-game, and that matters in the playoffs.
I’m predicting the Bucks go 63-19, secure the first seed in the East, and win the NBA Finals in six games.
Adam: I’m similarly optimistic, believing Bud is going to have this team fine-tuned to run roughshod over just about everyone else in the Eastern Conference. I’m sensing a dominant regular season ahead, going 62-20, with Giannis on a terrifying revenge tour following last season’s Playoff exit.
That being said, I don’t see them quite reaching the summit. I have first seed in the East, and an NBA Finals trip, but a loss in seven games.
Brian Sampson: Part of the reason why “Vegas” is predicting the Bucks to win fewer than 60 games this season is due to the anticipated cruise-control they’ll be in over the last month or so of the season. However, that was the exact scenario last season, and they still hit the 60-win mark. I think they have a chance to pull it off once again so I’ll put them right in that 58-60 win range. As for the playoffs, they’ll advance further than last year, but still lose in the NBA Finals. They’re still a piece short.
Mitchell: C’mon, there’s no doubt:
Adam: It’s all Greek to me. Giannis repeats.
Brian: It’s hard to repeat, but Giannis has the best case to do so. Every other major star is paired with another elite player, but that’s not the case in Milwaukee. If the Bucks are dominant again, it will mainly be because of Antetokounmpo.
Bucks (non-Giannis) Team MVP
Mitchell: This might sound silly, but in terms of providing maximum value (even in limited minutes), it might be Kyle Korver.
I'm gonna go ahead and predict that the best two-man lineup for the Bucks in terms of +/- will be Giannis and Kyle Korver.— Dean Maniatt (@AllTheBucks) October 18, 2019
It’s not just that Korver is the best shooter that Giannis has ever played with...it’s that Korver (who will turn 39 this season) is still one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA, and that Korver’s skillset is custom-built to seamlessly integrate with Giannis on offense.
Adam: I like Robin Lopez here. The man’s game will only grow more versatile under Bud, he’ll give them another mountain at the hoop for 48 minutes a game, and he does all the little things that pester teams in the Playoffs and still contribute to winning. He seems like a nuisance to play against.
Brian: Khris Middleton. His role is clear and the Bucks need him to step up even more than last season. He has all the tools to impact the game in every facet and he’ll be given an even bigger opportunity than last season. Milwaukee needs Middleton to step up in order to take their game to the next level.
MIB (Most-Improved Buck)
Mitchell: If we’re going off of improvement on an individual basis, it might be Robin Lopez. RoLo hasn’t shot threes regularly in his career, but joining the Bucks after big (in terms of stature, not age) brother Brook could mean that we get a sequel to Splash Mountain.
Adam: I like Donte DiVincenzo here. With a floor of, “Don’t have my heel break in half” it’s tough not to improve. But, I think he’ll figure into the rotation almost all year round and Bud likes his playmaking ability. We’ll see whether the teacher’s pet can survive a season’s worth of possible shooting woes.
Brian: I agree with Adam about it being DiVincenzo. He had a poor showing in his first season and he really has only one way to go, and that’s up. Budenholzer showed a lot of support in him last season by bringing him off the bench right away. He’ll likely be one of the first subs again and that shows there is confidence in the young man. So far, Budenholzer has been right about these types of things so I trust what the coaching staff is seeing.
Offensive/Defensive League Ranking
Mitchell: 4th (or higher) on offense, 6th (or higher) on defense, and largely I think these rankings will be artificially low because of all the garbage time stats the second and third string will accumulate in the 4th quarter of games.
Adam: 5th on offense, 2nd on defense. I think they’ll rank right around where they completed last year.
Brian: 5th on offense and first on defense. The Bucks take a small step back without Brogdon on offense, but their defense should be even better. They have all their primary pieces returning with the addition of Robin Lopez in the front court.
Mitchell: I mean, it’s still Robin Lopez. Right?
Adam: Wesley Matthews. Home state kid, Marquette ties, bow-and-arrow celebration, there’s lots to like.
Brian: D.J. Wilson. For some reason, the fans love this guy. That’s not to say he’s bad at basketball, but he has his own, small army of fans out there.
Mitchell: No. I refuse to pick. Literally everybody on this team is likable. Everybody on the roster adds something fun, even guys like Thanasis Antetokounmpo (energy) or Dragan Bender (potential). Plus, the Bucks are gonna win a crap-ton of games, who wouldn’t like that?!
Adam: No bad apples = one beautiful pie. If the presumed chemistry of this team were an aroma, it would be sweet all the way through. I’m with you Mitchell.
Brian: Khris Middleton and/or Eric Bledsoe. It’s weird to put these guys in this category, but it seems like the fans have soured on them already.
However you may be leaning regarding our predictions above, life just feels better with Bucks basketball back. Give us your guesses for the categories in the comments below and let’s get ready for another 6, hopefully 8, months of Bucks ahead of us.