Welcome to the latest addition of Brew Hoop’s Extended Forecast, where the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves starting to catch back up to what we expected of them. This is going to be a season-long series, covering all 82 games and giving an extended forecast of what the schedule looks like for the Bucks. Obviously, the first and second upcoming games will be the two most easy to predict, since we have more information on injuries, trades, etc, but in general we still should have an idea of what is coming. Or not?
Starting with the last forecast, I want to apologize for missing the second Orlando game. After rigorous triple-checking for the schedule, as well as the editors doing the same (right guys? lol) (Editor’s note: [sad emoji]), I’m confident it won’t happen again. I even had future situations like that (such as at Orlando on the 28th and 30th of December) marked down for planning the groupings of games, so I really have no idea how I missed it.
As for how the games went, they beat the Lakers without LeBron, and Giannis had a heck of a game. They then beat Oklahoma City, which is good because now I don’t have to rant on the Bucks losing to the Thunder. Following up, they beat Orlando in game one with a historic game from Giannis again, and then managed to get up by 51 points (!) en route to a dominant game in game two. Beating Detroit was easy as it should be, and then the Bucks went on the road for the final two games of the trip. Denver was without their “big three” on paper, so the Bucks managed to get it up to a six game winning streak. And we wound up sweeping the forecast by defeating Indiana, to go 7-0, and push my prediction only one game better than the actual record (those dang Timberwolves).
Here’s a look at my predictions vs. the Bucks’ Record
Jon’s 2021-22 Record Prediction: 14-7
The Bucks’ Actual Record: 13-8
Upcoming, I think the schedule is going to get relatively evened out now for the month of December. There are a bunch of challenging games, but also some easier games as well. I would say this schedule is pretty much “Charlotte”, meaning average, nothing too difficult and some very (historically) Charlotte-like teams on here as well. Ironic, because that’s who Milwaukee starts the month off with. The Hornets started off on a tear, then came back down to Earth and kind of have been hovering above .500 since. It’s a similar trajectory to the next game in Toronto, whom I said would not be very good again, and they actually got worse when Pascal Siakam returned. Weird. Following that are two games with Miami, sandwiched around a game against Cleveland, who still has yet to get back to where they belong completely. Then we have a game against the G-League Houston Rockets to make up for the Miami game, and finish off at New York.
Miami is the only team here to really be concerned with, and that’s a bit unfortunate since we play them twice. There are also three home games with the Toronto road game blended into them, and then the final three are the start of a four-game road trip that will end in the next forecast. As I said, this is very much a “Charlotte” like portion of the schedule. Also, injuries are still a factor for the Bucks. Semi Ojeleye is guaranteed to miss this entire portion of the schedule. Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo are still questionable on when they are returning. Let’s take a game-by-game look at the forecast.
Charlotte: December 1st
Okay, let’s actually talk about Charlotte now. When you think about the big contracts they handed out to Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, you would expect them to be leading the charge in the Queen City, but it’s actually Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball. Very typical Charlotte stuff. But, all four of them are having very good seasons, especially Miles Bridges compared to past seasons, and they can pose some problems for the Bucks. Some players, such as Rozier and PJ Washington, have been in and out of the lineup due to injuries, but nothing too major and thus the Hornets really have been playing some solid basketball. As I said in my Southeast Division “Who Can Dethrone the Bucks,” I really believe in the Hornets, and they have proven me right so far. I said this might be the best team the Hornets, not the organization that moved (the now-Pelicans), have ever had. I didn’t even mention Miles Bridges in the article, so my bad, but everyone else is doing well. I will also say that I said James Bouknight would be a ROY candidate, and he’s barely played. Either way, this team is not a force to be reckoned with per say, but they are a good basketball team and this is not a “gimme” anymore.
Miles Bridges leads the team in scoring, and LaMelo Ball is second in scoring and rebounds, and first in assists and steals. Mason Plumlee, the starting center, is also likely going to miss this game for Charlotte.
@Toronto: December 2nd
Toronto has had an interesting season, and team President Masai Ujiri just continues to prove he is the real deal. Drafting Scottie Barnes was a great choice, even though he has slowed down a bit lately. Fliers on Svi Mykhailiuk and Precious Achiuwa are proving to be some of the best low-risk deals in the offseason. Taking on Goran Dragic was a mistake, as he has fallen out of the rotation. But, with a healthy roster, Toronto has a pretty decent 10-man rotation. I probably was a bit too harsh on this roster heading into the season in my previews of each team, but that’s okay, this roster didn’t look very appealing. With the contributions from Barnes, Achiuwa, Mykhailiuk and a good start from each of their “big four” (Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent), Toronto has been hovering around playoff contention. It seems like everything is going as well as possible, aside from Dragic and injuries, and yet the Bucks are still doing better. I’m not super worried about this game, aside from it being a home-road back-to-back.
OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes have really been carrying this team, but there is a high chance Anunoby will be out, along with Khem Birch and Gary Trent Jr. This team is also surprisingly good at shooting, with four of five starters over 36% from deep.
Miami: December 4th & @Miami December 8th
After that blowout loss to the Heat early on, Bucks fans got really concerned. I wasn’t super concerned, it’s game two, and it’s a good team in a tough place to play. I think we will get one of these games from Miami, likely the home game, and for those who are doubters, didn’t we sweep this team last season? Kyle Lowry isn’t having a great season, and from all of the contributions from Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson has taken a step back. Players such as Max Strus, Dewayne Dedmon, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin are all playing better than expected and forming some depth to this roster around Herro and the big three of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Lowry. 13-7 is about what you would expect from this team, and while I’m still not a real believer of this team, I would say somewhere around that record is what I would expect.
As for injuries, it seems like Victor Oladipo will still not be back. Markieff Morris, Tyler Herro and Marcus Garrett are all questionable for games before they play the Bucks, so who knows? Jimmy Butler is averaging 25-5-5 and leading the team in steals, which is a unique combination similar to that of a certain Greek Freak. Bam leads in rebounds, and Lowry leads in assists. Shot blocking is also not a strength here.
Cleveland: December 6th
The Cavaliers have been a weird team this season. I will note though that I did in fact say this is a dark horse playoff team if everything goes right for them, which it kind of is until injuries happened. For one, they are starting three power forwards/centers for most of the season, and the other two positions are point guards. They started off the season great, but are starting to fade back in the standings. At the time of this writing, journeyman point guard Ricky Rubio is the second leading scorer in Cleveland, which to me doesn’t make any sense. Kevin Love also has not started one game for Cleveland, and due to that his trade value has been completely shot. I personally hope we do have Brook Lopez back for this game, because of the size of Cleveland, and even without Evan Mobley potentially, they have plenty of big bodies to throw at Giannis and Bobby Portis Tortoise. In spite of Darius Garland being the leading scorer, we have better guards than Cleveland. Especially since it is at home, I feel pretty confident about this game.
Cleveland will be without Collin Sexton for the season, and he is out with a knee injury. Evan Mobley is listed as “out until at least December 5th”, and whether he returns for this game or not, he is a young player who has just missed a few weeks. Even without those two players, Cleveland has six other players averaging double-figures in scoring, which shows they have a lot of balance and spread the ball around.
@Houston: December 10th
Houston is the worst team in basketball, but I just want to remind all of you that we lost in Houston last season. However, they have been relatively healthy all season (aside from John Wall not wanting to partake in this team), so the fact that they are this bad at full strength is just bad. Jalen Green, Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. are the leaders of this team, and this is just a young, inexperienced basketball team. It is why the signing and play time that Daniel Theis gets makes no sense, unless they hope to utilize him as a trade chip. I don’t foresee Houston trading Theis, Wall, Eric Gordon or DJ Augustin by this game, so this roster should be relatively the same by the time it swings around.
John Wall will be out, by personal choice, and I frankly don’t blame him. Why get hurt again on this bad of a basketball team? I guess he does want to come back, however, he’s just wasting his career away, since his contract is almost as much as Giannis’s and he hasn’t played much for years. As for those who are playing, Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. lead in most major categories.
@New York: December 12th
Another trip to the Garden before Christmas is going to happen, and the Knicks are the team we are most familiar with at this point in the season. The Knicks have been hovering the .500 mark all season, and I have a feeling they will do so until somewhere around the trade deadline. Then whether they go up or down, I do not know, but they are a solid enough basketball team. However, I hope the Bucks are at full strength this time around, and should be able to find a way to beat them.
We are pretty familiar with the Knicks, so we know that Julius Randle is their star. They also have quite a few other scoring options behind him, such as Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose. Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel are also a solid rim-protector duo.
Jon’s Prediction: 5-2
In this seven game stretch, I’m hovering between the 4-3 and 5-2 mark again. I think somehow getting Brook Lopez back, at least in a limited capacity, would be important, especially for the Knicks and Cavaliers. Houston should be a win, and I think beating Miami once will happen for sure. Cleveland is also most likely going to be a win, even without Brook. I also can basically guarantee a win over New York, Toronto or Charlotte. Miami is the clear-cut best team here, so I will pencil in a loss there. I think the road game in Toronto is actually the most challenging of the other three challengers, since it is a back-to-back, and as Ted Davis said on his show a few years back, the home-road back-to-back is more challenging than a road-home back-to-back, due to not being at home the night before the game. New York is the best team of the three, so they would be second in my book. I think I’m going to go with 5-2, with 4-3 being a real possibility. But, as the previous forecast showed us, the Bucks are getting healthy and back on track, which is why I’m leaning back towards success.
What Will the Bucks’ Record Be During This Forecast?
This poll is closed
6-1 or 7-0 (whoo!)
5-2 (Jon’s prediction)
under .500 (all is lost!!!)