Welcome back Milwaukee Bucks fans! I’m so excited to have basketball back again, and it will be a nice distraction in the weeks to come. I fear, based on what has been happening with the other Wisconsin sports, that any hopes of a title of any kind this year belong to the Bucks. The Brewers failed, the Badgers fired their coach, Badger basketball could make noise but who really knows, and the Packers just don’t look like they are even the best team in the NFC North. It’s up to the Bucks to hold up the state of affairs in Wisconsin sports. We know they can do it, but will they? Let’s start with these first six games and see.
Last year, I was only a few games off (3 games better in fact) of where the Bucks actually wound up, while most of you would have been 6-9 games better. It is what it is, but my bar for this season is over/under 2.5 games within the Bucks’ record. How do you guys think I will do in the 2022-23 campaign?
How will Julie fare overall compared to the Bucks’ record? (based on the season’s totality, not week to week)
This poll is closed
11 games or more
7 to 10 games
3 to 6 games
1 or 2 games
she’ll be perfect!
As I looked around the NBA over the offseason, and please feel free to check in on my divisional previews, the East especially doesn’t have too many weak links. There is Indiana, which will be contending for the G-League postseason (is there one?) and Orlando whose rebuild is starting to take shape, but after that finding true bad teams is tough. All of the playoff teams last year look solid again, leaving Washington, New York and Detroit. Detroit got better (enough to be competitive sometimes), New York thinks they are better, and Washington is always mediocre-to-bad. So one could argue 13 teams have a real shot at making the postseason.
As for the West, it seems to be more top-heavy now than in years past (I think the conferences finally switched roles). They have a quartet of hot garbage, another four teams that are possibly decent, and then the seven that almost certainly will make the real postseason. This is going to be a fun season, and let’s get into the Bucks’ first few games.
Aside from the first game of the season, the Bucks have their longest homestand of six games. The first five of them will be in this forecast, and we start off with another contender in Philadelphia on the road. The home opener has Houston coming to town, followed by a solid early-season test with Brooklyn. The next three have New York, Atlanta, and Detroit (with a back-to-back covered next forecast). As far as the Bucks’ injuries, right now Khris Middleton is questionable-to-doubtful (I’m assuming he’s out this forecast), and Joe Ingles will be out until the New Year at the earliest. Let’s take a look game-by-game now.
All games are in central time, injuries are as of Wednesday the 12th
Thursday October 20th
6:30PM on TNT
Kicking off the season on national TV, Milwaukee will be one of the last teams to start their season. This is a matchup between two of the MVP favorites in Giannis and the 76ers star Joel Embiid. The 76ers also have another former MVP in James Harden, and when it comes to picking the poison the 76ers have, I think it will be more feasible for the Bucks to try and stop James Harden like they were able to consistently when he was with Houston. The 76ers also made some solid additions, but nothing major, and they include former Buck PJ Tucker, as well as De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, and Danuel House.
As far as injuries go for all teams, I think it’s safe to assume that anybody listed as “questionable” at this point could very well miss the game this early in the season with the growing emphasis on player health. Luckily for Philadelphia, they don’t have anyone on the report right now, but keep that in mind for other teams.
Looking at this game, it’s our first game of the season and with Middleton out, I wouldn’t be surprised if we tried to punch this team in the mouth right out of the gate to get confidence on the young season. If that fails, it would be best to treat this one as another preseason game and build ourselves up during the long homestand.
Saturday, October 22nd
7PM on Bally Sports WI
Houston is, once again, not going to be a good team this season. With that said, I will say that they have the best chance of the bottom-feeders in the West to make it to the postseason, but their competition is Oklahoma City’s stash of draft picks, Utah’s newly acquired stash of draft picks, and whatever San Antonio has. So, at least Houston seems to have their two stars to start to build around in Jalen Green and Jabari Smith.
Smith, Eric Gordon, Jae’Sean Tate, and Daishen Nix are all dealing with injuries that made them game-time decisions for their most recent preseason game. Maybe that will knock one or two of them out for this one, but either way, I don’t see it being a game-changer.
Both Smith and Green are very young, and thus both are not ready to compete at an All-Star level every night. Therefore when going up against the Bucks, this team is overmatched. Even with these two up-and-comers and presumably no Khris Middleton this forecast, the Bucks still have the clear two best players on the court in Giannis and Jrue Holiday. After that, even with Houston still holding Eric Gordon hostage, the Bucks have the massive edge in experience. This team just isn’t ready to compete with the Bucks.
Wednesday, October 26th
630PM on Bally Sports WI and ESPN
Will Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant play? I would assume they would, but after the latter two were in trade rumors all summer and the former having a new twist to his mental breakdown seemingly every week or so, it’s hard to imagine this team having their chemistry yet. And let’s not forget all of the outside additions like Royce O’Neale, Markieff Morris, a return of Joe Harris, and more.
Speaking of Joe Harris, his return may not be in time for the Bucks, as he is questionable along with Seth Curry and Edmond Sumner who are both in similar situations to the Rockets’ injured players. Kyrie Irving is also questionable for personal reasons: so I figure I’ll throw Ben Simmons in there too. And TJ Warren will also miss this one, as he is listed as “out until November 1st (at least).”
Even if the Nets didn’t make a move this offseason, they still wouldn’t have the chemistry because nobody on this roster aside from Patty Mills played more than 60 games last season. Everybody was hurt, had Covid, or was sitting out due to vaccines or Simmons’ reasons. This is one of the first five games of their season, so they could come out with a bang, but they most likely will come up still trying to figure out who they are. The Bucks have played together a long time, so the chemistry is there, and that should be the edge in this one.
Friday, October 28th
7PM on Bally Sports WI
New York is kind of a boring team heading into the 2022-23 season. I don’t care if this offends the Knicks’ fan that may read this; this team bores me. RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Jalen Brunson? Wow, so exciting. With that said, this team has the ability to be moderately good as they were the four seed in the 2020-21 season. They also have a pretty young core, with only two players on the wrong side of 30 in their rotation.
Injuries are not very prevalent in this game, as Quentin Grimes is the only player on the list as a “game-time decision.”
To be frank, I don’t have much of a clue of what to expect from New York this early in the season. I assume they are going to be the Knicks again, and probably are going to finish with a 35-47 record and upset all of Knicks nation when Jalen Brunson of all people couldn’t turn this squad around. I know, right? He’s not the answer to a Finals appearance? I should stop, because I am afraid now that with my smack-talking that the Knicks will pull this out somehow, but aside from that logic I don’t see this happening.
Saturday, October 29th
7PM on Bally Sports WI
The rematch of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals will be a good litmus test for the Bucks, much more so than the other four games. Philadelphia will be a game of emotions and the beginning of a new season, the Knicks and Rockets should not be good, and the Brooklyn game is going to be weird. Atlanta should be a good team, they have one of the best backcourts in the East led by Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, and they have been there before. This also will be the fifth game, which usually means teams will have the jitters and the preseason rust shaken off.
When it comes to availability, the Hawks have Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and Aaron Holiday among possible inactives. By this point, though, it may all be moot.
This is a game that many people on the calendar won’t pay attention to, but this is what I’m circling this forecast. This is the most regular, while also being competitive, game the Bucks will have, and assuming full health (aside from Khris) for both teams, this will be a good benchmark.
Monday, October 31st
7PM on Bally Sports WI
This team scares me. Seriously, this team is winning the chip. Of course, we play the scariest team on Halloween, don’t bother watching The Exorcist; watch the Bucks and Pistons if you want to get scared.
Julie’s Prediction: 4-2
I’m obviously kidding about the Pistons, okay? I think the Bucks have a golden opportunity to get a fast start, and 4-2 is quite likely. The Rockets, Pistons, and Knicks should all be wins, and going 1-2 with two of the rest being in Fiserv Forum is very doable. If I had to guess, I would say the Brooklyn game scares me more if they are in the mood to come out strong this season. But Atlanta is losable as well, and the road game at Philadelphia is the season opener so who knows what that will look like. What do you think? Vote and comment below!
How Will the Bucks’ Do This October
This poll is closed
5-1 or 6-0 (They are a Scary Team)
4-2 (Julie’s Prediction)
3-3 (Are They Sleepwalkers or Zombies)
2-4 or worse (The Bucks are Scary, and in the Bad Way)