Hello again, Milwaukee Bucks fans! After a rougher than (I) expected stretch, the Bucks are now charging into (what I believe is) their easiest remaining portion of the schedule. This is not based on current winning percentage, or last year’s, but it is more so based on how good I think the teams are. For instance, Indiana is doing well, but I don’t think they are really a good NBA team. Philadelphia and Brooklyn are struggling currently, but I don’t (entirely) expect that to stay forever. You get the picture. But with a road game in Dallas against the only for sure quality opponent we have this round, it makes it seem like this is our last chance to stack up easy wins. And I will keep saying, as with that San Antonio loss, we don’t want to take easy wins for granted. My philosophy is if we have a road game in Phoenix or a home game against San Antonio and you have to give one rest day, rest them at Phoenix. You get the gist.
Last forecast, the Bucks lost to the Hawks, but swept the Cavaliers at home on the season. In between the Cavs games, we lost on the road to Philadelphia, beat Portland at home, then lost to Chicago at home despite being “thankful” to play them apparently. We then wrapped up the forecast against Dallas, and looked pretty good doing so. So let’s take a look at how the predictions stack up.
Julie’s Prediction: 5-2 (14-5 overall)
Actual Record: 4-3 (14-5 overall)
So, my overall prediction to this point and the Bucks’ current record is accurate, although I’ve never been correct in an actual prediction yet this season. However, having my record being equal to the current record is the first time, so I’m going to take a second to gloat here.
Okay, I’m good.
And now we get to move on to the upcoming forecast. We start off with a road game against New York, which is less of a trap game than it looks. We then come back home against the Lakers in head coach Darvin Ham’s return home. This is followed by a two-game road trip east to Charlotte and Orlando, with a home game against Sacramento following it. We then have a Texas road trip, with Dallas first and Houston to wrap up. Like I said, this schedule seems soft, and hopefully it is.
As for injuries, Pat Connaughton has finally returned, as did Jrue Holiday, and hopefully Khris Middleton actually returns during this forecast. Joe Ingles will be out for a while yet, and Serge Ibaka is dealing with an illness that will likely keep him out for at least the New York game.
For the other teams (as of this past Saturday) New York has nothing definite, and Anthony Davis is banged up for the Lakers. I would still expect him to play. Charlotte is dealing with injuries to Dennis Smith Jr, LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Cody Martin; Hayward and Martin are definitely out, and Smith and Ball as questionable at this point. Jonathan Isaac will be out for Orlando, Markelle Fultz has yet to play this year, and they also have Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr., Terrence Ross and Chuma Okeke on the injury report. Sacramento and Dallas are at full strength, and Houston currently has Jae’Sean Tate and Bruno Fernando out until November 30th, so who knows with them once we get there.
At New York
Wednesday, November 30th
6:30PM on Bally Sports WI
The Bucks defeated the Knicks at home early on, and since we wound up going 9-0 to start Milwaukee obviously won that game. It looked like a pretty simple Bucks’ win: nothing crazy for the Knicks and the Bucks seemingly coasted wire-to-wire to defeat a team that is worse than they are.
Since then, the Knicks have been playing .500 basketball, which is kind of what I expected for this point in the season. Moving forward for their franchise, they have two directions they could go. First, they could go the usual route for them, which is blowing it up and self-destructing. Or they could make the playoffs for the third time in 10 years (wow), and continue to maintain the pace with some of the better teams in the East. Based on who they have beaten so far this season, I would go with the usual route, since their best win is at Utah, who I think is a mirage of a good basketball team.
Most of the Knicks’ offense comes from the trio of Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett, and after that it is questionable. They have a lot of young players who can be exciting at times, but overall this team is much too young to be a real threat. That’s why I think many Knicks fans will still remain hopeful or believers, because the start of something does appear to be brewing in New York. As for how they will do against the Bucks? They aren’t on par, our entire big three is better than theirs, and we have veterans where they have inexperience.
Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, December 2nd
6:30PM on ESPN & Bally Sports WI
I’m sure many of you felt the same way as I did when we found out that Darvin Ham was going to coach the Lakers. I thought “that poor man, I hope Bud takes him back in three years”. I did have some relative optimism for the Lakers heading into the season, but even if the Lakers were like 14-9 the fans would be complaining about Westbrook not being good enough. That’s the problem I have with that fanbase, it’s so spoiled and feels like they should either win a championship or fire their coach.
Granted, they have LeBron James, so for on some level those expectations are warranted, but I don’t think the Lakers’ struggles should fall on Darvin. Benching Westbrook didn’t work, and LeBron is banged up. They are relying on big minutes from players like Troy Brown and Austin Reaves while relying on minutes in general from the likes of Wenyen Gabriel and Matt Ryan. Aside from Reaves possibly, I don’t think any of these guys make it through the Bucks’ training camp. All four of them have played in at least 10 games for at least 12 minutes per game. And this team wonders why they aren’t good?
Not only that, they don’t have shooting, they don’t have reliable scorers outside of the big two/three, and maybe Lonnie Walker IV. The return of Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant should help, whenever that happens, but by then it may be too little too late. At this point, the Lakers should start trying to get some of those picks back, and possibly send LeBron away. They’ve won six championships in 20 years, they can take a few years to build back again.
Saturday, December 3rd
5:00PM on Bally Sports WI
This Charlotte team has had a rough start to the season to say the least, but they help us start perhaps our easiest two-game road trip out east this season. We will be going to the House of Michael Jordan, to face a team that looks like it could use the almost 60-year old on the team. Before I dunk too hard on this team, let me start off by stating that Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier have both missed significant time, and LaMelo Ball has missed almost the entire season at this point (and Cody Martin, but he’s not as significant). In other words, they have missed their top three scorers for most of the season. Add in that Miles Bridges is on hiatus from the league for his domestic violence situation, and also Montrezl Harrell is in Philly now, and they haven’t had a great scoring output so far this season.
Still, this team just didn’t seem like it had a lot in the first place. They have relied a lot upon the likes of Dennis Smith Jr, who has bounced around the fringes of NBA rosters lately, Nick Richards who has rode the bench for his entire career until this season, and a few other young players who just aren’t ready. This team made no significant moves in the off-season, and it’s showing.
Even at full strength, this team isn’t likely to challenge the Bucks, but LaMelo has been fragile all season, Hayward has been banged up, and without even one of those two I don’t see this team having much of a chance. Any team can win on any day, but I wouldn’t count on this one.
Monday, December 5th
6:00PM on Bally Sports WI
Orlando is not much better than Charlotte, and they have been decimated by injuries to start this season. Rookie first overall pick, and possibly the Rookie of the Year to this point, Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Wagner have all missed significant time this season. That’s half of the main roster. You don’t win with half of the roster missing significant amounts of time, especially if you were already projected to be a bad team by everyone.
The good news for Orlando is, well, they might have another great shot at the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft for Victor Wembanyama. The other good news is that after playing 53 games in three terrible seasons, center Bol Bol has started to look like a potential NBA player. Franz Wagner has also played well in his sophomore season. Aside from that,there isn’t a lot. Mo Bamba has regressed after signing a nice contract for him, and everyone else has been hurt. I wouldn’t expect them to get over 30 wins even if everybody returns and plays well. The Bucks should beat this team.
Wednesday, December 7th
7:00PM on Bally Sports WI
With games against Charlotte, Orlando and Sacramento in a row, this is when I start to feel like the NBA season is back. Random NBA games galore! However, as I expected, the Kings are having a solid season thus far. They have a nice one-two punch in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, which I believe is one of the best duos they’ve had in a while. New addition Kevin Huerter has also shined with higher usage, and Summer League MVP Keegan Murray is also doing solid work for them.
I don’t how long the Kings are going to be this decent for a change, especially with the Clippers, Warriors, Pelicans and Timberwolves trailing them in the standings, but it is feasible to think that this may be the best positioned team to make the playoffs after their lengthy drought. This is a team that started 0-4 and subsequently 3-6, but managed to turn it around to a winning record for a time.
How will this team do against the Bucks? Size is not an issue, and they have a decent number of players who can score. Defense is not a strong suit of this team, at least looking at who they have and how well they have played historically. I think the Bucks should find a way to win this one pretty handily. One last quick note, Matthew Dellavedova has made a return to the NBA, after just 13 games since the pandemic-shortened season.
Friday, December 9th
9:00PM on ESPN & Bally Sports WI
This is the toughest one to get an eye on, but it is also the one we are most likely to lose. Dallas is a solid basketball team, and any basketball team that is fully healthy is a good bet to win, which is part of why I believe the Kings are off to a strong start. If we can repeat what we did on Sunday and take away Luka in this game, the Bucks have a very good chance to win. If not, they probably won’t. We just played Dallas, check out the rapid recap and full recap to see what went well and not so well for the Bucks, and what we could do differently if “run it back” doesn’t work.
Sunday, December 11th
6:00PM on Bally Sports WI
Before the season began, I predicted Utah, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Houston to all be disastrous tank squads that nobody should predict to make the postseason. San Antonio started well but came back down to Earth quickly, and the Thunder are not far behind. The Utah Jazz took a lot longer to do so, but they may even start to fade away pretty quickly in a tight Western Conference (maybe I’ll just trade Utah for the Lakers in this case). But Houston, from the jump, has been absolute garbage, so at least I started the season with one of them right.
Houston has been relatively healthy this season, with only Jae’Sean Tate and Bruno Fernando missing significant time. They have all had time to play consistently together, Forward has been a weak link, with Eric Gordon and rookie Jabari Smith both playing subpar so far this season. The trio of Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Kevin Porter Jr. have been solid, but that trio isn’t ready for prime time by any sense of the phrase.
I think this team might be a bit tricky just because we historically haven’t played well in Houston, but despite their promise this might be the worst era of Houston basketball ever, so I don’t see why we couldn’t pick up another win because of that. With that said, that did hold true in San Antonio despite the Spurs not being very good either. But I still pick the Bucks here, easily.
Julie’s Prediction: 5-2
So, I know the Bucks are just coming off of their worst stretch, but this stretch shouldn’t be so bad. Six of these games are against either the current and/or the usual bottom-feeders in the NBA, and then there is one tough road game in a rematch with Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks. That is one that I would peg as the most likely to be lost by far, with the Knicks, Kings and Lakers game as well possible tests. Again, this is the last stretch I would consider to be easy, so the Bucks need to take advantage of the easier schedule while they have the chance. Let’s hope they do.
Will they take advantage? Vote and comment below.
How Will the Bucks Do This Forecast?
This poll is closed
6-1 or 7-0 (Easy, Peezy, Lemon Squeezy)
5-2 (Julie’s Correct Prediction)
4-3 (Too Much Injuries/Resting, Hope it Doesn’t Bite Us Later)
3-4 or Worse (I don’t even want to think about what could possibly happen for this record to be possible)