Welcome to the latest addition of Brew Hoop’s Extended Forecast, where the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves back in the contention conversation. This is 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 easiest to predict, since we have more information on injuries, trades, COVID-19 cases, etc. But in general, we still should have an idea of what is coming. Or not?
Well, this is it. The end of the regular season is here, the end of college basketball’s season is here, and it is time for basketball fans around the world to focus in on the NBA postseason. In this edition of the Extended Forecast, I’m going to spend time going around and giving my special thanks and awards for this season. As (to-be) Robin says to Batman in the Dark Knight Rises, (the best of all the Batman movies if you ask me with Dark Knight a close second) (I also don’t care if things aren’t realistic in the movies, they are movies so I don’t care) I approximately quote:
*Batman: “Don’t thank me, not yet.”
*Robin: “I might not get a chance to later.”
Here’s a link to add some suspense (copyright The Dark Knight Rises and all associated with the film’s production)
That’s where I am going with this. Through all the possible celebrations and the possible-but-hopefully-hopefully-HOPEFULLY-not first round exit, I’m sure things will get flooded in here. I will be doing the extended forecast until the season wraps up, but I will be looking at the next opponent and analyzing those teams (for instance, looking at the Final Four, if I’m a Kansas fan I’m analyzing Duke/North Carolina). This analysis will be done in a separate article at a later date, along with my final record compared to the Bucks. But first, my awards for the Bucks and appreciation note for Brew Hoop.
A special thank you to Mitchell Maurer and Adam Paris for letting me hop in this season, accepting my identity as a transwoman, and aside from too many name-related jokes on my part (saying things like Charles Barkley will really struggle with this team since he struggled with Frank Kaminsky), pretty much everything I’ve done has gone well in my rookie year. Thank you for bringing me on, and I’ll hit the weight room this off-season to see if I can improve my long-distance forecasting.
Now, on to the awards....
Newcomer of the year:
This one I think has to go to Duke. In spite of this award, he has done little to help the Bucks’ win a championship at this point. He has less win shares than Pat Connaughton at this point, so we would still be about where we are now without him. I don’t care if you disagree, we have to win a championship or he has to be what Portis was last year for me to acknowledge him. As for the rest, George Hill missed too much time, Serge didn’t play the whole season and wasn’t as impactful, Jevon Carter wasn’t here that long either and DeAndre Bembry got hurt. Wesley Matthews was solid, but not spectacular. The Caruso Crusader gets almost basically the default vote here. Runner up goes to George.
I think it should go to Bobby Portis. A sixth man is supposed to step up when the team needs him, and we needed him the whole season while Brook dealt with that back injury. The five best players should be the starters, so if one of them gets hurt, that’s the purpose of your sixth man, in my opinion. If you want to look at those who could qualify for Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA, the bench was basically Pat Connaughton and not much else for much of the season. But, Bobby showed us why he’s a great sixth man, and now that Brook is back hopefully we can see it again. But if you want to argue Pat, you technically are right too.
Most improved player:
Most of our team is too old or established to get this award, little things like Giannis shooting and Holiday’s confidence have improved, but I haven’t really seen anyone pull a Giannis improvement like seven years ago now and do that. If I had to pick the most overall growth, I will pick Jordan Nwora by virtual default. To be fair, he’s averaging almost eight points per game now and has played some crunch-time minutes. Bobby Portis is the runner-up.
Least missed player since the 2021 trade deadline:
All the players who qualify here are Jaylen Adams, DJ Augustin, Elijah Bryant, Torrey Craig, Mamadi Diakite, Justin Jackson, Sam Merrill, Axel Toupane, DJ Wilson, DeMarcus Cousins, Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye and Justin Robinson. All of those players were on this year’s team or got a ring from last season. That’s a full rotation of garbage. I’ll make a poll and let you decide between players we actually would remember. Remember, it’s who do you least miss for basketball reasons, whether you think they actively made the Bucks worse or you forgot they existed or something like that. For instance, I least miss DJ, because he/they brought us PJ and they weren’t effective for us.
Which Player Do You Miss LEAST From 2021 & 2022 (Be Specific in Comments)
This poll is closed
Most missed player:
That leaves us with Bryn Forbes, Jeff Teague, PJ Tucker and Donte DiVincenzo. Forbes and Teague were not really mainstays in the rotation in the postseason, but they had their moments in the regular season and maybe a few in the playoffs. DiVincenzo didn’t get to play in the postseason after the Miami series. So, it has to be PJ Tucker, and since he’s going to be actively playing against us (possibly) it’s him by a long shot. DiVincenzo is the runner-up, especially if injuries happen or Serge Ibaka struggles.
Giannis. But is Middleton or Holiday the runner-up? Middleton has the edge in points, rebounds, games played and games started. Holiday has the edge in minutes, offensive rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, ATO, and PER. Middleton is actually fourth there, behind Giannis, Jrue and DeMarcus Cousins. But since Giannis wipes the floor with both of them in PER, I’m going to give my runner-up award to Jrue since he’s higher there. But they are very close to being identical.
Okay, now let’s do a quick summary of last forecast before we start moving on. Without Khris Middleton, the Bucks blew the cap off the almost full strength Bulls, and more on that later in the forecast. We then take down the Wizards without Giannis and Khris, and yet lose at Memphis with Giannis and Khris and without Ja Morant. I’m confused, but it’s also probably not that meaningful. Then, we had two great victories over Philadelphia and Brooklyn, led by MVP-tokounmpo (nah, doesn’t work, I was trying to play on the “Alphabet” nickname). I at least have a better defense for that than the Bucks’ reserves did against the Clippers, allowing 153 points. I know it’s the bench, but it was their bench too, and that kind of letdown raises against the alarm bells just enough to be relevant. And the final game against the West until the Finals was against Dallas, and we got beaten at full strength in what felt like a playoff rotation. That made me, unfortunately, correct at 4-3. I still enjoy being right though.
Julie’s 2021-22 Record Prediction: 51-27 (good for first)
Bucks’ 2021-22 Record: 48-30 (third in east)
As for what’s coming up, we have three road games against the division (aside from Indiana) with the final home game against Boston as game two of this four game stretch. Let’s go!
@Chicago April 5th
So, with the return of Patrick Williams and Alex Caruso to the lineup, the Bucks still managed to beat the Bulls handily. Like, it wasn’t close after the first quarter or so. They held DeRozan and LaVine to under 25 points each, and I think stopping one of those too combined with the presence of Lopez on the interior should help the Bucks beat a team like the Bulls pretty easily. We have their number, regardless of how this game goes. As with the Packers and Bears, I think we can safely say that at this point, this series isn’t really a rivalry.
Lonzo Ball will for sure be out again for this game. Statistics are also pretty similar, but we need to take the returns of Caruso and Williams into account this time. DeRozan leads in points and assists, and Nikola Vucevic leads in blocks and rebounds. Caruso is the steals leader, but Javonte Green and Vucevic are the qualifying steals leaders.
Boston April 7th
Boston is a very, very different team from when we saw them on Christmas Day. Even still, we are 1-2 against them with that one win being kind of a lucky Wesley Matthews dagger win. But, they also beat us right when Covid-19 struck the Bucks, so let’s call it even? The third game, very early in the season, was an overtime loss. So, it’s been very close.
The biggest change to the Celtics has been moving on from Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson, and bringing back Daniel Theis and adding a solid do-it-all guard in Derrick White from San Antonio. As far as offensive threats go, the only “real” threats are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and stopping one of them and not letting any surprises come from the likes of a Payton Pritchard should be enough to beat this team. The problem is, nobody really has with only three losses since January 29th. And while there are a few Detroit and Sacramento games in there, they also swept Denver, beat Memphis, won at Golden State, beat Brooklyn three times, and more. This team is dangerous now. Let’s see without Robert Williams who recently got injured, but I think they still have enough to be a threat.
Jayson Tatum leads in scoring, followed closely by Jaylen Brown. Marcus Smart leads in assists and steals, and Robert Williams III in rebounds and blocks. The fifth starter is Al Horford, and that’s something they have had. Consistency. All five starters have started in at least 58 games, even with the recent injury to Williams.
@Detroit April 8th
Detroit hasn’t tanked as much as I thought they have tanked, and they are also one of the very few teams to beat Boston in these past few months. Weird how it is Detroit all the time. Still, this is the worst team in the East, aside from maybe Orlando, and we should (should) be able to beat them even in Detroit. A difference from last time is that Marvin Bagley has been acquired in a different portion of the trade that landed us Serge Ibaka. They gave up Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson to get him, as well as a second round pick that we get from them. Bagley actually looks like a quality NBA player in Detroit, at least in the small sample size, so do I dare say Detroit is more of a threat now?
Detroit’s big three of Jerami Grant, Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey may or may not be playing due to the season almost being over. Grant is not a qualifier for stats, but leads in scoring and has played enough that in my opinion he should qualify. Cunningham instead is the leader in points and assists, en route to a possible Rookie of the Year award. He’s also tied in steals with Hamidou Diallo. Sophomore Isaiah Stewart leads in blocks and rebounds. Saddiq Bey has also played in and started every game this season, and he has become a very nice player. Grant and Hamidou Diallo are for sure going to miss this game.
@Cleveland April 10th
I think Cleveland is kind of falling off. They have had a spectacular season, don’t get me wrong, and I love that I was right about this team being a dark horse playoff threat. But, I think teams are starting to figure them out, and the luster they had is gone. They are going to be fighting until the very end to stay out of the play-in tournament, but this team just doesn’t feel like they did when they had their second All-Star announced back in February. The Bucks are just 1-2 against this team so far, so this game could matter for playoff positioning.
They still have seven players averaging over 11 points per game, and the leader is Darius Garland. He’s getting 21 along with 8.5 or so assists, and is the piece they build around. The center duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are also dynamic, with the former leading in rebounding and the latter in shot blocking. Garland also leads in steals.
As for injuries, Collin Sexton and Dean Wade are for sure out, with Allen, Mobley and Rajon Rondo possibly missing as well.
Julie’s Prediction: 3-1
This is kind of a lazy prediction. I think we lose to someone in this stretch, but with the Bulls and Cavaliers reeling, as well as Boston not having Robert Williams III, I just don’t see us having a tied or losing record here. History from this season also shows that the Bucks are not going to win all four. They also might take a rest day or two here, remember what happened with the Clippers on Friday. And, they never have gone undefeated in the Extended Forecast time period. Why now? What do you think? Vote and comment below.
What Will the Bucks Record Be for the Final Four Games?
This poll is closed
4-0 (The Championship Run Starts Now)
3-1 (Julie’s *Correct* Prediction)
2-2 or 1-3 (Meh, It’s The End of the Season, Let Them Rest)
0-4 (It’s Not Too Late to Tank, Is It?)