The future is getting closer to being owned by the Milwaukee Bucks as they have been advertising.
Having just been beaten (4-2) by the No. 3-seeded Toronto Raptors – and only being blown out of one game – the young Bucks are closer to being a top contender in the Eastern Division of the NBA.
Here are my thoughts on this team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Of course, the ‘Greek Freak’ is one of the best players in the NBA and should make second-team All-NBA at least. Besides being talented, his work ethic will go a long way toward him being a true MVP candidate down the road. Forget about 3-point shots, he needs to work on his free throws and his mid-range jumper. The treys would be a bonus.
Jabari Parker – He was coming into his own when he went down with the devastating knee injury (20.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Unfortunately, he will miss most of the season, so I don’t think he will be much help next season. But I like his future.
Khris Middleton – Made a nice comeback (14.7 PPG, 4.2 RPB, 3.4 APG) from his injury, but his shooting skills lost something in the playoffs when he was especially needed. His FG% and 3-PT% from the regular-season (45.0, 43.3) to the playoffs (39.7, 36) went down. He definitely gives the Bucks a legitimate 3-pronged attack.
Thon Maker – I was incensed with this pick because the Bucks needed another ‘project’ like I needed another 10 pounds. I felt if you draft this guy, play him! When he had some instruction and talks with Kevin Garnett and Jason Kidd started getting him some exposure, he showed an excellent outside shot – especially for a 7-footer – and shot-blocking ability. Now he needs to spend time in the weight room so he can bang heads with many powerful NBA big men.
Malcolm Brogdon – Possible Rookie of the Year candidate, but he lost some luster with a C grade at the best in the playoffs. Intelligent player, a steal by GM John Hammond in the second round. His court sense is beyond his years.
PLEASE STICK AROUND
I have been a Greg Monroe fan all season. He lost weight, improved his defense and was a threat inside or from the 10-foot mark. He accepted his role as offense off the bench and showed some solid passing skills on the pick and roll. He has a $17m option and I don’t know how the Bucks feel, but I hope he takes it. He was a key player when finally given an opportunity to play on a consistent basis.
Tony Snell – I wasn’t excited about the trade that brought Snell to the Bucks, but that’s why Hammond is a NBA General Manager and I’m a fan. Snell brought the defense and the length that was expected of him, but he added an important quality – a solid 3-point shot (45% from field, 40.6% from the 3-point line) and became a threat. He will be sought after as a free agent if he doesn’t accept his option.
LET THEM HANG AROUND
Jason Terry and Gary Peyton II add something to this team. Despite his age, his experience, his locker room presence and his ability to still shoot the 3 is a good reason to hang on to Terry, an ad hoc coach already. I put Peyton II here because of his defense and he signed a 2-year deal.
TRY TO MOVE THEM
Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Mirza Teletovic – I would try and move all three of them. Don’t like their production for the salary they are being paid. I like Delly’s punch you in the face attitude, especially in the playoffs where the Bucks were pretty meek. But I don’t need him shooting as many 3’s had he had to. Henson doesn’t see much action because of injury and coach’s decisions and his lack of time in the playoffs really showed that. Telly didn’t perform from the outside in his limited action and disappeared in the playoffs when a veteran is needed. If Hammond can give these guys away and free some of the salary he would be a genius.
Michael Beasley, Spencer Hawes and Rashad Vaughn – two veterans and an unfulfilled rookie who is supposed to be shooter. They certainly can be upgraded.
I was not a Jason Kidd fan. By that I mean I didn’t want him fired, but I couldn’t figure out his thought process when it came to the rotation. Sometimes I wondered if he knew what he was doing. I admire his coaching style on the sideline, I like the fact that being a Hall of Famer, players want to come here and play for him and he has a good coaching staff.
John Hammond has done a good job, although I’m not a fan of all his moves. But he is right more than wrong. Now if the ownership will spend less money on the surrounding neighborhood and let Hammond spend some big money on some free agents that will bring the future here quicker, that would be nice.