Author: Jonathan Mills
The City of Milwaukee expects its new, state-of-the-art Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center to be finished by mid-2018. However, if the Bucks’ 2017-18 finish is any indication, then there is much more construction to be done.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been attaching the slogans “Fear the Deer” and “Own the Future” for the past couple of years, but many Bucks fans, players and ownership felt this year was different. This was the year that Milwaukee pushed past its miserable playoff resume and create some excitement before officially moving into its new arena.
Fortunately, the Bucks will still relocate into the WESC come next fall, but there is arguably more frustration surrounding the team than ever before. After losing a best-of-seven series to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, a lot needs to change if the Bucks hope to obtain not only relevance, but respect in the NBA.
First of all, All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to continue working on his jump shot. His freakish size and athleticism propelled him to new heights in 2017-18, and he finished averaging 26.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. These are all impressive numbers, but teams will force Antetokounmpo to take shots outside of the paint or foul him before he can attack the basket, exploiting both his weak mid-range and free throw abilities.
Besides Giannis, the only other consistent scorer on the Bucks has been shooting guard Khris Middleton. This will not work for a team striving to take advantage of not only the perceived “weaker” Eastern conference, but the prime of the Greek Freak’s career.
For the Bucks to take the next step forward as a program, the team needs to find a coach not known for offense or defense, but for emphasizing awareness and chemistry. All too often under Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty, the Bucks found themselves giving up early leads and struggling with cohesiveness against aggressive offenses. In-game lapses and concentration go much farther than any amount of points some player can record because let’s face it: this is the NBA and everybody can score.
In total, if the Bucks hope to rain more confetti on their shiny arena floor next year, the team has some polishing up to do itself.