Season Preview: Eastern Conference Challengers-Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in basketball last season with 60 wins and just 22 defeats, they also reached their first conference finals since 2001 but with league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as their leader they were expecting much more.
The Bucks have changed little in terms of personnel, unsurprising considering their success last year and while the teams around them have improved during the off-season, the Bucks are still the favourites for the number 1 spot in the East.
Has Giannis been working on his outside shot?
Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of the most dominant seasons I have ever seen in 2018/19, the only thing leveled against him was his inability to score from outside the paint. He only shot 25% from three last year but that didnt stop him from averaging 27.5 PPG so it's not something he necessarily needs but some of the better defense teams were able to slow him down and if he has improved on outside shot then it allows him to have an extra move when on offence. Whether or not he has developed his outside shot, the Greek Freak will still have another dominant season but a little bit of consistency from outside would likely give the Bucks the edge they need to go at least one better than last year.
Lack of summer additions could lead to problems:
The Bucks only noticeable summer addition was Kyle Korver, and while he will add important points with his shooting ability, the Bucks will basically have the same roster as last season. While that team was extremely successful, other teams in the league will now be better equipped to play against and they will need the likes of Bledsoe and Middleton to reach another level after big seasons last term. At the same time this Bucks team were amazing last year and with Giannis as the franchise player they should be aiming to hit 60 wins again this season.
Can Kris Middleton have another all-star season?
Kris Middleton was extremely impressive last season but is he capable of hitting the same heights this year, I am not so sure. Middleton acted as the facilitator for Giannis while also adding points himself alongside quality defensive displays. However he was playing out of his skin and I don' think he will be able to reach the same level this year. The 2019 could prove me wrong but I believe his drop in level, while only slight, will give the likes of Philly and the Celtics the opportunity to take the number 1 spot in the East.
The Bucks have added another quality three-point shooter around Giannis but will that be enough to keep them top of the East we will have to wait and see. Giannis has improved year on year since coming into the league and I have no doubts he will be challenging for individual honours once again in 2020.
Season Prediction: 56-26, 2nd place in the East
Milwaukee travel to Houston for their opening game of the season but their first home game of the season against the Miami Heat will be live on Sky Sports @10pm on Saturday.