The Bucks were awesome to watch last season, with a plethora of 6’6 or above players allowing for chaotic switching and rotating on defense and intriguing sets offensively. The catalyst for this offense early in the season was Brandon Knight, a near All-Star whom the Bucks traded for the lengthier, younger, less free-agent-this-summer-with-the-potential-to-leave Michael Carter-Williams mid season. There have so far been no indications (apart from some hollow stats in Philadelphia) that MCW is fit to run an offense or that he will be able to score freely unless he develops a jump shot. The Bucks were 10-18 after trading Knight and looked to struggle offensively under the guidance of Carter-Williams.
So, this offseason, they went out and added a player that they can dump the ball to when nothing is happening offensively and they need a bucket and they went out and got him in when they signed Greg Monroe from the Pistons. The Bucks loved to have a man in the high post last season either as a roll man or an option for post up offense and Monroe’s game fits perfectly into this system. Often last season he was played out of position alongside Andre Drummond, but he can facilitate from the block and was awesome when he was allowed to play Centre.
Defensively, Monroe gets better every season and whilst he’ll never be an exceptional high flying, shot blocking defender ala Serge Ibaka, his postioning has improved and he should be able to improve his lazy footwork and poor recoveries under Sean Sweeney and Jason Kidd. As long as his he can position himself well in the Bucks defensive schemes and recover when the ball is moved to the weak side, the defensive concerns some have will evaporate.
Last season this team was 24th in defensive rebounding and Monroe, who averaged 6.9 defensive boards and 10.2 total boards last season, will certainly improve this area as well. Add the returning Jabari Parker to a starting lineup that includes MCW, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Monroe and the Bucks look dangerous. But there are some legitimate concerns here; this team was built around defense and although I’ve been optimistic regarding Monroe’s prospects, this team will be starting MCW, Parker and Monroe who are all below average defenders and this team had the second best defensive efficiency in the league last season. Along with this, their offense was 6th worst in the league and I don’t see Parker and Monroe elevating this team to the extent they will be required to if they are making the playoffs.
With just Middleton, Rashad Vaughn and Greivis Vasquez on the roster that are decent shooters, this team will struggle to space the floor and in an NBA that is so heavily reliant on spacing, this could be the Bucks downfall once more. The model projects a slight regression from the Bucks this season, with 36 wins. Whilst I think this is slightly low, I think it may be a case of one step backwards by missing the playoffs this season for two steps forward by further developing their young roster.
Projected Record: 36-46
My Predicted Wins: 36-41
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Also, the Bucks now have an alternate court, how dope is that! Every team needs an alternate court – period.