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Thread: All New MILWAUKEE BUCKS thread, the everlasting title contenders!

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    Default All New MILWAUKEE BUCKS thread, the everlasting title contenders!

    The Milwaukee Bucks have turned the page to a completely new era last season.

    After drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the summer of 2013 and having the worst record in their history (17-65) during the 2013-14 season, the Bucks had 5 continuous seasons of improving their record for each and every season that followed by continuously building around Giannis, which has resulted to the team having a parallel to Antetokoumpo's progress and ended up with Giannis winning the MVP and the Bucks ending with the best record in the league (60-22) during the 2018-19 season.

    Although not making it to the 2019 NBA finals (which could have caused winning the title as things turned out to be with the Warriors being plagued with injuries during the playoffs) but only to the ECF, the Bucks have survived a very difficult off season by succeeding to keep most of their key core of players and although they lost a starter on Malcom Brogdon, they've have achieved to add even more proven veterans, as well as expand their future promising roster depth.

    Even more important, the Bucks have financially secured a long term contending roster surrounding Giannis, which ensures that as long as "the Greek Freak" will remain with the team long term, the Bucks will retain their contending for the title capability for many years to come.

    Therefore the key points for further success for the Bucks this season will be:

    1. To ensure that Giannis resigns a 5-years extension next off season, which he is eligible to do one year before his current contract expires.

    This will be secured if the Bucks do better than last season and therefore prove to (only 24yo) Giannis that staying with the team will ensure a future which will enable him to contend among the best for all his (long) remaining career.

    In order for the Bucks to achieve that in a league that has had most of the teams significantly improving this off season, the Bucks may have to upgrade the roster further via trades by next February. Therefore the Bucks should be expected to be quite active until the trade deadline.

    2. To find a way so that Brogdon's loss won't have a negative impact on the roster's performance.

    Brogdon's role with the Bucks was more than the 40/50/90 scoring achievement he had last season suggests. Brogdon had playmaking, assisting the ball and court vision skills that enabled the Bucks to retain advanced playmaking coming from the guards in order to support, space the floor and make things easier for the forwards, these playmaking skils are not included on what the additions of Matthews or Korver bring in the Bucks roster with their game.
    The Bucks even added Hill last season (who's game much resembles Malcom's) in order to be able and rotate Bledsoe and Brogdon while keeping two play-making able guards on the floor for an entire game.

    Therefore, after keeping Hill but loosing Brogdon, it should be expected that Hill takes Brogdon's (crucial) role, but this would require for either Divicenzo or/and Brown to further advance their playmaking skills in order to be able and fully support Bledsoe/Hill, or the Bucks may have to add another combo guard via trade in order to make back for Brogdon's loss.

    3. The Bucks luck a proven and reliable 3/4 combo wing in their roster.

    Last season the Bucks added Nikola Mirotic and therefore the coaching team was able to choose whether to play a "3 guards on the floor" or a "3 towers on the floor" line up after mid season. After losing Mirotic, the only other solution the Bucks have if the game requires a "3-towers on the floor" line-up, is to move Giannis at SF and have one out of Ilyasova/Wilson taking over the PF roster spot, but surely Giannis is less effective when playing at SF unless his long shot effectiveness steps up and becomes consistent. Of course, the Bucks have added Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Cam Reynolds in their line-up, but both are yet unproven if they can successfully handle such a roll in crucial games.

    Therefore the Bucks may have to trade for a proven and reliable 3/4 combo wing by the trade deadline.

    I believe that if the Bucks will achieve to add a proven PG/SG combo guard and another proven SF/PF by the trade deadline this season, they should be considered to be the favorites to win the NBA title this season.

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    The training camps for all NBA teams have opened and it will be particularly interesting to see how the coaching team will be evaluating the players, in order to decide how to further improve the roster during the trade period.

    The 20 players roster of the Bucks, will be evaluated in three general group categories in terms of their ability to contribute:

    Group 1a: Will be deciding the staring line up and the major minutes rotating role players between Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Hill, Ilyasova, Divincenzo, Brown, Connaugton and Wilson which all were with team during the previous season, as well as the additions of the new comers Robin Lopez, Matthews, Korver & Thanasis Antetokounmpo, (Total of 14 players)

    sub-Group 1b: Will be Hill, Ilyasova, Divincenzo, Brown, Connaughton and Matthews out of the above, out of which it will be decided who starts next to Bledsoe, Middleton, Giannis and Brook Lopez and what role will be addressed to the remaining players that will join Robin Lopez, D.J. Wilson, Korver & Thanasis coming from the bench.

    Group 2: Will be the 15th player on regular contract (albeit the only one not fully guaranteed) Dragan Bender, the 2-way contracts of Cam Reynolds and Frank Mason and the then the three "excibit-10" contracts on Jaylen Adams, Rayjon Tucker and Luke Maye, among which it will be decided who takes the 15th remaining roster spot, which two will finally take the two 2-way contract spots, who will be waived (if any) and who will be signed with the Bucks G-league team (the Wisconsin Herd).

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    All the above said, the Bucks are particularly counting on their youth for the future. The F.O. seems to have invested lots of hopes in the youth they've added this season, counting on the scouting reports that were coming in before they trusted to add the young players to the team.

    The Bucks have put a lot of effort to carefully select the assistant coaches that are responsible for the development of young players and this season, they have expanded the additions to the existing coaching squad down to the Wisconsin Herd, in which they replaced all the coaching squad of with new entries in order to be a development step before players can be selected and integrated to the main roster of the Bucks.

    The Bucks seem to value the potential of the young addition as follows (in that order):

    1. Dragan Bender: According to the GM J.Horst, the Bucks think that he has been highly under coached and miss-valued by the Suns, they believe that Bender has characteristics and Basketball IQ that is rare to find in the NBA and therefore, he has the potential to become the future supplement next to Giannis in the Bucks squad...

    2. Cameron Reynolds: The Bucks are particularly happy they've been able to land him, his body is devine with all height, length, wingspan and quickness being rare to find combined in a wing player who can play multiple positions from SG up to PF and has proved that his shooting is both state of the art as well as consistent.

    3. Rayon Tucker: To many, it looks surprising that Tucker wasn't drafted being such an incredible scorer and having an exceptional body for a guard with tremendous athleticism combined.
    Obviously, the reason for him not being drafted has being the selfishness in his game that was evident during his college years which makes him look like a player who has low court vision, as well as his luck of defense that doesn't coincide with what his body and athleticism suggests that it should be. The Bucks however think that all of Tucker's weaknesses that are related with his up to now game, are curable through proper training and therefore value him highly for their short term future.

    4. Thanasis Antetokounmpo: The Bucks keep saying that they didn't pick him because he is Giannis' bro as most people think, but insted, were eyeing him for the later seasons after he was waived from the Knicks...

    His body and athleticism are absolutely state of the art, so is his quickness and speed, but his exceptional defense too, his only issue up to now has been his shot consistency, but his shot mechanics have always been the ones of a shooter, therefore the Bucks think that he was under-coached and never had the chance he should.

    5. Frank Mason & Jaylen Adams: Both have NBA experience and will most probably be in the NBA for many years in the future (despite if it will be with the Bucks or with another team), they were both waived from their previous teams, only because it happened to be in teams that were too "crowdy" in combo guard depth... One out of the two is expected to be chosen for the Bucks future roster plans, that is unless Rayon Tucker unleashes his full potential...

    6. Luke Maye: Another that came as a bit of a surprise that wasn't drafted this season... Maye has very similar body to Reynolds and plays the same positions too, his future with the Bucks though seems to be questionable with Reynolds present and showing more upside.

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    The financial situation of the Bucks, also seems to be outstanding... GM Jon Horst won the "Executive of the year" award during the 2018/19 season, for being able to built a contending team which is not paying not even a penny in lux tax!

    Ever since the latest ownership bought the team five years ago, the Bucks have never payed any lux tax, but the team was steadily progressing to the better from one season to the next. In the mean time, the value of the team has nearly tripled (!!! - according to Forbes) from 550M that the owners bought it for, up to 1450M in today's worth... During this time, the Bucks have added completely new and state of the art premises for both the arena as well as their training center that are considered to be among the best in the league.

    The new arena is sold out for both sitting and standing tickets for almost each and every game, additionally, the Bucks this season are among the top-5 teams in the league in having a huge income from TV-rights, having achieved a new record than ever in their history before, by having more than half of their season games being Nationally televised live on the USA TV network.

    However, GM Jon Horst has said in multiple cases that neither the ownership or the F.O. have absolutely any concern if paying the lux tax is the requirement for the team to stay competitive for the NBA title. One may therefore wonder why the Bucks choose to avoid paying the lux tax this season, but preferred to lose Malcom Brogdon instead... To any one that is not familiar with the CBA and despite the desire the organization had into keep Malcom with the team, the Bucks did the right thing to let Brogdon go this season and here is why:

    According to the CBA rules, a team that is paying lux tax for more than three consecutive seasons, is then penalized by additional and severe repeaters tax. The cost of paying the repeaters tax additionally to lux tax has been the reason behind many good teams (OKC, Wizards being the most recent among many before) have been forced to blow the roster up and move to a rebuilt, therefore a team like the Bucks that is planning to have a long term sustainable roster in order to contend for the NBA title for many seasons in the future, must avoid paying the lux tax for more than three seasons...

    However, the Bucks have as a financial priority to extend Giannis to a super-max contract (worth nearly 250M for five seasons) during the 2021/22 season and at that time, the Bucks will almost certainly enter into paying the lux tax... Therefore the Bucks have timed their contracts so that they won't pay the lux tax for this or the next season, having in mind that they will be moving above the lux tax threshold during the 21/22 season and keep upgrading the roster until three seasons later... With this in mind, the Bucks have signed Khris Middleton to a max contract that is starting this season and will end five seasons later, which coincides with the Bucks entering the lux tax during the 21/22 season and stay there for three continuous seasons into it, which is exactly until Middleton's contract expires...

    Then the Bucks will have to move back under the lux tax threshold for another two seasons and then, move again above the threshold and stay there for another three seasons...

    All this suggests excellent planning and timing from the Bucks front office, in order to continuously build around Giannis and ensure that the team will be contending for the championship for at least another decade!

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    All players coach and GM have been giving a press conference today, which was live on the Bucks Fb page...

    All the returning (ex) free agents, seemed to agree on the reason that they chose to be with the Bucks again... "they have unfinished business"!

    Here is the video of the press conference: https://www.facebook.com/milwaukeebu...3618853671015/

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    Bucks open (to public) scrimmage set for Sun the 6th... It will be interesting to see the condition status of the players as well as coach Bud's first thoughts on the rotation decisions.

    https://www.nba.com/bucks/release/mi...6-fiserv-forum

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    I have said on another site, that "the Bucks wouldn't have signed Matthews if they knew that Korver would join the team"... I think this confirms I was right:

    https://eu.jsonline.com/story/sports...ks/3824680002/

    My opinion is that Matthews and Ilyasova won't be with the Bucks for the playoffs...

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    A very interesting interview of the Bucks ownership to Matt Velasquez today:

    https://eu.jsonline.com/story/sport....ad/3857117002/

    Particularly interesting that the ownership has no objection for the team to pay the luxury tax, but only with the correct timing of doing so.

    Obviously, the Bucks are planning to go above the lux threshold when Giannis contract extension comes into play but not before, which is reasonable given that a team can pay the lux tax only for three continuous seasons before it becomes eligible to pay the (severe) repeater's tax which has forced many teams to blow the roster up and start a roster rebuild.

    Therefore, the Bucks are planning to move above the lux tax threshold for the 21/22 season, which is when Giannis contract renewal comes into play and have even timed Middleton's contract expiring three seasons later (by the 24/25 season), so that they can move back below the lux threshold during that time.

    One should therefore expect the Bucks to make major additions to the roster for the three seasons they'll be paying the lux tax and significantly upgrade the roster further for these seasons.

    Here is the exact words that were said during the interview on the Bucks paying the lux tax:

    "In hindsight, sometimes you’re a victim of your own success. When we were thinking about the roster for this year a year ago, I don’t think we really expected both Brook Lopez to have the major breakout season he did – and we really benefited from that – and Khris (Middleton) becoming an all-star, a legitimate all-star. So the market value for two of our best guys really went up as a result of how well they played last year. And so, as a result, we get more limitations than we anticipated. Malcolm played well – he was a 90-50-40 player – and sometimes you can’t always get what you want. I think that’s really the case. Also, you’ve got to keep in mind the luxury-tax rules are designed to become very expensive for so-called repeaters and we actually had to keep that in mind as well."

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    Zach Lowe, the first man out of all media people who risked to predict before anyone could see it coming last season that:

    1. The Bucks will take one of the first 3 seeds in the East and will play in the ECF...

    2. Giannis will win the MVP

    3. Coach Budenholzer will win "Coach of the year",

    has revealed his predictions for this season for all 30 teams:

    https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...rs-bottom-tier

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    The impressions I've got so far out of the Bucks scrimmage (Oct 6th):

    1. Two way player Cam Reynolds, is one of the best shooters in the entire league, I believe he will make the regular contract roster next season, or later this season if a roster spot opens up... His potential is extremely promising, I believe he will have a great career in the league for many years to come.

    2. Donte Divincenzo and Sterling Brown, are both showing vast improvement over last season, Donte has being playing his entire minutes at PG position and shows state of the art defense, as well as full marks passing ability while Sterling looks like an elite "catch and shooter" playing his minutes "off the ball", but again, with remarkable defense abilities.

    I believe that if the progress of both players is as it looks, then there will be Hill starting at SG with Divincenzo and Brown backing up the guards coming from bench...

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    Coach Bud took anybody by surprise with the starting line up he choose to start the first preseason game against the Bulls...

    PG: Frank Mason (2-way contract), SG: Sterling Brown, SF: Wes Mathews PF: Brook Lopez, CF:Robin Lopez

    There will be no Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Ilyasova or (injured) D.J. Wilson playing tonight!!!

    Clearly coach Bud is taking advantage of the Bucks tremendous roster depth, in order to evaluate the ranking of the rest of the players within the Bucks roster.

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    Forgot to say in my previous post that George Hill & Kyle Korver weren't used either... Even the Lopez twins were both benched during the 2nd half!

    Clearly coach Bud has selected the starting roster and major rotation players on Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Hill, Ilyasova, Robin Lopez and was trying to evaluate the rest of the roster (but injured Wilson) on how to supplement the guards and the wings depth.

    Interesting that the Bucks "trio of youth" for last season on Divincenzo, Brown and Connaughton, all showed significant improvement on their game, but were all given ball-handling minutes other than their (usual for previous season) off ball role.

    In a word, the Bucks looked absolutely scary by comfortably winning the game with a 10pts points differential 122-112 despite mostly playing their deep bench, their 2-way contracts and their exhibit-10 contracts.

    Most impressive, that after Dragan Bender was fouled out with 5mins remaining on the clock and with the difference having being dropped to only 4pts, the Bucks finished the game by playing their two 2-way contracts (Mason and Reynolds), two out of their exhibit-10 contracts (Tucker and Maye) and Thanasis Antetokounmpo!
    Yet, that line-up increased the difference to 12 pts before the game ended with a 10-point win for the Bucks.

    Overall, the Bucks made it clear that they will be the favorites to win the championship this season and have the depth and talented youth to continuously contented for many seasons that will follow!

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    Bucks vs. Jazz is the preseason game tonight, an extremely interesting match up among two teams, both of which could well end up be meeting again in this season's finals!

    It will be interesting to see coach Bud's final decision on the 5th starter next to Bledsoe, Middleton, Giannis and Brook Lopez. My opinion is that it will be Sterling Brown starting, George Hill would be my 2nd choice, but I believe coach Bud will want to ensure roster depth continuity and therefore will prefer to start Brown over the more experienced and "safe" option of starting Hill.

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    It looks like Gobert won't play... That's unfortunate news.

    It also seems that Sterling Brown is listed as "last minutes coach decision" due to a left quadricipite muscle bruise he suffered during the game against the Bulls... Therefore Brown may be ruled out and this would mean that whoever coach Bud chooses to be the 5th starter, it won't mean that this would be his final decision for the roster's starting line up.

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    I guess playing against the Bucks without Gobert, can only result to Giannis having a party in the rim which can only cause him being benched for good with the difference approaching +40pts and before he can have the few assists missing in order to have his first triple double of the season... but... If having one Antetokounmpo on the floor is surely scary, what can the result be if the Bucks have two?

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    The Bucks visit the Mavericks in Dallas in a few hours, if I may predict coach Bud's mind for the rotation, I would say that:

    1. Giannis will see only a few minutes (if any at all) on the floor.

    2. Coach Bud will continuously try to rotate the wings in order to take his final decision on who the 5th starter next to Bledsoe, Middleton, Giannis and B.Lopez will be for when the official season starts - I believe he has settled to either Brown or Hill, but he will rotate all in order to rank them for the rotation series and the roles he will address to each wing.

    3. Thanasis Antetokounmpo will have the role to guard Doncic, which will answer the questions of many on "why the Bucks have signed Thanasis"... I believe Thanasis will have the role to guard the opponent's (any opponent's) most "dangerous" player (Kwahi, Lebron, etc...) during the regular period or the playoffs.

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    It seems that I was all wrong in my prediction for the role of Thanasis, or the minutes Giannis will get for this game.

    The Mavericks have put all their firepower (including Porzingis) on the floor in an attempt to beat the Bucks which other than having Bledsoe injured, additionally decided to rest another starter on Brook Lopez and also had D.J. Wilson injured and Wes Matthews rested... Still, no problem for Giannis to score 27pts only in the first half and be withdrawn in the middle of the 3rd quarter with 34pts and 11 rebounds on the board (including three 3pts made in four attempts).

    Other than that, the Mavs continued to play Doncic and Porzingis even after Giannis was withdrawn from the game and used their 2nd squad only in the 4th quarter.

    With the difference to 18pts and 8mins remaining, the Bucks brought in the court their 3rd unit of 2-way and exhibit-10 contracts, which caused 7" taller than anybody else on the court Marianovic to have a party in the rim and the Mavs to have a 14-0 run to bring the game down to 4pts with 2 mins remaining and the crowed screaming demanding a win. The Bucks called a timeout, brought Bender on the floor next to only Thanasis from the regular roster and the rest still 2-way and exhibit-10 contracts to win the game by 7pts.

    To resume, another impressive performance from the Bucks, who other than power, they showed character and disipline, even if playing without two starting players away from home, against a pretty good team of the West conference that puts all its got on the floor and demands to win...

    The Bucks shurely look scary this season.

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    Some more conclusions out of the Bucks vs. the Mavericks game, which (I repeat) had nothing to do with the usual "preseason" games in the NBA, but the MAVs rather tried to demand a win against all "laws of fair competing" that should rule sports above all other matters...

    1. Coach Bud has selected Thanasis (obviously because of the phenomenal energy he brings on the floor) to lead the youngsters whenever they are "alone" on the floor as a team. It happened on all previous preseason games all the same...

    2. Middleton starter at 2 (with Connaughton at 3), meaning that coach Bud considers Connaughton as well as a solution on the starting roster and move Middleton back at 2 as to take Brogdon's role in the previous season... (coach Bud played the same during the payoffs last season but with -now gone- Mirotic playing at SF and Khris at SG).

    3. He also "internally rotated" the roster to its "normal" (meaning usual) "Middleton at SF and either Divincenzo or Brown playing SG...

    What coach Bud's final decisions will be, remains to be seen, up to now he has considered on the floor during the previous games all these options:

    A. Starting either Hill, or Matthews, or Brown, or Divincenzo at SG...

    B. Starting Middleton at SG and either Connaughton, or Matthews, or Korver at SF...

    C. Starting Middleton at SG, Giannis at SF and either BroLo or Ilyasova at PF...

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    Another solid performance from the Bucks in the nation's capital against the Wizards.

    This time resting Giannis Antetokounmpo, Robin Lopez, Pat Connaughton as well as having injured D.J Wilson and Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks had Erzan Ilyasova, Dragan Bender, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Donte Divincenzo stepping up to make the difference and win the game.

    Despite all the major absences the Bucks had in the roster, the only time in the game that the Wizards were able to fight back and close up the score, was when twice in the game coach Bud had a short line up with Middleton playing at PF, which simply didn't work against the "size" and "length" of the Wizards.

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    EDIT: Comment removed and posted again to the thread it was meant to be at the first place, as it was posted here by mistake.

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