Milwaukee Bucks fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Giannis Antetokounmpo declared his loyalty to the franchise on Tuesday and signed a five-year supermax contract that is the richest in the history of the NBA.
After two consecutive years of failure in the play-offs, there has been a lot of talk about the future of Giannis. Antetokounmpo has always made it clear that he considers victory more important than anything else. Can we do it in Milwaukee? NBA fans are about to find out.
The Bucks and Greek Freak dominated the regular season in both years. In the play-offs it meant almost nothing.
Yet Milwaukee has worked hard to improve the team and to push the boundaries, so to speak. The Bucks swapped a lot of capital to take over Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans, a deal that seems a bit better now that Antetokounmpo is staying long.
Still, it’s a strangely similar team. The question will be whether Giannis, head coach Mike Budenholzer and the rest of the team will find a way to play a winning basketball as the play-offs approach.
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo build on his legacy and win a championship in Milwaukee?
Current forecast for 2020-21
The celebration was the most important addition to the team’s chances of winning a championship this year, but it will put a lot of pressure on the team.
The Bucs didn’t just specify a wide range of recruitment options to get it. They also traded Eric Bledsoe and George Hill.
Say what you want about Bledsoe’s inability to run the ball, but he can come in the paint and hit his teammates with a drive-and-drive. Hill, meanwhile, led the NBA by three points. His absence is especially noteworthy for a team that had little time for the playoffs.
That doesn’t mean you have to knock on the holiday door. He has always been named as one of the best individual defenders in basketball and can defend different positions. Even in what should have been a year of decline in 2019/20, the holiday averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds. The former UCLA star will be a godsend for Milwaukee, especially if it can be more effective from the perimeter.
The Bucks were also smart enough to engage skilled bankers like DJ Augustin, who despite his inefficiency has the ability to offend, and Bryn Forbes.
Especially the addition of Forbes is underestimated. Forbes shoots 40% of his career from outside the bow and is the top marksman of Milwaukee. Opposing teams must respect it when it’s on the field.
I mean, there’s an advantage to signing Bobby Portis. Portis can stretch the ground, but he also has an amazing ability to counter defenders and prevent them from dribbling. He could be a much more athletic and productive version of Ersan Ilyasov.
Milwaukee has enough talent to win a title this year. The Bucks can finally rejoice in the preservation of Donte DiVincenzo, who should have been involved in the unfortunate attempt to draw and trade with Bogdan Bogdanovic, as he defends himself at a high level and started to establish himself as a game distributor last year.
The question will again be how Milwaukee counteracts the opponent’s ability to place the ground around the perimeter in space. Maybe Budenholzer takes more weight off Antetokounmpo and wants to use Holiday and Khris Middleton as goalkeepers who can get in the way and play for others.
Anyway, the Bucs need an answer to a colored defense that sends several defenders to Giannis. This list can be diverse enough to get the job done.
What will the situation look like in the next five years?
Giannis Antetokounmpo said last week that he did not see this season as a championship or a failure. How can Milwaukee keep improving the team around it?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bucks extended the party. He has a player of his choice for next year, but Milwaukee can hope to strengthen his three big clubs, Giannis, Middleton and Holiday, the sooner the better.
But the Antetokounmpo contract obliges the Bucks to stay within the luxury tax limit for the following year. Milwaukee will have limited purchasing power. The same goes for next year if we take into account the Giannis agreement and assume that Team Holiday will rewrite.
In fact, the Bucs could have rotated the fillers around their trio of stars. The Lasry family has proposed to spend a lot of money on a luxury tax to bring a winner to Milwaukee, but the money would have to be divided over three players.
In other words: Director John Horst and the rest of the front office will be under a lot of pressure to get up and play or maybe find a way to trade other stars.
Giannis and Bud
In fact, Giannis’ hopes for the championship depend on him and Budenholzer.
Bud needs to adjust the exercise to make more dangerous rotations and have more time to make the playoffs.
Giannis, meanwhile, must develop as a perimeter shooter and force opponents to respect his sweater.
The Bucks have two supermax players at Antetokounmpo and Middleton. Of course it is quite difficult to spend a lot of time with them in the hunt for the championship, and it is even more difficult because Milwaukee doesn’t have good pulling keys.
Will Giannis Antetokounmpo win the title in Milwaukee? Much depends on his own progress and the adaptability of his head coach on the field.
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