With the start of the NBA season only days away, the Milwaukee Bucks appear ready to make some noise in the Eastern Conference. They made some big moves in the offseason, and have the potential to be a solid team.
Lets take a look at the team as a whole, and what we have to look forward to with the upcoming season for the Milwaukee Bucks.
There is a cloud of skepticism surrounding the Bucks new shooting guard.
At 33, he is an aging player. He hasn't yet played a meaningful game for the Bucks, and he has already began complaining about his contract.
These are all valid concerns, but at the end of the day, the guy can play basketball. When he was on the floor during the last exhibition game, the Bucks looked like a different team. He is going to score and play defense.
Add in the veteran leadership and guidance he will bring to the team, and it becomes more clear why he will likely be the team MVP.
With the negative baggage he may bring, he also brings a swagger and a confidence the Bucks have been sorely lacking for years. If he averages around 18 points a game and continue to play good defense, he will be the cog that turns the Bucks into a legitimate threat come playoff time.
Andrew Bogut is a huge part of this team, and widely popular in Milwaukee. But the truth simply is that he is an injury-prone player who will inevitably miss some games this year.
This could be due to his bad elbow, migraines, or whatever other ailment the big Aussie is dealing with on a given day. Even your most casual fans can make this connection.
You would have thought that the Bucks would understand this situation and add some depth behind Bogut. To nearly everyone's surprise, no one has been added to the roster to back up Bogut.
It seems as though the Bucks are content with a combination of Larry Sanders, Jonathan Brockman and Drew Gooden to back up Bogut.
Sanders is too thin, Brockman is too short and Gooden doesn't want to play the center position.
None of these options are exactly exciting. It seems as though the Bucks have hung their hat on the fact that Joel Przybilla is going to join the team at some point. He has his own injury issues, and the fact that he is not here already is anything but encouraging.
If and when Bogut goes down, the Bucks will find themselves in a huge hole that no one on their roster can really dig them out of.
Jennings is entering year three in the NBA. In a lot of cases, this can be a make or break year for a young NBA player.
So far in his NBA career he has been serviceable, but he has yet to take that next step into super stardom.
Be it his inconsistency with hitting the jumper or his propensity to disappear in games for long stretches, there are several areas Jennings is hoping to improve this season.
He is the face of Under Armour shoes, and he is arguably the most recognizable Buck. The time to take it to the next level of his game is now, and Brandon Jennings likely realizes that.
Anyone who has watched the two Bucks preseason games has to be impressed with the play of Mike Dunleavy.
His ability to consistently knock down jump shots is a huge plus for the Bucks. He moves well without the ball and has shown the that he can pass.
He also has the ability to handle the ball. The Bucks could potentially move him to a point forward position to allow Brandon Jennings to move off of the ball.
He is a versatile player who will offer the team a completely different option than the Bucks have had in recent years.
Who on the Bucks team last season could come off the bench and night after night give you scoring?
There really wasn't anyone who could give the team a lift off of the bench on a consistent basis. Lost in the big name of Stephen Jackson, many people overlooked the addition of point guard Beno Udrih. Bucks fans will soon learn the Beno is a better version of Luke Ridnour of two years ago.
The guy can flat out shoot the ball and will see time at both the point guard and shooting guard position.
He is happy to be on the team, which should do wonders in building chemistry on the team. He knows what his role is, and he should be able to flourish in the position.
Mbah a Moute is widely considered one of the best defenders in the NBA. He can guard every position and is extremely valuable to a team that places a huge emphasis on the defensive end of the ball.
However, in the last few seasons, his offensive deficiencies have made him a liability on the court when the Bucks need to put up points.
In the two preseason games we have seen so far, the Prince has shown the ability to knock down a jumper and take the ball to the hoop. If he can keep this up and average 10 or more points per game, he could be exactly what it will take to help push this Bucks team to the next level.
With a decent mid-range jumper, teams will have to think twice before doubling Bogut in the post. With almost every other player on the team, you pretty much know what you are going to get. But if Luc can take that next step and become an offensive threat coupled with his defensive prowess, the Bucks become a team no one is looking forward to facing.
Tobias Harris, who was the Bucks first-round pick, still may have more potential, but based on the position and who can contribute right away, I think we will see Jon Leuer get some decent time this season.
He was solid in the preseason. No one will be overwhelmed by his skill set, but he can shoot, pass, rebound and play defense.
He is still very green, but he has all the elements to be a very serviceable player in the NBA.
The Bucks should benefit from a shortened season.
If the Bucks can get off to a good early start, they can put themselves in a solid playoff position in the weak eastern conference.
On paper, the team is the most talented and deep it has been in a while. The team appears to be pretty much healthy heading into the season. As long as none of the starters go down for a long length of time, the Bucks are going to give teams a difficult time with their ability to play tough defense and knock down jump shots.
Remember that a much less talented Bucks team won 46 games two seasons ago. You now have a more experience combination of Bogut and Jennings. You now have veteran leadership. You now have scoring off the bench.
All the pieces are there for the Bucks team to be successful. They should win at least 35 games, and be the fifth seed in the playoffs.
Regardless of what happens to the Bucks this season, it is just great to see games being played again.
John Hammond has put together a solid team. On paper, the talent is there.
The two question marks surrounding the team are health and chemistry. If they can stay healthy and become a cohesive unit, the Bucks may even be able to win a series come playoff time.
Thanks for the read, and leave a comment about your predictions for the Milwaukee Bucks upcoming season!