Knocked out in the Conference Semifinals by Miami, knocked out by Toronto in the Conference Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks have entered every season for the past 3 years as title contenders. This is thanks to 2 time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the talent on this roster. It is most definitely a title contending roster, but is it a title winning roster? After trades for Jrue Holiday and P.J Tucker, the Bucks were third in the East set to play the Miami Heat. This was going to be a show, the uber talented Bucks versus the 2020 Eastern Conference champions Heat. Yet this series is the first one over, done 4-0, a complete sweep.
The New Additions
Milwaukee needed to make something happen. Giannis was going to be a free agent next year and if he didn’t sign the extension with the Bucks, other teams would start smelling blood. The Bucks made a move in the offseason, trading for Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday(Antetokounmpo would eventually sign a max extension as well). This gives the Bucks a really good two-way guard who can handle the ball and take the scoring pressure off of Antetokounmpo and Middleton. This makes Milwaukee so much more dangerous because now they can score consistently from the one spot. When you have three talented shot creators, it changes the aspect because most teams do not have three elite defenders. While most people don’t have three elite defenders, the Bucks do and that makes them so much more dangerous on both sides of the floor. In Miami Middleton and Antetokounmpo got slowed down by Butler and Adebayo, but now that Holiday is in the mix the Heat had no answers. Holiday was the major pickup for the Bucks, but they also picked up P.J Tucker from the fire sale of the Houston Rockets. Tucker is a good corner three shooter who plays really physical defense and can take the assignment of guarding KD or Lebron in future rounds. These couple of moves have made the Bucks so much better on both sides of the floor, and that is clearly evident in the 4-0 sweep of the Heat.
The Milwaukee Bucks have stars. Antetokounmpo and Middleton are one of the best one-two punches in the game. That is because they do so many different things for the team. Antetokounmpo is a freight train coming down the lane, and almost always sucks extra defenders in the lane when he is driving. This frees up the plethora of three point shooters the Bucks have on the perimeter. Middleton on the other hand is a 6”7 forward who can score mid-range and threes. Giannis is the batter ram, and Middleton is the guy who beats you with dribble moves and a tough shot. Even though Giannis is a 2x MVP he doesn’t take shots in the clutch because that is not his forte.
Take a look at this tough game winner on the Pacers. Not really a Giannis type of move, and that is what makes these two stars so dangerous. They have differing skill sets that work so well together. This is why Milwaukee has been such a good team, because Antetokounmpo can not carry a team for multiple games. That is why this group is so dangerous and now that Holiday is in the mix, adds just another dynamic to both sides of the ball.
Top Image: Getty Images