How Will the Milwaukee Bucks Do in the 2014-2015 NBA Season?
Cautious Optimism for the Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks 2014-2015 season is being approached by most Bucks fans and me with cautious optimism. Following a horrendous 2013-2014 season in which everything bad happened, Milwaukee finished last in the NBA with a 15-67 record. There is only one way for the Bucks to go this season which I will examine in this article.
The Nightmarish 2013-2014 Season
The 2013-2014 season was a nightmare for the Milwaukee Bucks and its fans beginning with the pre-season and continuing throughout the rest of the year. A few starters including point guard Brandon Knight were injured during the pre-season, resulting in rookie Nate Wolters opening the season as the point guard. Center Larry Sanders was injured throughout most of the year, and shooting guard O.J. Mayo never played much due to illness and not being in condition. Finally, there was discontent in coach Larry Drew's locker room leading to the trade of guard Gary Neal and the release of Caron Butler during mid-season. Milwaukee never played well together, there was no team chemistry, and the Bucks were not competitive at all during the season.
Bucks Moves during 2014-2015 Pre-season
The Milwaukee Bucks' moves during the pre-season began a few weeks before the end of the 2013-2014 season. At that time, Bucks owner Senator Kohl sold the team to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, New York investment bankers. This action was very significant for Milwaukee for two reasons: one, the owners decided to fund and find investors for a new playing arena for the Bucks; and two, Edens and Lasry hired head coach Jason Kidd away from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for two second-round draft picks.
The next Milwaukee move was to draft forward Jabari Parker out of Duke University as the second player taken in the 2014 NBA draft.
Finally, the Bucks signed forward-guard Jared Dudley and guards Jerryd Bayless and Kendall Marshall to provide veteran leadership for a very young Milwaukee team.
Milwaukee Bucks Season Through November 13
Through November 13 and its first eight games, Milwaukee sits with a 4-4 record. Although the Bucks schedule hasn't been that difficult, Milwaukee has played all of its opponents tough and even knocked off a previously undefeated Memphis Grizzlies team. The Bucks have played fairly well during their early games for the following reasons:
1. Better Team Defense
Coach Kidd has been preaching team defense to his players, and Milwaukee has been using it to win games. In its last two games, the Bucks held Memphis and Oklahoma City to shooting percentages of 35 percent and 33 percent respectively. Through eight games, Milwaukee is also giving up only 92.6 points per game.
2. The Bench is Contributing Greatly
The Bucks appear to have 11-12 players with energy and ability who are willing to trust each other. In games where the starting five get off to bad starts, the second team led by O.J. Mayo and Giannis Antetokounmpo come in and give Milwaukee a lift and turn a game around in the Bucks' favor.
3. Larry Sanders and O.J. Mayo Are Playing Better
During the previous season, center Larry Sanders and guard O.J. Mayo contributed very little to the Bucks team due to injuries and various personal reasons. This season, Sanders is playing good defense and blocking shots as he did two years ago, and Mayo has given Milwaukee scoring off of the bench.
4. Free from Injuries
Finally, none of the Bucks have suffered injuries so far which have kept them from playing every night.
How Will the Bucks Do This 2014-2015 Season?
With guarded optimism, I feel the Milwaukee Bucks will do a lot better than last season and surprise many people. Barring injuries and discord among the players, I expect the following to happen in the Bucks 2014-2015 season:
1. Further Development of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker
Giannis and Parker are two young future stars of the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis or "The Greek Freak" is in his second year and proving to be a valuable player off of coach Kidd's bench. Giannis can play a lot of positions, can rebound and defend, and is presently averaging more than 10 points and 8 rebounds per game. Parker is not doing as well as Giannis, but he is learning in his first year as both a small and power forward and will give the Bucks increased scoring on the front line.
2. Bucks Defense Will Be Better than Last Year.
As a player, Jason Kidd was a top-notch defender, and he will demand that all of his players play good defense or not play in a game.
3. Milwaukee Will Win 30-40 Games.
If Milwaukee surprises a lot of teams with its hustle and good defense, the Bucks could win between 30 and 40 games this year. The Milwaukee Bucks, however, will probably miss making the playoffs due to their inexperience and inability to win big games, especially on the road.
I think the Milwaukee Bucks will be very interesting to watch and follow this season. As long as the Bucks continue to play good defense with a lot of energy and trust each other on both offense and defense, the stench of last year will be wiped away and Milwaukee will be on its way to becoming one of the better teams in the NBA. It is now June 3, 2015, and the Bucks finished the regular season with a 41-41. This was good enough to make the playoffs and earn the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the playoffs, the Bucks played the Chicago Bulls and lost the series 4-2.
Milwaukee Bucks Projected 2014-2015 Record
How many games will the Milwaukee Bucks win in the 2014-2015 regular season?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Paul Richard Kuehn