The Milwaukee Bucks came out of nowhere and shocked the world by trading for Damian Lillard prior to media day for the 2023-24 season. Now according to Fan Duel Sportsbook, they are tied for the best odds with the Boston Celtics at +380 to win the NBA Championship.
Giannis was on the verge of leaving, which pressured the Bucks to make moves. Not only did they get an All-Star point guard, but they picked up a valuable backup immediately after. Let’s not act like this was a move that the Bucks needed to make either, they already had a championship-caliber team. But yet, they came in with the RKO out of nowhere.
A season ago, the Milwaukee Bucks fell short of reaching the NBA Finals. In fact, they lost to the eight-seed Miami Heat in the first round.
Its been a long and sometimes overdreading summer thinking about Damian Lillard leaving Portland. Though, the fit that he will have in Milwaukee just makes sense. The Blazers did Lillard a favor, they gave him an opportunity to win a championship with a loaded roster. He has a great pick and roll partner with Giannis Antetokounmpo, pick and pop option with Brook Lopez, and a three-point shooter on the wing in Khris Middleton.
The 29-year-old shooting guard has broken out in his four years with Phoenix, hes been a valuable PG/SG for the past six years. The past two he has averaged 10 points and at least 4.5 rebounds primarily coming off the bench.
Andre Jackson Jr.
The No. 36 overall pick has a lot of learning to grow before he becomes a valuable player, but he could be valuable by the time Lillard has moved on. Learining behind the seven-time All-Star is not bad though.
The trade couldn’t have happened at a more imperfect time for Holiday. He had just mentioned that he wanted to spend the rest of his career in Milwaukee, but now hes on the Boston Celtics. Holiday was instrumental in the Milwaukee Bucks 2020-21 Championship. His defense meant so much to the team that they’ll be hurting after losing that.
Another piece that the Bucks will certainly miss, his depth was crucial. A 40% 3-point shooter is hard to come by on a bench unit. On the defensive end, Allen was a pest who fit into the Bucks defensive scheme. In order to gain something valuable, you have to give something valuable though.
Starting Lineup: Lillard, Pat Connaughton, Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Lopez
As mentioned above, the Bucks are going to have so many weapons here. So many combinations that they can run with… a pick-and-roll, a pick-and-pop and if those fail they’ll stikll have two shooters on the wings. The Bucks have set themselves up for success with this group.
This will be a very solid bench unit for Rookie head coach Adrian Griffin as well. He’s been under the coaching tree of Tom Thibodeau, Dwane Casey and Nick Nurse. So he should be able to handle a bench like this.
I would expect Griffin to keep the Milwaukee Bucks defense afloat without Holiday and Allen in 2023-24. He’s learned from three defensive-minded head coaches and has one of the top defensive front courts in the league. Offensively, this team is going to be an unstoppable unit. It may take them some time to gel but once they do there will be no stopping the Bucks. I would expect them to go 58-24 with the best record in the East.
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