During the 2016-17 NBA season, headlines will be dominated by Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors on a daily basis. However, having a super-team doesn’t guarantee a championship; just look at the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers. Everything can change and anything can happen in the NBA. A team can implode, the injury bug could strike, or a team simply might not play to its potential. In this Last Word On Pro Basketball series, we’ll break down which two key factors will determine the fate of each team in the upcoming season.
In this edition, we’ll take a look at the Milwaukee Bucks.
Two Key Factors to a Successful Milwaukee Bucks Season
First Key: Improved Outside Shooting
Last season was dismal in terms of three-point shooting as the Milwaukee Bucks ranked dead last in the NBA. The injury to Khris Middleton did not help as he was their best outside threat – shooting 39% from three point range. They also lost their 2nd best shooter Jerryd Bayless in free agency.
Milwaukee was able to add shooters this off-season by bringing in Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova in free agency as well as Michael Beasley. In order to become a potent offensive unit, they will need more improvement from key players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Michael Carter-Williams. Neither of these players have shot above 30% from three so far in their young careers.
Second Key: Continued Development
The Bucks unexpectedly made the playoffs in 2014, but took a step back last season finishing 12th in the conference at 33-49. This did not necessarily mean that things didn’t go to plan, they just made a jump earlier than expected. This year is has to be a continuation of their plan of continuing the growth of their young players.
Antetokounmpo will be entering his 4th NBA season and recently signed a 4 year extension worth $100 million. He’s grown into an amazing young player, but he has to improve his three point shooting. He shot only 25% on threes last season and is a career 28% three point shooter. If he can get that percentage around 35%, he’ll become that much more lethal on the offensive end.
Khris Middleton’s injury means players such as Rashad Vaughn will have to step up in his absence. Vaughn didn’t make much of an impact his rookie year only averaging 3.1 points in 14 minutes per game. Now he’s expected to take a big jump in playing time and he has to provide them with his shooting in order to stay on the court.