After a historic meltdown against the Miami Heat, becoming the first play-in team to win a playoff series, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves at a crossroads for the foreseeable future.
With a superstar in the middle of their prime, a vacant head coaching job, and potentially losing the second-best player on the roster, the Bucks have an offseason ahead of them that can affect not only their future as a franchise but also the relationship with the face of their organization Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Supporting cast decisions
Despite the injury-plagued season, Khris Middleton still established himself as a leader on this Bucks team. Though he took a backseat to Jrue Holiday, Middleton still fit within the system and was capable of big games just the same. However, with those same previously mentioned injuries, and a track record of being inconsistent, the Bucks may not be willing to pay Middleton what he thinks he’s worth.
Through the 33 games that Middleton played this season, he averaged 15 points a game, along with 4.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Scoring-wise, this was Middleton’s worst year since the 2016-17 season. With looming injuries and Middleton also being 31 now, Milwaukee might be hesitant to commit to him long-term and be in danger of losing their consensus number two next to Antetokounmpo.
Brook Lopez was just announced to the All-Defensive first team. A big that completely revolutionized his game to become a defensive stall worth and viable threat from deep shooting 37.4% from 3-point range, Lopez is also hitting the free agent pool.
At 34 years old, Lopez is on the back end of his career; however, he will still bring tremendous value to a contending team if Milwaukee feels the core has run its course. Due to his All-Defensive nod, Lopez could be expecting a payday which puts the Bucks in a precarious position this offseason about Splash Mountain.
Two years off of an NBA championship, the Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer after the meltdown the Bucks had against the Heat. Budenholzer had a shaky reputation amongst fans for a while with his lack of in-game adjustments and spurts where the situation just didn’t click or register. Now, the Bucks are without a head coach for the time being, and with championship coaches like Nick Nurse and Frank Vogel on the market, Milwaukee can look in a different direction to steer the ship in the right direction.
The next coach has an opportunity to coach an all-time great in Antetokounmpo. The rest of the roster remains to be seen with the Bucks having an extended offseason due to the early exit. Surely the Milwaukee organization will do their due diligence and bring in a coach that has the ability to make adjustments to maximize Giannis and the team around him no matter who is there.
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