Not many teams go from second overall pick to a .500 record as the six seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It all started with Jason Kidd who proved again that a young coach works well with young players. Jabari Parker got selected with the #2 overall pick, Giannis Antetokounmpo is developed into a true “Greek Freak,” and Brandon Knight found his three point shot. All season, the Bucks were a surprise. Then the roster shifted with Jabari Parker tearing his ACL and Brandon Knight getting traded and Michael Carter-Williams coming over from Philadelphia. Khris Middleton burst onto the scene averaging 13 points per game which was a team high. Middleton played so well he is expecting a large contract from any of the 30 teams in the NBA. The Bucks lost in the first round of the playoffs 4-2 with the Chicago Bulls but kept their heads up high. Good times await Milwaukee. Lets see who could be in Milwaukee next season.
PF Trey Lyles, Kentucky
Trey Lyles was the most under-appreciated player on the almost perfect Kentucky team last year. He is a big man that had to play the three last season increasing his versatility. He improved his three point shooting but isn’t a true stretch four. He plays a smooth game with a consistent jump hook and mid range jump shot. He isn’t fast and needed help on defense with quicker players. Once he adds more size he has starter potential. The Bucks play fast so he will need to adjust. His high basketball IQ will intrigue Jason Kidd.
PF Kevon Looney, UCLA
Kevon Looney is a Milwaukee native who attended Milwaukee Hamilton high school. Looney is one of the smaller four’s in this draft class but very aggressive on the offensive and defensive glass. He thrives off of offensive rebounding and second chance points. He improved his cutting and ability to get open to add pick-and-roll offense and stretch the floor. With being on of the smaller fours in the draft, Looney will need to add muscle to find the same rebounding success.
PF Montrezl Harrel, Louisville
Montrezl Harrel is a human highlight reel. He can jump out the gym with explosive dunking ablilty. He is active above the rim with a total of 43 put backs last season. The Bucks were in the middle of the pack last season in offensive rebounds so his presence will be felt immediately. His energy will be a spark plug that every team needs to shift the games momentum. Other then put backs, his offensive game isn’t great. His mid-range shot improved each season so he will need to continue to work.
Brook Lopez and Jason Kidd have a great relationship after Kidd coached the Brooklyn Nets last season. He averaged 20.7 points per game while Kidd was his head coach which is the best of his career. He is a gifted offensive center that has had durability issues throughout his career. He has a player option on his current Nets contract owing him $16.7 million of he opts in. He has had issues with the Nets which leads me to believe he is going to leave. A healthy Lopez will put make the Bucks a top 5 team in the Eastern Conference.
Louis Williams just won the 6th man of the year award averaging 15.9 points per game. As of today, the Bucks have one shooting guard on their roster and that is OJ Mayo. Mayo exploded in the playoffs proving he can play both on the bench or he can start. Williams can do the same. Williams would add another dimension of three point shooting with Ersan Ilyasova and Jerod Bayless who can already shoot off of the bench. An extra 15.9 points per game off the bench can help any roster.
Tobias Harris started his career with the Milwaukee Bucks before getting shipped to the Orlando Magic. I’m sure the Bucks wish they kept him. He averaged 17.1 points per game shooting 36% from behind the arc. He can spread the floor to a team that can already shoot threes. He can play both the three and the four just like Jabari Parker. Tobias Harris is a restricted free agent and the Orlando Magic will do whatever they can to keep him on the roster. Harris would add more youth to an already young roster.
The Bucks will continue to add youth to keep a stable roster for years to come. The Bucks players are locked in to what Jason Kidd has to say and he puts them in a position to win. Until these players get more experience, Kidd will act as a team captain which he was over this last season. Most positions are already filled on the roster with two or three years left on their contract. As I said earlier, good times await Milwaukee.