Playoffs Are No Guarantee For Young Milwaukee Bucks


The morning showers give way to a cool autumnal breeze while students and pedestrians add layers of clothing bracing for winter’s breath. Fall has descended on Madison, WI and for the first time ever it has brought the Milwaukee Bucks to town with it.

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Optimism abounds.

Less than a day removed from a media day that featured all sorts of hype and merriment, Milwaukee Buck’s players advise caution to fans expecting rampant success out of the gates.

When asked about the outlook for the season, Jerryd Bayless mentioned it could take a while for the team to gel.

"“I know the East got better. Indiana is better; Miami is better. All the teams got better. We have to play well. It’s not something where we just roll the ball out there and we go out and win. We have to be prepared and we have to be ready to play every night.”"

He was quick to add that the team will need to tackle the start of the season as if every game were a playoff game.

"“If we don’t, it could be ugly. We have to go out there and take it serious and be ready to go.”"

As much as I hate to say it–Bayless is completely right. This Bucks team, for all the improvements they made in the offseason, is no lock to even make the playoffs, much less finish with 50 wins and a top-4 seed in the Eastern Conference as many fans expect.

In fact, as much as the Bucks were a chic pick to make the playoffs last season, they are an equally vogue candidate to miss the playoffs this season.

BTBP affiliate, Hoops Habit, shares that sentiment.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks website opened up a single game ticket presale Monday afternoon at noon. By 1:30 no more than 200 tickets were available. Compare that with last season where it took a Jabari Parker hype train to pack the Bradley Center.

This season feels different than any other season in the last decade and fans are appropriately responding to all the positive momentum the Bucks have moving forward.

But around the NBA they still have much to prove.

Odd-makers in Vegas certainly don’t buy in to the hype.

The Bucks odds to win the NBA Finals are a paltry 60/1, tied with Indiana and slightly behind Washington. If the odds translate into standings the Bucks will finish with the seven seed in the East ahead of Toronto and perilously close to Boston for being the ninth odd-man-out.

That’s roughly one major injury from the season being a complete step-back.

That’s roughly one major injury from the season being a complete step-back.

On a more local scale, i.e. the Central Division, the Bucks are hardly favorites. According to this odds website the Bucks have the third highest (or lowest) odds of winning the Central Division–well behind Chicago’s 7/2 odds and Cleveland’s 1/5 odds.

Granted none of these odds–NONE–take in to account an inevitable Derrick Rose injury, or another complete depletion of the Cavaliers.

It just shows that as far as the rest of the NBA is concerned, the Bucks are still in the middle of the pack.

A look at the Eastern Conference shows a Bucks team with much to prove.

Cleveland, Chicago, and Atlanta are locks to make the playoffs.

The next tier (the one the Bucks occupy) includes a Miami team that gets Chris Bosh back, an Indiana team with a 100% Paul George, a Washington team that could get 50 wins, and a Toronto team that could either eclipse 50 wins or drop below 40. The Bucks are another face in that crowded field.

You do the math. That’s eight teams. And that’s without counting the rising Boston Celtics.

But the team has stood firm that they are still more concerned with the future than the present.

On the topic of seriously competing, Wes Edens had this to say:

"“It doesn’t happen overnight. The team is still very young. It will be really interesting to see how they start the year, with a bunch of new guys on the team. We think the team is better because it’s a year older and it’s better because of the people we brought in.”"

Sounds to me like no one is taking anything for granted.

That playoff run last year? There’s no guarantee to replicate (or improve) on that.

Greg Monroe? No slam dunk he meshes with the team (although all signs point to an astounding fit).

Jabari Parker? Who really knows when he will be ready for 100% competition.

What does all this tell us?

That despite all the hype, all the excitement, and all the anticipation, that nothing–not even making the playoffs–is guaranteed this season.

Next: Win In 6 Podcast #21: All Eyes On Coach Jason Kidd

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