BTBP Roundtable: How Can The Bucks Beat The Raptors?

Apr 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks fans hold up a sign during the game against the Chicago Bulls in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Chicago won 120-66. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks fans hold up a sign during the game against the Chicago Bulls in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Chicago won 120-66. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

How would you grade the Bucks regular season?

Travis Schlepp (@travischlepp): I would grade the 2016-2017 season as a ‘B’. Giannis took that next step to super stardom. Thon looks like he has a future in the league and Malcolm Brogdon is the steal of the draft. Khris Middleton returned to form after suffering a major injury. Jabari Parker began to tap into that limitless potential. The team made the playoffs. The Bucks aren’t going to the win the NBA Championship this year (sorry) but getting this young team exposure on the biggest stage is really all you can ask. The only things keeping the season from an ‘A’ or higher is some underwhelming performances by the big free agent acquisitions (Delly and Telly) and Jabari suffering another major career setback. Even with questions regarding Jabari’s future looming overhead, I feel better about the upcoming summer than I did last year.

Lukas Harkins (@hardwiredsports): On the whole, I would give the Bucks season an A-. Starting in the offseason, I think that drafting both Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker was a success. As for free agency, things could have worked out better, but at least the Miles Plumlee contract was traded away. The contract extension for Giannis was definitely a resounding success due to his tremendous improvement to superstar status. Losing Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker for extended periods of time was a blow, but even through that, the team had a winning season and made the playoffs. To me, this was a successful season and therefore warranted at the very least a B. Yet, due to the excitement that Giannis brought every night and the improvement of the team on the whole, I would give them an A-.

Jordan Treske (@JordanTreske): As a fan of this letter and addition, I would have to grade this season as a B+. It’s no question the Bucks outperformed their preseason expectations and for all the adversity they faced, whether it was major injuries or terrible month long stretches, to finish the season 42-40 and with a playoff berth is an incredible achievement with everything considered.

While a lot of that speaks to the impressive growth of Giannis Antetokounmpo and the limitless potential he still possesses, a lot of it speaks to the numerous role players that performed above expectations, whether it was a player making an improbable impact on both ends of the floor in the case of Greg Monroe or players who became so much more than what we thought upon their arrival like in the case of Tony Snell and Michael Beasley (I, for one, was all in from the beginning with Beasley. Just don’t check the tapes).

Of course, most of those individual turnarounds create a whole new set of questions this summer, but that wouldn’t have happened in the first place if things went differently this year.

Jay Spanbauer (@jayspanbauer): It’s hard not to look at this season as a success. Giannis has become a legitimate superstar, and the rest of the league is starting to notice. The preseason injury to Middleton was a big setback, but with Middleton back to form, and playing well, it’s hard to even remember how serious his injury was. Jabari Parker going down as Middleton returned was a huge blow, and will no doubt set the franchise’s short-term plan back just a bit, but his recovery history is no doubt promising.

In addition, a good amount of veteran savvy and a rookie in Malcolm Brogdon with a lot of veteran savvy built-in have helped the Bucks weather the injury storm. Additionally, the addition of Tony Snell and subtraction of Michael Carter-Williams has gone even better than expected – 40%+ from three-point land? Keep shooting, Snelly.

Overall, this season has been a fun bonus year. With the Bucks ultimately building towards a title run in a couple of years (when LeBron, in theory, no longer has the East in the palm of his hand), the future still looks bright.

Adam Coffman (@A_Coffee4): Looking back on my own preseason predictions, which had the Bucks around the 33 wins they posted the year before, it’s tough to grade this season out any lower than at least a B. The only major blemish on the year was the Jabari injury, which I’m sure will continue to have long-term effects on how the next couple summers play out. Although the Bucks front office left a little to be desired with their free agent signings, ultimately I think those aren’t too adverse over the long run. The draft and in-season trades was where john Hammond starred, finding two important contributors in Thon and Brogdon, fixing his own Miles Plumlee mistake, and stealing Tony Snell and Michael Beasley for next to nothing. On the whole, I’ll award the Bucks an A- on the year.

Leander Wallace (@LeanderWallace): This season has to be a B at minimum in my opinion. If you asked any of us at the beginning of the year if we take a sixth seed, we would have jumped on the opportunity. You then factor in the injuries to Khris and Jabari, and you realize that locking down a sixth seed and having a legitimate shot to get the five was quite the accomplishment. I think selfishly we all wonder how this season plays out if we have a healthy Middleton and Parker all year, but after you get those thoughts out of your head you begin to see the positives. Giannis is a bonafide superstar. He is everything you want your “guy” to be. He is freaky athletic, fun, engaging, entertaining, and classy. Those are just things that bring attention to the franchise. Then you add in the fact that he has a legitimate shot to be a top three player in this league within a year or two, and you have to be excited. Giannis’ improvements and making the playoffs get this season a B+.

Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11): I’ll go with a strong B, but one that circumstance has made feel like an A. I was more optimistic than most in predicting 40 wins prior to the season, but I couldn’t have foreseen a run as bad as the Bucks had in the middle of the year, nor another serious injury to Jabari Parker.

As it is, we’ll always be able to look back on this as a fun season. The rut around the middle was far from enjoyable in the moment, but if you’re going to have a down point in a season, you just want to make sure that you bounce back to finish the season on high. The late season charge assured that, now all we need is a competitive series, or even better, an upset and a run that couldn’t have been more unlikely two months ago.

Joe Osterndorf (@JoeOsterndorf): I’d grade this season a B. Giannis improved even more than we hoped he would, and the Bucks surprised many by getting to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Jabari’s injury slightly darkens the otherwise bright future, as we don’t know what we can expect from him going forward. In addition, this team, while able to hang with and beat even the best, looked straight up lost and directionless on multiple occasions. Also, none of the major free agent signings have made a really positive impact on this team. Our rookies look very promising, though. An up and down season, but the grade is this high thanks to Giannis becoming even better than I expected.