Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have become an extremely young team

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 27: Greg Monroe
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 27: Greg Monroe /

The Young Bucks and Milwaukee Bucks are now one in the same, as Milwaukee’s roster is full of relatively young players.

Considering the Milwaukee Bucks have been focused on how far Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker can take them for the last several years, it seems strange to suddenly now anoint the Bucks as a young team.

Still, despite the franchise’s hopes of doing anything more than floundering being placed squarely atop the shoulders of teenagers, Milwaukee has been home to lots of veterans around those teenagers (who are now in their early 20s).

The Bucks were very young in Giannis’ first year, sporting five rookies, which probably has a lot to do with the grand total of 15 wins that squad produced. Still, three players on the 2013-14 Bucks had a decade of NBA experience.

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Milwaukee got older the next season, adding veterans and only bringing three rookies this time around. Six of those Bucks had more than five years of experience, and two of them had over 10 NBA seasons under their belt.

Then, in 2015-16, the Bucks got rid of a lot of those veterans and went young again. No Buck had a decade of NBA experience, while five Bucks had five or more years in. It didn’t go well, as Milwaukee won just 33 games after posting 41 wins the season before.

The Bucks of last season had five players with more than five years of experience, two members of the decade club, and won 42 games. There seems to be a pattern here in relation to relative age of the teams and their win totals, although Milwaukee should hope that correlation does not equal causation in this particular case.

The 2017-18 Milwaukee Bucks are babies. Or at least they project to be babies, since things could change and Jason Terry or Michael Beasley or both could still be brought back. Barring that, though, these Bucks are super young.

Just two Bucks have more than five years of experience: Greg Monroe and Spencer Hawes. Hawes isn’t going to play–he might not even make it to the start of the year with the Bucks–so in effect, one Buck has more than half a decade of experience.

Three Bucks have five years of NBA experience: Khris Middleton, John Henson, and Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic is not actually that young as he had a professional playing career in Europe–he’s actually the oldest player on the roster.

If one assumes that Henson doesn’t have a real rotation role next season, which is far from guaranteed but certainly possible, Khris Middleton will have more NBA experience than everybody except Moose. That’s just wild.

As the esteemed Kevin Pelton pointed out in his win projections piece over at ESPN, the Bucks are younger than every other playoff team, and every NBA team outside of Phoenix and Los Angeles, two tanking teams (whether they mean to or not).

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So, why does that matter? It matters because, typically, younger teams are bad. The Bucks recent history bares this out — the team with five rookies lost 67 games in a single season. The teams with tons of great veterans — whether they be Jerryd Bayless and Jared Dudley or Jason Terry and Michael Beasley — went to the playoffs.

As the roster stands, the Bucks are short on those guys who have been everywhere and back. Jason Terry has NBA Finals experience — nobody on Milwaukee’s roster right now short of Matthew Dellavedova can say the same.

This relative lack of experience could go two ways for the Bucks next season. The team could falter from time to time without those sorts of grizzled veterans around, and not perform up to expectations because of it.

Or, as was the hope before the 2015-16 season, Milwaukee could see players like Middleton, Giannis, and others take that step to becoming really good presences for their teams in addition to really good players. Monroe already seems to be one of those guys, but he’ll need some help.

Next: Milwaukee Bucks: Setting lofty goals, inviting added pressure

The summer isn’t over quite yet, but as it stands right now 2017-18 will be another year of the Young Bucks, and hopefully one that goes better than the last few times Milwaukee hasn’t featured many veterans.