Still in the early stages of the current campaign, the Milwaukee Bucks are largely keeping pace with how they started last year’s 60-win season.
Once the madness of the summer free agency period had died down, much of the discussion surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks pivoted to a point of comparison.
Coming off of a 60-win season and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, the question was would the Bucks be better or worse this year given all the changes that occurred during the summer?
In many ways, that conversation was reignited in recent days ahead of what should have been the Bucks’ first meeting of the season with Malcolm Brogdon‘s Pacers. Both Brogdon and his former teammates spent recent days speaking fondly about their time together, with Giannis Antetokounmpo going so far as to imagine what the current team could look like with Brogdon still in place too.
That is certainly a valid thought exercise for anyone to ponder over, particularly as it was entirely within the Bucks’ control and they could have done just that this summer.
The answer to the question of whether this version of the Bucks is better or worse than last year’s will ultimately be answered by where the Bucks find themselves in May and June, but it is worth pointing out that their early season results are at least tracking with last season’s immensely successful regular season through the first month or so.
With a record of 9-3, the Bucks are currently in an identical spot to where they were through 12 games in 2018-19, and in looking ahead to the upcoming schedule they have every reason to believe they could even move ahead of last year’s pace in the weeks ahead.
Although Khris Middleton‘s absence undoubtedly complicates things, the Bucks are facing a relatively friendly upcoming stretch in the schedule.
By the 20-game mark last season, the Bucks had compiled a record of 14-6. To match that this season, Milwaukee would need to only go 5-3 across home games against Portland, Detroit, Utah, Atlanta, and Charlotte, along with road games against Chicago, Atlanta, again, and Cleveland.
With the Jazz standing out as the only one of those opponents not currently struggling below .500, there’s every reason to believe that even a below strength Bucks squad could go 6-2 or even 7-1 during that span.
That doesn’t change the fact that the Bucks’ quality of play, and certainly their cohesion as a team, hasn’t quite matched up to the standards they displayed straight from the start of last season, but it may also point to a newly found element of maturity for the group too.
Milwaukee is winning games without being quite at their best, which is often the mark of a good team. Considering how last season ultimately panned out, the prospect that the Bucks may be able to show their best later in the campaign this year as opposed to in October and November will certainly be welcome.
Additionally it’s worth mentioning that the Bucks have played eight of their first 12 games on the road, and compiled an immensely impressive 6-2 record away from Fiserv Forum.
Certainly as the Bucks embark on their next stretch of games, it’s worth monitoring how their record can continue to hold up compared to last year. Could the Bucks even surpass 60 wins this year? Early on, it by no means seems impossible.