Milwaukee Bucks Roundtable: Confidence approaching All-Star break

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 14: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 14: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – JANUARY 14: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
MILWAUKEE, WI – JANUARY 14: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /

2. Having passed the midway point, it’s well documented that the Bucks are currently on pace to be just the third team to win 70 games in a regular season campaign. Do you think they can do it? Should they even care?

DL: Going for 70 wins would be an incredible achievement if they can pull it off, but they should be prioritizing keeping themselves healthy and ready for the playoffs over chasing that mark.

We saw Golden State run out of gas in the Finals after having successfully broken the wins record during the 2015-16 season. Yes, untimely injuries and a Draymond kick played a major part in how that series played out, but they also looked as if they had nothing left in the tank by the time they played the decisive Game 7. That cautionary tale cuts against going after that many wins.

That said, the Bucks’ management of their players’ minutes may make 70 wins achievable without really jeopardizing the health of their players in any significant way. It’s just really going to depend on whether their core guys need the rest come March and April. Let’s revisit that question then to see where they’re at.

RD: As Dan said, 70 wins is 70 wins and an incredible achievement, but the priority right now is to remain healthy and keep the players healthy and on the court. Of course, it would be an incredible milestone but this Bucks team plays one game at a time and understands that a 70-win season means nothing if they can’t close it out by bringing a championship back to the city of Milwaukee.

I think it is definitely in the back of their minds that it is a possibility, but I feel like the players know there are more important things than 70 wins. I also feel like Mike Budenholzer is so good at managing his minutes per player that something like a 70-win season is plausible without compromising the health and abilities of his players.

In the end, I think it would be very cool for the Bucks to become just the third team to reach a 70 win season putting themselves in elite company with the 1995-96 Bulls and the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, but this landmark is definitely not something the LEAGUE LEADING Bucks need to chase. Take the season one game at a time and go from there.

JC: Could the Bucks achieve the 70 win milestone? Yes. Should they? Probably not.

I am not saying the Bucks should get lazy and complacent late in the regular season, but the main focus is the postseason. The Bucks need to keep developing healthy habits and maintain a laser focus, but I do not want them to burn themselves out. We have heard from many ex and current NBA players about how long the season feels for them, and how the NBA season is a long grind. I trust our staff to make the right decisions.

The biggest goals going into the second half of the season is fine tuning the team into the best possible version it can be, rest, and maintaining the number one overall seed. This could get very tricky if the Bucks have to battle the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers for that because I do think the Bucks would very much value homecourt advantage during the Finals as well.

BO: I do believe they could achieve the 70-win milestone, but I don’t think they’re going to. I think there’s going to be too many rest games for key players down the stretch for them to hit that 70-win mark, but that’s a good thing! This Bucks team has their priorities in order, and they don’t include going all out to win 70 games. This team wants to win the championship, and they’re going to do everything they can to put themselves in the best position to do that.

Yeah it would be great to say they were one of only three teams in history to reach that mark, but it won’t mean anything if they don’t win the title. Like Khris has said in many of his post game pressers, it’s all about the playoffs, not the regular season.

JT: As everyone has already mentioned, I think the rest factor will ultimately prevent the Bucks from potentially being the third NBA team in history to accumulate 70 wins. Of course, it would certainly be a nice feat to see the Bucks get to that historic round number, but the level of stakes that surround their run this year will lead to them keeping their eyes on the ultimate prize.

AM: I’m surprised at just how definitive and unanimous the response to this has been up until now, but I’m about to change that! The Bucks should not be chasing 70 wins from this far out, but if they keep winning at this rate and it’s up for grabs with 15 games or so to go, it is not something that should be disregarded in arguing for one or two extra games off like the Bucks got late last year.

The idea that 70 wins wouldn’t mean anything without a title is just flat-out wrong to me. The championship or bust mindset in a league where 75 percent of the games are ultimately deemed not to be important is exactly why there are so many discussions surrounding the general apathy to the regular season.

Only two teams have done this, and they’re not just any teams. We’re talking about two of the absolute greatest teams ever to take to the court in the NBA. The chance for the Bucks to join them would be a COLOSSAL deal, and would speak volumes to who they are now, and what they could be in the years ahead too. That is legacy. That is something that each of these players could hang on to for the remainder of their career.

Of course, a championship is the ultimate case of that kind of legacy but, as we’ve already experienced, all it takes is one bump in the road, one week of struggling, and that dream is gone. This Bucks team is historically great, and yet the nature of the playoffs means it’s always possible that something can go wrong.

Everyone is focused on making the Finals and winning a championship, largely because of the franchise altering decision facing Giannis this summer. But let’s imagine worst case scenarios where the Bucks meet a team like the Sixers in the second round or Conference Finals and lose a heartbreaker in six or seven games. If something like that was to come to pass, having a season that proves the team is capable of sustaining winning at a level only achieved by the historic Bulls or Warriors would not be insignificant in trying to convince Giannis that any playoff letdowns could still be overcome.

This hinges on the Bucks getting close enough to 70 for this to be a real discussion, and it comes with the understanding that minutes will remain at the level they have up until this point. As things stand, the Bucks could probably go for 70 wins, and still enter the playoffs with all of their core players having fewer minutes on the clock than almost all of their rivals.

It may be me against the world, or at least Bucks Twitter, but consider this my flag being planted in advance on 70-wins island.