Milwaukee Bucks: Chance to rest will benefit Bucks more than most rivals

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

In spite of potentially losing some momentum, the Milwaukee Bucks stand to benefit more than most of their rivals from resting in recent months.

Even by the standards of global events in recent months, it’s been a strange time for the NBA, and with challenges still remaining for the league’s plan to restart the season, that hasn’t necessarily changed just yet.

Considering the financial ramifications of not completing the season, and the league’s top tier stars having previously been reported as favoring a resumption of play, it still seems like sooner or later the 2019-20 season will pick back up.

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When that happens, the Milwaukee Bucks will be just one of many teams trying to figure out who they are, and whether over four months on the sidelines may have changed that.

If the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t come along and the season had played out as normal, there would have been little question about who the Bucks were. They hold the league’s best record, won at a near historic pace throughout the season, and should logically be deemed as the leading title contender heading into the postseason.

In our new reality, though, there are certainly valid questions to be asked about whether the Bucks will have lost some of the momentum that generally had them charging forward toward the postseason.

Given where the Milwaukee Bucks found themselves before the season was suspended, and the makeup of their roster, rest may benefit them if the season resumes.

The truth is that although those questions will be asked, there’s no real reason to believe the suspension of play won’t have served the Bucks better than most of their rivals.

When the season came to a halt, the Bucks had lost four of their last five games, including three in a row, marking the first time they’d logged consecutive losses on the season.

Even more significantly, Giannis Antetokounmpo had tweaked his knee in the loss to the Lakers, and there were concerns over the prospect that it would be an issue that would need to be managed and monitored closely down the stretch, much like some of his recurring knee injuries in the past.

Going a step further beyond that, with an average age of 28.7, the Bucks were tied with the Houston Rockets for the NBA’s oldest roster.

My colleague Jordan Treske examined how the rest may particularly benefit the out of form veteran Ersan Ilyasova. But the truth is with over 30s also including Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, George Hill, Marvin Williams, and even Eric Bledsoe and the Lopez twins at the younger end of that scale, the Bucks were an obvious candidate for a team who wouldn’t have minded a chance to rest up ahead of the postseason.

The Lakers may share a similar confidence that the rest will have benefited them, and the truth is that it might have. But unlike the Bucks, it’s also worth noting that the Lakers looked to have clicked in to one of their most impressive grooves of the season to date before the suspension.

In the East, a team such as the Philadelphia 76ers stand out as a beneficiary with Ben Simmons getting to recover from injury, but they have so much more to figure out still that it wouldn’t exactly be enough to leave the teams above them quaking in their boots.

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For the Bucks, there was a chance that they could have been celebrating a title by now under different circumstances, but given the makeup of their roster, a break shouldn’t make it less likely that those celebrations could yet become a reality at a later date.