As the Milwaukee Bucks’ season resumed in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, they set out to prove that they are the top team in the league.
Everyone has a team. It’s a mantra. Also, everyone has a team, but not everyone has a good team. So, I consider myself lucky when I say that the Milwaukee Bucks are my team. Furthermore, when I say they are a good team.
The Milwaukee Bucks are great. They are, in fact, the best team in the NBA. Before the suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the Bucks were on a roll with the best record in the league. Last season, they finished with a 60-22 record, and that hadn’t been achieved by the franchise since the 1980-81 season, and only once previously by head coach Mike Budenholzer, with his previous team, the Atlanta Hawks.
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The ending to that long overdue 60-win season wasn’t great, as the Bucks failed to capitalize on their regular season success by winning a championship. Their loss to Toronto in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals had me in a state of melancholy.
But sometimes, and everyone with a team knows this, winning a championship takes time. Winning, let alone winning a championship takes time. So, it’s not just about winning a championship; it’s about building a team and enjoying the journey on the way to winning the coveted championship.
The Bucks started this journey a few seasons ago when they bid goodbye to longtime owner, Herb Kohl, and welcomed in a new ownership group. Then, later, they let go of another thing which was projected to be their ticket to the championship: head coach and Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd. And the Bucks did another thing: they built a new arena. They’ve yet to finish what they started, and who knows if they ever will, but it’s safe to say that they are doing a lot of notable things along the way in this storied chapter of their larger history.
During the summer before the 2019-2020 season kicked off, the Bucks held an open scrimmage where they showcased several new things they were doing. One of the most important aspects of a team is, of course, the team itself. The Bucks showed the team they were growing into during this open scrimmage. They debuted their new team, which included two sets of brothers, a host of young players, some vets, and most importantly, their returning core. The team showed that they possessed the ultimate gift of the NBA: teamwork and talent. The open scrimmage allowed the Bucks to play for the first time with their current roster and in front of fans at Fiserv Forum.
Those same fans were left with no doubt that their team was special once the regular season started. At the beginning of every season, there lies one question: Who is the team? And the Bucks set out to prove that they were the team.
Once the regular season got underway, Milwaukee was at the top of their game, and they’ve stayed there as they entered the restart in Orlando with a formidable 53-12 record. COVID-19 paused that journey, but it’s now only a matter of time before the Bucks get to prove their superiority again; with the NBA playoffs around the corner and their regular season having already restarted with a win over Boston.
The bubble in Orlando is going to be defined by matchups. The new system consists of 22 teams, eight seeding games and then the playoffs kick off on August 17. The Bucks during the remainder of the bubble will set out to prove that they are in fact the NBA’s best, especially after the delay caused by the virus. Competition in the bubble is noticeably steep with both the East and West’s best competing for a spot in the playoffs, and with home court advantage taken out of the equation.
Still, everything we’ve seen so far this season suggests the Milwaukee Bucks are the team. I call them my team, and I want them to be your team.
They are the Milwaukee Bucks, the team of the reigning MVP and the team with the best record. They are the team to beat. They are the team to root for.
Now, in this new day of the NBA Bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks sit at the top of the league just as they did last season, and fans, writers, and analysts, from Milwaukee and around the league, are just waiting to see whether they can seal their status as the best by winning a championship.