Milwaukee Bucks: Recapping an eventful 2021 NBA offseason

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 20 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 20 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks will begin defending their 2021 NBA Championship on October 19th, hosting the Brooklyn Nets.

Of course, this will be a rematch of last year’s conference semifinals, where the Bucks edged out the Nets in a classic seven-game series at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Taking a look at the matchup, there are few new faces to the Bucks’ roster that will be making their debut with the team, along with the returning players.

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The Bucks look like a better team than they were last season, although they still face some question marks. The biggest is Donte DiVincenzo, who the team will hope is back by opening night after suffering a season-ending injury in the playoffs.

Before he went down with the injury, DiVincenzo posted career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists per game. When DiVincenzo comes back, the Bucks will have their starting five healthy for the first time since Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat.

What moves did the Milwaukee Bucks make this offseason to help defend their title during the 2021-22 season?

The most noteworthy acquisition is Grayson Allen, coming from Memphis to Milwaukee via a very interesting trade. The Bucks sent Sam Merrill and two future second-round picks to the Grizzlies in exchange for the guard. Allen will look to replace the void left by P.J. Tucker, who left to sign with Miami in the offseason. Allen averaged just over 10.5 points per game while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range in a career year last season and will look to make an immediate impact with the defending champs.

Milwaukee is also bringing back veteran backup point guard George Hill after spending last season with Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. Hill averaged just under nine points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. Hill will fill the shooting void left by Bryn Forbes, who returned to San Antonio in the offseason via free agency.

Another free agent that Milwaukee brought in is defensive specialist Semi Ojeleye, who saw limited action in 56 games with Boston. Ojeleye averaged 17 minutes per game with the Celtics last season and brings a defensive intensity that Milwaukee had last season with Tucker. Ojeleye shot 39 percent from the field during his four-year run in Boston, so offense is not exactly his forte, but his reputable defense should help him fit in. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the team also signed Rodney Hood, who will bring a spark offensively off the bench as he looks to bounce back from an injury-riddled campaign last year.

Finally, Milwaukee will also have their two draft picks on their roster in Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis. Mamukelashvili averaged 17.5 points and just over 7.5 rebounds per game in his senior year at Seton Hall. Kalaitzakis averaged 4.4 minutes per game last season in the Euroleague. During the Summer League for Milwaukee, Mamukelashvili averaged 11 points and just over 8.5 rebounds per game, leading the team. The 11 points per game were second on the team behind Jordan Nwora. Kalaitzakis averaged 10.5 points, five assists, and 1.5 steals per game. The five assists per game by Kalaitzakis led the team. His eye-catching 1.5 steals were second only to John Mooney. Kalaitzakis also shot an impressive 50 percent from the field, third behind D’Mitrik Trice and Steven Enoch.

One key piece that Milwaukee has brought back for this season is the Energizer Bunny named Bobby Portis. Portis averaged 11.5 points and just over seven rebounds per game while shooting a career-high 47 percent from the three-point line. Portis averaged 8.5 points and five rebounds per game in the playoffs for Milwaukee during their 2021 championship run.

The Bucks also handed head coach Mike Budenholzer a nice contract extension after he helped lead the team to their first title in 50 seasons. While some have their concerns with the two-time Coach of the Year, his doubters were silenced following the championship run.

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Opening night begins in Milwaukee as they will raise the 2020-21 championship banner with the Brooklyn Nets coming to town. It is time for Milwaukee to defend their title.