The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the NBA last season, but they were shockingly knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed two games, but can the team run it back after the disappointing upset? The Bucks fired Mike Budenholzer and replaced him with Adrian Griffin. They have two key unrestricted free agents that top the priority list.
Marc Stein reported (subscription required) that the Bucks were “all but assured” to re-sign Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez is “leaning toward a Bucks return”. Jrue Holiday is locked in for next season with Giannis as Milwaukee looks to return to title contention.
The Bucks only have six players under standard contracts heading into free agency, so there is much work to do. Bringing back Middleton and Lopez is a massive first step, but what else must Milwaukee accomplish this offseason?
Things Milwaukee Bucks must immediately do if they re-sign Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez
1. Add a 3-and-D wing
Milwaukee may have the best defensive backline in the NBA with Lopez and Giannis patrolling the paint, but they need some help on the perimeter. Jrue Holiday is a lockdown defender, and Middleton is solid with size on the wing, but having another 3-and-D option would help the Bucks in the playoffs.
The team thought it would be Jae Crowder after they traded five second-round picks for him in February. He struggled to stay in the rotation, including averaging just 10.3 minutes per game in the playoffs. Rumors suggest the Bucks plan to bring him back, and they have his Bird right, which allows the team to offer more than the minimum. Milwaukee desperately needs more production from the 32-year-old next season.
The Bucks should be searching for another 3-and-D wing option with Jevon Carter, Wesley Matthews, Joe Ingles, and Crowder all heading into free agency. Milwaukee cannot bring them all back, and they need another 3-and-D wing to round their roster.