The Milwaukee Bucks are entering their sixth consecutive season as a legitimate title contender during Giannis Antetokounmpo’s prime. While it’s been a great stretch filled with exciting moments from October to July, Bucks fans have had to learn an important thing about being a fan of a contending team…
The regular season does not matter.
The Bucks and the regular season
Now, this doesn’t mean that the whole regular season is meaningless or that fans shouldn’t care about the team during the regular season. But the team’s record throughout the year is practically irrelevant. Barring any big injuries, the Bucks will make the playoffs, and they will almost surely be a top-three team in the Eastern Conference. They have done that in each of the last five years, and there is no reason to think they won’t do it again after acquiring Damian Lillard.
But Bucks fans have seen the team finish with the best record in the entire league in three of the last five years, and yet they failed to reach the NBA Finals in all of those seasons. The one season where they won the Finals was one where they finished just third in the East and seventh overall. So, who really cares about finishing as the top seed?
Home-court advantage is always a positive to have, and winning more regular season games is never a bad thing, but the advantage it brings is not all that big. Home teams in the playoffs last season won just eight out of the 15 total series. The playoffs are completely different from the regular season, and it is all about playing your best and being healthy at the right time – things the Bucks have largely failed to do over the last five years despite being a dominant regular season team.
So forget focusing on the Bucks’ record this season or where they are in the standings. Instead, focus on how they are looking and analyzing some of the aspects of the team that will matter in May more than having a few extra regular season wins. Here are some of the things to watch for in the 2023-24 regular season that will be better indicators of playoff success.