2 Things the Milwaukee Bucks need to bounce back next season

These two things could go a long way for the Bucks in 2024-25.
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The NBA offseason can be a time of hope and optimism. Now, with the Boston Celtics officially having been crowned NBA champs, players can take time to catch their breath and NBA executives can start to plan for the 2024-2025 NBA season.

Should Bucks fans worry about how bad the team looked in the 2023-2024 NBA playoffs? The short answer is yes. Getting bounced now two years in a row is not good. After winning the title, things for this team feel like they are going backward.

Long-term, the biggest worry seems to be a possible “trade request” from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Ok?! After two consecutive first-round playoff losses, could the Bucks reinvent their franchise with a blockbuster starter plus five-round picks-type trade? Similar to the Rudy Gobert deal plus more? I personally hope not. That all feels highly unlikely.

What feels more likely is for this franchise to try to run it back. The odds are that this team is heading back for one last run. Then, if they can't go deep into the 2024-2025 playoffs, it'll be time to break up the band. Then, maybe Giannis or Damian Lillard or Khris Middleton or all of them could be moved. It'd be the end of an era.

Taking a 30,000-foot view of the team, what larger concepts does this franchise need to propel it forward? What two things can happen in the next few months to truly set this team up?

Athleticism coded as “youth”

The average age of the Milwaukee Bucks' starting five is 31.4 years old. 

The average age of the Boston Celtics starting five in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals (with 37-year-old Al Horford) was 30.4. The average age of the Indiana Pacers in that same game was 26 years old.

The Bucks have an older roster; they have always had older rosters. But what these other teams have that Milwaukee doesn’t have are younger guards and wings.

Now, assuming this big run that is set up for the 2024-2025 season happens, I don’t think this team is getting rid of Giannis or Middleton. But still, what pieces could Milwaukee put behind them that would bring some increased athleticism? The team simply needs some faster, crazy young guys. 

That “need” is probably why fans wanted the team to play Andre Jackson Jr. so much. You could really see it in the play on the court. Jackson made mistakes, but he also brought in quicker, more athletic play. This team needs that!

What happens and what pieces this team can add to help in the upcoming NBA Draft will be very important. If Milwaukee can somehow, someway with the 23rd and 33rd add two bench guys who can play 15-20 minutes a night, that would simply be an identity changer for this group. Along with the development of AJ Green, MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson Jr., getting the young players more involved will be key in forming a fast, athletic bench.

Also, simply swapping a Jae Crowder for a Kris Dunn-type player makes this team more athletic. Could the "James Wiseman experiment" end up in Milwaukee? The 23-year-old is certainly loaded with athleticism.

A full offseason together will help

Damian Lillard knows how important it is to build a team in the offseason. Coming to Milwaukee just days before camp opened, he had no time to build chemistry. It also didn't help that he didn't train last off-season because he was scared of getting injured amid his trade request. He won't have to worry about that this off-season.

If Damian Lillard can truly return to superstar form, that will really help this team go further and reach higher goals.

Continuity and time can be powerful things in sports. If your team plays like a team, then well, you’ll usually beat a team that doesn’t. The Bucks played like a “team” in spurts. You don’t need to look much further than their team assist numbers, averaging 25.6 per game during the regular season, 17th in the entire NBA.

The same goes for coaching and leadership. If your team has mixed messages and a mishmashed staff, that never tends to work out.

This team could stand to have some better coaching continuity.

The team has moved on from coach Sidney Dobner, DJ Bakker, and Josh Oppenheimer. Now, news continues to come out about all of the new assistant coaches and staff Doc Rivers is adding. Darvin Ham is back. Also, it looks like former Cavs assistant coach Greg Buckner is coming aboard.

With these hires, you can begin to see how this team will have some better coaching continuity. Now that, along with some improved play from Damian Lillard and a more athletic bench, should give Milwaukee Bucks fans ample hope heading into the 2024-2025 season.

If the Milwaukee Bucks can figure out a way to get more athletic, that will only bode well for what could be an improved playoff run and regular season record for the 2024-2025 season.