For the Milwaukee Bucks, the 17-18 NBA season has been a roller coaster. Started off slow, after 10 games they were 4-6. Small sample size, but fans weren’t having it. Remember this is a team who went six games with Toronto last year and in the sixth, battled back from a 20+ point deficit in the third and fourth, but couldn’t get the job done.
Conveniently, the Phoenix Suns starting point guard, Eric Bledsoe was on the trade block with his famous, “I don’t want to be here” tweet. As any desperate team would, the Bucks picked him up in a trade for Greg Monroe and a couple of conditional draft picks. After this pick up the Bucks would rocket off to a 13-4 start with Bledsoe at the point, propelling to a 17-10 start.
The climate in Milwaukee was incredible as fans held the belief the Bucks were turning into a super team, until reality happened. The Bucks went 6-12 in their next 18 games, making them 23-22. With Jabari Parker on the verge of coming back, relatively favorable schedule ahead of them, Jason Kidd was fired.
Throughout the Milwaukee contingency the main feeling was a feeling of happiness with the move. With 12 games left until the all star break, interim head coach, Joe Prunty had the Bucks positioned to make a run. Four playoff teams were on the schedule and would finish with a 1-3 record against them and 8-0 against the non-playoff competition.
Now we are here, as All-Star break wraps up and the regular season unofficial second half starts, playoff positioning comes into play. Unless you’re the Mavs. Sitting as the sixth seed in the East, won’t have them getting much higher.
With problems rebounding and still defending the three they will have troubles finding a way and a groove until late in the season. I’d have them finishing 8th at worst, 5th at best, with the 7th seed being their final destination. With a record of 44-38. This has it’s upside and downside to it.
The downside is, you’re a seventh seed. You’re now playing, Cleveland, Boston, or Toronto. In my belief they will be up against Boston. Now with the Greek Freak, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brogdon returns, Parker has added minutes this team will be different. Now you’re going up against a Stevens coached team for seven games, that mind you, have two all stars themselves two players in the rising stars game too. This will be an up-hill battle and by not having home court will be a tough one for a young team.
The upside of this though, you will finish fantastically. You get the Celtics at home, which would preview that potential matchup and then the: Nets, Knicks, Magic, and 76ers. While there is a chance they lose the first and last game. Meanwhile, you have great potential for a three game winning streak in between.
That’s good momentum and could get a young team going into the playoffs. Also, a tough game in Philly with a three game winning streak should give them some momentum there. This could be a game that gives you the difference between a seventh and sixth seed too. A win there would be huge for confidence of either young team.
In this scenario, it’s my belief that the Bucks would lose in the first round regardless of seeding, unless they somehow manage a four seed or higher. This team has some potential, but a lot of questions still surrounding them. Can they consistently beat playoff caliber teams? Can they rebound? Is the chemistry there? What’s the culture? Down the stretch, we will see all of these things tested and get the answers.