35-22 • 3rd in EASTERN CONFERENCE
The biggest question the Bucks faced in the 2020 offseason was whether or not they would be able to sign reigning back-to-back league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to a long-term extension. They answered that question with a resounding yes when Antetokounmpo inked a five-year supermax extension worth $228 million, keeping him with the franchise through 2026.
Before signing, Giannis indicated his intention to stay with the Bucks for the long haul, but rumors still persisted about Antetokounmpo possibly forming a superteam elsewhere. If Giannis is going to be part of a superteam now, it’s going to be in Milwaukee.
The Bucks made a huge statement early in the offseason by bringing All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday into the fold. The 30-year-old did not come cheap for Milwaukee, as they had to part ways with Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and three future first-round draft picks in a three-team deal that involved the New Orleans Pelicans and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was an undeniably bold move for the Bucks, but it felt like the type of blockbuster trade the team had to pull the trigger on after yet another disappointing end to their campaign in 2019-20. It was a make-or-break kind of trade that indicated Milwaukee’s intention to go all-in this year.
The addition of Holiday could prove to be a key development for the Bucks and their title hopes this season. After all, he is one of the best two-way guards in the league today. However, you have to think that at this point, much of the burden will still fall on Giannis Antetokounmpo's capable shoulders. At the end of the day, it's still the reigning MVP's level of play --and consistency in the playoffs -- that will ultimately determine if the Bucks can go all the way.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently one of the best players in the NBA today. The fact that he's won back-to-back MVP awards is a testament to that fact. The question now is whether or not he needs another superstar to help him deliver the title to Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton is a two-time All-Star, Brook Lopez was second-team All-Defensive last season, and Jrue Holiday is a two-time All-Defensive team member. With all the star power in Milwaukee, do they really need more?
Based on what we've seen from them the past couple of seasons, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Despite having a tremendous lineup, the farthest the Bucks have gone is to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019.
The Bucks hope Holiday will be the final piece of the championship puzzle, but that remains to be seen. Bringing in a bona fide superstar might just be the final piece to the puzzle.
With all the star power in Milwaukee, it's easy to overlook a guy like Donte DiVincenzo. Unless you're a Bucks fan following the team's games on a regular basis, it's easy to undermine DiVincenzo's vast improvements since joining the league in 2018, emerging as a key piece of this team's young core.
At 23, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard is far from a finished product. However, based on what we've seen from him this past season, he indeed has the makings of a mainstay in the starting lineup in the near future. In 2019-20, DiVincenzo averaged 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, while also connecting on 1.3 triples per game. He did this in 23.0 minutes coming off the bench for the most part.
DiVincenzo could take further strides in his improvement this coming season as he gets an extended shot at the starting two-guard spot. DiVincenzo is a stud, and he could very well prove to be a key piece for the Bucks in 2020-21.
When Khris Middleton was named as an All-Star for the first time in his career during the 2018-19 season, some labeled it as a one-off -- that Middleton was named in the All-Star squad only because the Bucks were the top team in the league, and that this was the one and only time he was going to be named an All-Star.
Well, Middleton shattered that notion in 209-20 by further improving his game. The 6-foot-7 swingman averaged career-best numbers of 20.9 points (on 49.7 percent shooting), 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while also making 2.4 triples on a highly-efficient 41.5-percent clip.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is without a shadow of a doubt Milwaukee's cornerstone superstar. Don't make any mistake about it, though, the Bucks have a second superstar in Middleton, and without him, this team would not be as good as they are right now.
Milwaukee's best player is Giannis Antetokounmpo. There's just no two ways about it. As a matter of fact, you could even argue that the 26-year-old is the best player in the entire NBA.
Last season, following what was an historic MVP 2018-19 campaign, Giannis further elevated his game, improving in nearly all statistical categories. His numbers came out to the tune of 29.5 points on 55.3 percent shooting, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks, while also draining 1.4 three-pointers per game. Antetokounmpo's shot from distance has long been considered as one of his weaknesses, but the fact that he averaged more than one triple per game last season -- the first time he's done so his entire career -- speaks volumes of how he's continually evolving into one of the greatest players this game has ever seen.
Antetokounmpo deservedly won his second consecutive MVP award last season, while also securing the Most Defensive Player of the Year award. He is only the third player in NBA history to win the MVP and the DPOY in the same year, with the other two being Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
According to Forbes, the Milwaukee Bucks are worth $1.625 billion as of February 2021, ranking 20th in the NBA.
The Bucks continue to be one of the fastest rising franchises in the league in terms of value, and this is undeniably thanks in large part to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 25-year-old just won his second consecutive MVP award last season, while also bagging the Defensive Player of the Year award. He is just the third player in NBA history to win both the MVP and DPOY award in the same season, with the other two being Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan. Giannis' rise to being one of the best players in the league has been directly proportional to the increase in value of the Bucks franchise.
The Bucks play in the Fiserv Forum, which is located in downtown Milwaukee. The Bucks share the arena with the Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball team.
The arena broke ground in June of 2016 and opened in August of 2018. The construction cost of the project is estimated at $524 million. The arena can hold a maximum capacity of 17,341.
The naming rights of the arena belong to Fiserv, which is a financial services tech company based in Milwaukee. They agreed to a 25-year deal with the franchise back in 2018.
The Bucks are owned by a group led by Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan, and Mike Fascitelli. In 2014, they purchased the franchise from former United States Senator Herb Kohl, who had owned the team since the 1980s. According to Forbes, the group paid $550 million for the rights to own the franchise. Their investment has more than doubled, with the total value of the franchise now listed at $1.58 billion (as of February 2020).
The Bucks are currently coached by Mike Budenholzer. The 51-year-old has been with the team since 2018, and he has just completed his second year with the squad. Ahead of the 2020-21 season, he held a very impressive record of 116 wins against just 39 losses in Milwaukee, good for a .748 winning percentage. Budenholzer was awarded as the Coach of the Year -- the second time in his career -- in his first season with the Bucks (2018-19).
Prior to joining Milwaukee, Budenholzer spent six years with the Atlanta Hawks, where he won the Coach of the Year award in 2015 for leading the Hawks to a 60-win season.
Before being a head coach, Budenholzer served as an assistant to the legendary Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. He spent 17 seasons under the wing of Coach Pop and is one of several head coaches in the NBA that learned from one of the best coaches in history.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is currently one of the best coaches in the league, but even he would admit that he's gotten a lot of help along the way. Milwaukee currently lists nine assistant coaches under Budenholzer.
The newest additions for the 2020-21 season are assistant coaches Mike Dunlap and Josh Oppenheimer. Four-time All-Star Vin Baker, who himself spent four seasons playing for the Bucks, joined the squad as an assistant coach in 2018. Milwaukee's other assistants are Chad Forcier, Darvin Ham, Charles Lee, Joshua Longstaff, Patrick St. Andrews, and Ben Sullivan.
Throughout its 52-year history, the Bucks have won the NBA title just once. This came in 1971 -- just three years after the franchise was established -- and the man at the helm at that time was Larry Costello. This was one of his many accomplishments with the team, which makes him arguably the greatest head coach in franchise history. Costello amassed 410 wins with the Bucks in nine seasons.
Another all-time great is Don Nelson, who coached the Bucks from 1976 to 1987. Nelson's 540 wins are the most in franchise history, and he won Coach of the Year for his 51-win 1982-83 season.
Finally, we have George Karl, who won 205 contests with the Bucks in five seasons. Karl was the team's head coach during the early 2000s, leading the organization to four playoff appearances in five years.
The Bucks have won just one championship in franchise history back in the 1970-71 season. The man that led the charge for Milwaukee at that time was none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The 7-foot-2 big man was an absolute dominant force for the Bucks, and the only downside of his career in Milwaukee is that it was short-lived. The Bucks traded away Adbul-Jabbar to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975, where he continued to build on his legacy and win five more titles.
Along with Abdul-Jabbar, another all-time great that played a key role for the Bucks' 1971 championship was Oscar Robertson. The Big O won the only championship of his illustrious career while with the Bucks, which he joined late in his career. The 6-foot-5 point guard was already 32 when he made the move to Milwaukee, but he is still widely regarded as one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Right now, we're putting Giannis Antetokounmpo as third on our list. He's well on his way to becoming the GOAT of the Bucks, but right now, he'll have to settle at third behind two other greats. Winning a championship would definitely propel him to a higher stature.
We round out our Top 5 with Sidney Moncrief -- the first ever winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award -- and finally, Ray Allen, who is regarded as one of the greatest shooters in league history.
If we were to pick the Top 3 all-time greats for the Bucks, then we'd have to go with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Other than these three, however, there have been a few more players who have earned legendary status with the team. This includes the likes of Sidney Moncrief and Ray Allen -- two players that we could add to the three aforementioned greats above to make it a top-five list.
Some other names that deserve recognition in this category are Bob Dandridge, John McGlocklin, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters, Marques Johnson, and Bob Lanier.