Grading the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 NBA offseason
The Milwaukee Bucks kept their offseason relatively simple. They won the title after all. This means that they already have the key ingredients intact. They just need a little seasoning here and there. With this in mind, they did experience a slight hiccup after one of the finest veterans of the game walked away. They did make it up by signing another veteran and a bunch of young guns. Let’s walk through the Bucks’ offseason and see how they fared.
First off, the Bucks lost PJ Tucker and Bryn Forbes. While it was a shock at first, seeing Tucker walk away was inevitable in so many ways. In his stint in Houston, Tucker proved that contending teams need his presence. The culmination of this hypothesis came when Tucker became a key part of the Milwaukee Bucks’ title run. This pretty much skyrocketed Tucker’s value. Concerns about his age (he turned 36 in May) were thrown out the window. Though the Bucks could’ve kept Tucker, the organization went in another direction. Be as it may, it was nice having Tucker on the roster. The team will forever be thankful for his services.
Seeing Forbes walk away was puzzling, at least at face value. The man just averaged 19.3 minutes per game in the regular season but made the most out of it by chipping in 10.0 points on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 45.2 percent from deep. Come playoff time, Forbes’ minutes were cut mainly because he was a liability on defense. It’s always sad to see a productive player walk away. But it seems like the Bucks made the right decision.
Now, off to to the re-signings and signings. The Bucks brought back big man Bobby Portis — a player who quickly became a fan favorite for his energetic play. Apart from the energy he brings, Portis gets the job done as a member of the second unit. He plays excellent defense, he’s willing to do the dirty work, he’s a good passer, too. Honestly, there’s not a lot to say about Portis. He’s really just a solid player the Bucks need to defend their title.
After the Bucks signed Semi Ojeleye to a one-year deal, he was immediately seen as the replacement of PJ Tucker. After all, both players can defend well and can knock down shots from deep. What makes them different is that Ojeleye is meant to be a member of the frontcourt. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 240. This makes him an ideal defender against the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and other elite forwards. In theory, Ojeleye’s presence will alleviate some of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defensive chores. Overall, this is a very good signing for the Bucks.
The Bucks also signed George Hill, who was actually part of their squad from 2018 to 2020. There seems to be a negative connotation when a player is known to be a journeyman. This doesn’t apply to the veteran guard. NBA teams know the value he brings when he’s on the floor. He’s a leader, an orchestrator, and a solid player overall. The Bucks might have lost a beacon of wisdom in Tucker. But they did gain it back through Hill.
The Rodney Hood signing seems like a very good move. Looking at his numbers, Hood is averaging 11.3 points per game on 42.2 percent from the field for his career. However, after a look at his most recent numbers, especially from 2018 to 2021, Hood seems to have lost his step. The Achilles tear definitely hurt his stock and his momentum as a young player. So as of this writing, we cannot really Hood will help the Bucks defend their title. We can only hope that he gets his rhythm back.
The Bucks acquired incoming four-year man Grayson Allen from the Memphis Grizzlies. Collegiate basketball fans know him from his days with Duke where he was one of the most hated players in the country for his “dirty” plays. Allen, who came in the league as the 21st overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, showed off the same tenacity that he became infamous for. From playing just 11.0 minutes per game in his rookie season in Utah, it grew to 18.9 then 25.2 minutes per game in Memphis. Perhaps the culmination of Allen’s hard work is his stint with the Bucks.
All in all, it was a good offseason campaign from the Bucks. It would’ve been great if they retained Tucker for at least one more season. But that’s just the way the ball rolls in the NBA. Despite this, we can confidently say that the Bucks have all the tools to defend their title.
Offseason grade: A