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Vegas Win Total Projection: 44.5 (VegasInsider.com)
2014 Record: 41-41
The Bucks are one of the most intriguing teams this season because of how they've fared in the past couple seasons. I think with the addition of Monroe, Middleton locked up, and Jabari Parker back, this team could be a "sleeper" in the East. I think we could see them hit 45-50 wins this season. Their starting five, rotation guys are all young, hungry, players who are out to prove something. With Jason Kidd, I think they'll certainly learn from his style and for young players I think Kidd adds the element of idol to some of them.
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With the weapons this team has, I think Michael Carter-Williams has the potential to be a star in this league for a long time. His ability to make plays passing the ball, as well as his offensive know-how, give him a good balance with this group. If M.C.W. can pick up his shooting percentage, I look to see him average about 15-16 points, 7-8 assists, and about 5-6 rebounds a game. The guy had done it all himself in Philly and although it took some time before he got up-to-speed, he looked very good closing the season. I think with a full training camp, a new big-man in Monroe, and some key role players like Jabari Parker, Giannis Antentokoumnpo, O.J. Mayo, and Khris Middleton, the Bucks have their new point-guard being lead by a head coach who played the position.
With Khris Middleton signing a big contract extension, I think O.J. Mayo is on the "outside looking in". I don't know how much he ends up playing and if he does, he's an inconsistent fantasy player. Averaging only 11 points per game, I think that only will only diminish based on Middleton's growth, age, and contract. He's also sloppy with the ball turning the ball over an average of 2 times in a per game basis. His shooting percentage has continued to go down and I just don't see a realistic option baring injuries or set-backs that he gets a significant amount of run based on his name and what that carries.
I think we could choose the "Greek Freak" every season since he erupted onto the NBA scene. He's athletic, tall, freakishly versatile, and continues to grow as a player every season. With a good team, like this Bucks team, I'm excited to see what he does to improve upon last season. He will most certainly take a step-forward as he continues to mature and get more comfortable in an NBA situation.
Another guy I think people forget about is Jabari Parker. Because he got injured, we only saw him for a quarter of the NBA season. But this kid is special. 6'8" out of Duke, he was a guy I really liked. He shot an outrageous 49 percent from the field in his first 25 games last season, as a rookie. AS A ROOKIE! He adds such an array of things to this ball club, from shooting to consistency, he'll be great in a Bucks uniform for a long time. If he can come back to full-strength, your looking at a great fantasy pick, who could see huge minutes come the end of the season. I can safely assume he should be back to full health and start right back where he left off.
The bucks are in a position to push for a top-6 playoff seed with the roster they've assembled. I really like what Jason Kidd has done as far as coaching and can only assume that continues with this slightly better group. I look to see this team improve on their 7th ranked defense and 22nd ranked offense. I think they sit somewhere in the 5 through 7 category in team defense, allowing close to 97 points per, while offense should shoot up somewhere in that 10th to 15th range. If there were one "sleeper" team I think could really do some damage in the playoffs when healthy, its this team. They have size, youth, a good coach, and the organization seems to be "bought in".
This team is on the rise and could be good for a long time to come.