Can the Milwaukee Bucks get over the hump?
So, can they get over the hump? That question still is not clear. The team is a lot better now that they have Tucker. I really think he changes things for them on both sides of the floor, and that the impact will show even more in the playoffs than in the regular season. But there are still holes in the roster.
While Augustin was a less than impactful player this season and would have gotten killed on defense in the playoffs, he was the only ‘true’ point guard on the roster. They don’t have any ball handlers coming off the bench now, and that is scary. They are going to need to scour the market for a guard either in a trade or the buyout market (stay tuned for my next article).
They also jettisoned Torrey Craig to Phoenix with no return, to help them get under the hard cap. While Craig could not carve out a rotational role while he was with the team, he was the only backup wing on the roster that could both play solid defense and had deep playoff experience. I would really really like to not enter the playoffs with Pat Connaughton being the best wing off the bench. Another thing the Bucks should address in the trade/buyout market.
A best-case scenario for the Bucks could look like Ricky Rubio and Garrett Temple. They do not have the cap space to make those both work but guys of that caliber could make it to the buyout market. If Milwaukee can secure guys of that caliber to fill the two holes, I would not hesitate to call them the favorites to make it out of the East.
I spent all of last season doubting the Bucks, even when they were steamrolling teams before the suspension that eventually led to the bubble. With the acquisitions of Holiday, Portis, and Tucker, the commitment to switching on defense, and more creativity in the offensive scheme, I am feeling optimistic for this team as a title favorite for the first time in a long time.