The Milwaukee Bucks are quietly making moves to build a championship contender in 2019. With rising stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks should be well-positioned for another deep playoff run. Mike Budenholzer is leading this transition into title contention while still maintaining the team’s core identity—a rare feat in today’s NBA landscape.
The “james harden trade details” is a topic that has been making the headlines lately. The Milwaukee Bucks have made some moves to improve their roster, but they are still behind the two teams mentioned above.
Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA Championship in 50 years. However, one MVP and a few of All-Stars do not make a roster or win a championship on their own.
Because of his performances down the stretch last year, Bobby Portis became a cult figure in Milwaukee. PJ Tucker was acquired during the trade deadline in 2021 and was a reliable starter for the Bucks throughout their playoff run. Pat Connaughton and Brook Lopez played important roles in the franchise’s first title in almost 50 years.
While the NBA world awaits Ben Simmons’ and James Harden’s debuts with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee is quietly going about its business and making under-the-radar moves to put itself up to win back-to-back championships.
Table of Contents
The Bucks are one of the clubs topping the Eastern Conference standings.
Milwaukee is 36-23 and in third place in the Eastern Conference heading into a game against the 76ers on Feb. 17. The Bucks sit two games behind the first-place Chicago Bulls and a half-game behind the Miami Heat.
The top of the East, on the other hand, is a confused mass. In recent weeks, Chicago and Miami have dominated, but there are eight teams within 6.5 games of the No. 1 seed, including Brooklyn, which is awaiting the return of Kevin Durant and the debut of Simmons.
When healthy, the Bucks have shown that they can be one of the greatest teams in the NBA again in 2021-22. When you’re in good health.
Pat Connaughton, who has recently undergone surgery on his right hand, leads the squad in games played. Brook Lopez, the starting center, participated in the opening game of the season but has been sidelined since undergoing back surgery.
Giannis has missed 11 games, Khris has missed 12, and Jrue has missed 13.
Milwaukee is still sixth in the league in scoring and third in rebounding, and Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s leading scorer. When he, Middleton, and Holiday play together, the squad is 23-6.
However, general manager Jon Horst has started to bolster the roster in preparation for a lengthy postseason run.
Milwaukee Bucks have already made additions to their roster.
The Brooklyn Nets’ DeAndre’ Bembry plays against the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center. | Mike Stobe/Getty Images
As part of a four-team trade that sent Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings, Horst engineered a deadline-day deal for veteran big man Serge Ibaka (poor Donte).
Serge has only played twice since coming in Milwaukee, in the tiniest of sample sizes. Over his two outings, he’s averaging 7.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in 27.6 minutes, and he’s made one of his two three-point tries.
But that’s all Ibaka needs from head coach Mike Budenholzer. Whether Lopez returns or not, the Bucks need another big in their rotation who can play defense and shoot open threes.
The Harden-Simmons trade benefited Milwaukee as well, since Brooklyn released DeAndre’ Bembry to complete their transaction with the Sixers. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Horst pounced and signed Bembry. Especially during Connaughton’s absence, the 27-year-old will give much-needed wing depth.
The Bucks’ minutes behind Grayson Allen and Middleton have been gobbled up by Jordan Nwora and Wesley Matthews now that DiVincenzo is gone and Planet Pat is out of the lineup. Even if Connaughton returns, Bembry has been a consistent contributor throughout his career.
This season, the 6-foot-5 fifth-year pro has started 20 of the Nets’ 48 games, averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 41.7 percent from three and 56.8 percent from the field in 19.8 minutes.
Despite the fact that the St. Joe’s product has never been a high-usage player, he has always found a way to contribute. Bembry has just 5.2 shot attempts and 19.4 minutes per game in his career, but he can play minutes at the 2 or 3 positions, which Milwaukee desperately needs.
Horst may not be through bolstering his Milwaukee Bucks lineup.
There are still two positions on the roster that need to be filled.
In the Ibaka deal, the Bucks GM also sent Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the Los Angeles Clippers, in addition to Donte. He’s kept a roster place available all season, so Milwaukee can still add two more players despite the Bembry deal.
According to Wojnarowski, the team’s opportunity to win a title puts them in the running for point guard Goran Dragic, who is on the market for a buyout.
If the Bucks are able to sign the 35-year-old, they will be able to satisfy three of their most pressing roster needs: Ibaka will give depth up top, Bembry will provide wing depth, and Dragic would provide a substantial boost behind Holiday.
It far this season, George Hill has performed that job, but he has done so badly.
The Milwaukee Bucks continue to go about their roster business discreetly as the NBA world focuses on the big stars. A long playoff run and back-to-back NBA championships, on the other hand, would draw attention to the small-market team. Again.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
RELATED: Milwaukee Bucks Trade: Serge Ibaka Just Boosted the Defending Champions’ Title Defense Massively
- james harden contract nets
- 76ers vs nets
- who does james harden play for