Chuck’s Sports Analysis
By Charles D. Collier
The Bucks, unexpectedly, succumbed to Jimmy Butler and the Heat in the first round of NBA playoffs. The loss left Bucks’ players and fans stunned. The collapse of the Bucks was based on a plethora of reasons that included: poor coaching, terrible free-throw shooting and lack of defensive intensity.
Since Giannis’ arrival from Greece via Nigeria in 2014, he was expected to be our Moses who would deliver us to “the Promised Land.” In 2021, he did just that; delivering the Milwaukee Bucks to their first championship in fifty years.
Giannis, the two-time MVP, was hampered by a back injury. He was limited to eleven minutes in game one and missed games two and three entirely. In the game five loss, he scored 38 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, but he also missed 13 of 23 free throws.
During Giannis’ press conference, after the Bucks’ play-off loss, he was asked whether the season was a failure. Giannis gave the politically correct answer of “NO.” I disagree. The minute you stop playing a sport for the love of the game and start getting paid, there are expectations. When you are the best player, on the best team and the odds-makers have you favored to win a championship, expectations are high. Anything less than a championship is a failure.
Going forward, the Bucks should start by terminating Mike Budenholzer’s contract. He made a lot of poor coaching decisions over the last five years, and made several in the upset loss in the play-offs.
I opine, Kris Middleton will opt out of his contract and seek a max-deal. The Bucks should not extend Middleton’s contract. Kris’ play was very inconsistent in the play-offs, and over the last two years he has been injury-prone.
Brook Lopez is a free-agent and he should be re-signed for his consistent play in the regular season and in the play-offs.
The Bucks should re-build around Giannis, Lopez and Holiday. All three of them are two-way players, and they approach the game in the right way. Giannis is in his prime and could be used to recruit other NBA free agents to play with him in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are still one of the best teams in the NBA. With the right coach and players, and if Giannis continues to play at a high level and improves his free-throw shooting, the Bucks will be champions again.