Eastern Conference Finals
Here's the craziest thing about the Milwaukee Bucks - they're not that different from the 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors. Think about it ...
- Likely MVP Candidate? Check
- A previous coach, who was a respected point guard but (at best) unimpressive head coach.
- A new coach, who implements an offensive scheme based on ball movement and three-point shooting who will (spoiler alert)
- Lead the team to the NBA Finals in his first year.
Granted, I'm jumping ahead a bit but I'm pretty confident in that last point.
The Raptors are a very good team but I think the Bucks are actually better, across the board. Let's say - for sake of argument - that Kawhi and Giannis cancel each other out (although I do think The Greek Freak is a little bit better than The Claw ...), Middelton and Bledsoe have both been more consistent than Siakam and Lowry. I think Lopez's three-point shooting may play Gasol off the floor and, if so, moving Ibaka back into the starting lineup will weaken an already-weak bench.
The last series saw the Raptors fall apart when Kawhi went to the bench. When Giannis went to the bench, the Bucks were actually more effective. I don't expect that to be the case (the Raptors aren't the Celtics) but I would still feel more comfortable playing Milwaukee's bench than Toronto's.
The one way Toronto can hurt Milwaukee is on the 3-point line. The Bucks have been content to let teams shoot the 3 all year, preferring to fill the paint for rebounds and transitions. Their bet has been that their opponents just can't make enough 3's to outweigh their transitional effectiveness. Toronto could make them pay for this - but they will have to do better than the 23% they shot from the 3-point line vs. Philly.
I know this makes this sound like I'm just dissing Toronto but, I swear, I really do like their team. I just think Milwaukee is having one of those 'years of destiny' - much like the 2014-2015 Warriors.
Milwaukee Bucks in 5.