The Milwaukee Bucks 2021-22 Season And The Abrupt Finish

So before I get started on the 2021-22 season, here’s a little bit of quick history for you. The Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta Hawks) played in Milwaukee from 1951-1955 before moving to St. Louis before the start of the 1955-56 season. After a 13-year absence of NBA basketball in the state, on January 22, 1968, the NBA awarded Milwaukee their second professional basketball team.

A fan contest, where more than 40,000 fans participated, was held to name the team. The most voted name was the Robins, after the state bird of Wisconsin. On May 22, 1968, the contest judges went with the second most voted name, the Bucks, which is in reference to Wisconsin’s official wild animal, the white tailed deer. So yesterday we celebrated the 54-year anniversary of the Milwaukee Bucks name.

The first logo for the franchise is my most favorite:

So now I’ll talk about the 2021-22 season now that we’re a little over a week removed from it. And yes, I’m still trying to digest the season coming to an end.

I haven’t watched any of the playoffs since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Bucks and Boston Celtics concluded.

The Bucks got off to a 6-8 start to the season and dealt with a good amount of injuries and illness issues throughout the season.

It’s fair to say that the championship run that finished towards the end of July and then a quick turnaround with the 2021-22 season starting in October played a role in that.

At the end of the day, the Bucks just didn’t play well in the playoffs. They were able to get away with it in the First Round against the Chicago Bulls because the Bulls were pretty bad.

In the Boston series, everyone that’s not named Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn’t get anything going offensively. I’ll give Jrue Holiday the benefit of the doubt because he’s, in my opinion, the best defensive guard in the NBA and when you’re hounding the opposing team’s best guard for 40 minutes per game, your legs are going to feel it.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was magnificent all postseason. There was literally nothing more he could have done. The Greek Freak just didn’t get any help from his teammates or coaching staff.

I was in attendance for Game 6 loss against Boston when Giannis had a historic game, and the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing. It was just as loud, if not louder, than Game 6 of the NBA Finals game I attended last season.

Mike Budenholzer also did not have a very good series coaching against Boston.

I give 50% of the blame to “Coach Bud” and 50% of the blame to the players (that are not named Giannis).

I thought Wesley Matthews did a good job with Milwaukee when the Bucks signed him as a Free Agent in December. But people need to stop comparing him to PJ Tucker.

Tucker was able to defend all five positions and allowed Milwaukee to play small ball and use Giannis at the 5, among other types of rotations. Matthews could only defend 1 through 3. That’s not a knock on Wes by any means, it’s just the reality of the situation so stop it with the Matthews/Tucker comparisons.

PJ Tucker would have been massive for Milwaukee in the Boston series.

The is an important offseason for Milwaukee. Jon Horst and co. is going to need to revamp the bench because we can’t be “one injury away” from this happening again.

Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo all have player options for the 2022-23 season.

I think the Bucks will be able to keep Connaughton and Thanasis, but I think Bobby Portis will likely decline the player option and look for more money elsewhere. I’d like for Milwaukee to keep both Portis and Connaughton.

Unfortunately, George Hill is under contract for the 2022-23 season. I would love for Milwaukee to trade him for anything and I’d consider it a successful trade for the Bucks.

Grayson Allen I thought had a really good first season with the Bucks, although it was a tough series for him against Boston. I think he’ll be better now that he’ll be in the second year with Milwaukee in 2022-23.

The Bucks do have the 24th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. I think it’s very important the Bucks don’t trade this pick away.

There was a mock draft that had Johnny Davis going 24 to Milwaukee and I would absolutely love that pick. But I’d be shocked if Davis was available after the top 15 picks.

A guy I think would be an intriguing pick at 24 is Jalen Williams from Santa Clara University. He’s 6’5” with a 7’2” wingspan.

Williams was a three level scorer and an ambidextrous finisher and passer at SCU. He typically relied on floaters and his pivot game to finish around the basket, because he lacked burst to blow past defenders (which could be a concern) and doesn’t have a particularly tight handle.

Williams I think would be a good fit for a catch and shoot player, attack the close outs and a potential to be a third or fourth playmaker. His 7’2” wingspan allows him to be a disruptive defender, but he needs to keep his gambling (on defense) to a minimum and needs to improve his lateral quickness and physicality defensively to not allow straight line drives to the hoop.

EJ Liddell from Ohio State is another interesting pick. His game should translate well and I could see him playing a Giannis type role, minus the usage obviously.

I could see Liddell being a really good weak-side rim protector, a switchable small ball 5-man, posting up mismatches, play-making in the short role and being able to compliment Giannis. I’m not sold on Liddell being a good “fit” with Milwaukee, however.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a message after the season came to an end:

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