After failing to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs for the second consecutive year, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to make major changes on their team this offseason. The Bucks hired Mike Budenholzer as head coach and boosted their frontcourt with the acquisition of Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova in the recent free agency.
The arrival of Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee is expected to help the Bucks make a deep playoff run in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference next season. Budenholzer spent the last five seasons as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks where he posted a 213-197 win-loss record and led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015. Bucks General Manager Jon Horst strongly believes Milwaukee newcomers Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova will fit well in Budenholzer’s system.
“With Brook and Ersan, you have guys that have great size, that can shoot the three, not only effectively percentage wise but also attempt wise,” Horst said, via Give Me Sport. “They compete on both ends of the floor and have high basketball IQ and hopefully, if we’re right, I think what you’ll see is guys that really fit the way that Bud wants to play and the way that we want to play in building the team around Giannis [Antetokounmpo].”
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The addition of Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova will help the Bucks address one of the major issues on the team which is three-point shooting. Last season, the Bucks were tied with the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Orlando Magic as the sixth worst three-point shooting teams in the league. After spending the first eight years of his NBA career as a traditional center, Lopez slowly found a way to make himself fit in the modern NBA by adding floor spacing in his sets of skills.
The same thing with Ilyasova, who remains a huge threat from beyond the arc. Bucks General Manager Jon Horst believes it is vital for the team to add players who can mesh well with their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Lopez and Ilyasova’s experience and leadership are expected to be a huge help for the Bucks in reaching a higher level next season.
“There’s no doubt that those guys have experience. Those guys have won and played in multiple different systems and with different great players,” Horst said.
As of now, the Bucks are considered a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. However, if they want to represent the East in the NBA Finals 2019, they should exceed the expectations from them in order to beat powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers in a best-of-seven series.