The Milwaukee Bucks, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, are one of the NBA teams who dream of winning the NBA championship in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Now that LeBron James is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Eastern Conference is considered vulnerable and likely to have a new ruler in 2019.
Though most people still don’t see the Bucks on the level of Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Toronto Raptors, the arrival of Mike Budenholzer is expected to make Milwaukee a huge threat. With Budenholzer as head coach, the Bucks have shown better ball movement, more spacing, better three-point shooting, and a sensible defensive scheme in the preseason. If they establish the same or better performance in the 2018-19 NBA season, it will not be a surprise if the Bucks make a huge impact in the Eastern Conference Playoffs 2019.
However, if they fail to live up to expectations and underperform, the disappointment is expected to increase in Milwaukee. Should the Bucks suffer another disappointing season, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes it is time for Giannis Antetokounmpo to seek a trade.
“Suppose preseason is as meaningless as we all like to say it is, though. Suppose none of the improvements we’ve seen translate. Suppose the Bucks aren’t any better than they were under Jason Kidd and Joe Prunti. If that’s how 2018-19 starts to play out, and the disappointment increases as it becomes clear the supporting cast around Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t good enough to scare the likes of Philly, Boston and Toronto, everything changes. If that narrative replaces the current (highly positive) one about Coach Bud and his ability to elevate the Bucks, Antetokounmpo should consider seeking a trade.”
As of now, there is no doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the fastest rising superstars in the NBA. In the 75 games he played with the Bucks last season, the 23-year-old power forward posted monstrous statistics, averaging 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks on 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 30.7 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, since Antetokounmpo joined the Bucks in 2013, the team has yet to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Once the Bucks make Giannis Antetokounmpo available on the trading block, several NBA teams will surely give their front office an immediate call. For a player of Antetokounmpo’s caliber, most NBA teams are definitely willing to sacrifice valuable trade assets for the opportunity to add him to their roster. However, there is no strong indication so far that Antetokounmpo is planning to part ways with the Bucks. Expect more rumors to circulate around the “Greek Freak” before the February NBA trade deadline.