The Bucks lost their opening game in unspectacular fashion last night. The first three quarters it wasn’t really even a game, not to mention, it was pretty rough to watch. Charlotte was up fifteen at halftime, and it looked like they were going to run away with it by the fourth, but the Bucks mounted a mini comeback, making it interesting and competitive in the fourth.
Coming into the season, the Bucks biggest weaknesses were perimeter shooting, a true point guard on the roster, and a productive rim protector/rebounder.
The Bucks shot under 20% from three (3/16). Dellevedova had three assists in 29 minutes. The Bucks only accrued five blocks, half as many as the Hornets.
So basically, all of the Bucks weaknesses that we knew about came out in the first game of the season.
And in all reality, the first game of the season is all it was. One of eighty-two. There is a long way to go for the Bucks. There were even some really encouraging things.
Giannis was a monster. He looked exactly what a guy should look like after they received a four-year, 100 million dollar extension. Giannis dropped 31 points on 21 shots, making it look easy all night. Once he got in the paint he finished in a variety of creative ways, which is exactly what makes him special when you combine it with his size and speed. In addition to his 31 points, he had nine rebounds and five assists. The Greek Freak even knocked down a couple of jumpers and looked pretty damn comfortable doing so.
Pretty much everyone else they spent money on this offseason left a lot to be desired. Plumlee managed to total zero points, one rebound, one assist, and one block in eight minutes. Delly and Telly combined for 15 points (8/22 from the field), 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Delly looked okay and can fit with this team, and for Teletovic, it just didn’t work out last night. He was 0-5 from the three point line on some pretty good looks, and you’d have to imagine he’s going to knock them down other nights.
Jabari didn’t quite make the opening night statement that Bucks fans were hoping for. He played decent, scoring 13 points, grabbing 6 boards, and notching 3 assists. The most disappointing thing about Jabari, and he did this a lot last year too, is he just wasn’t aggressive enough. Jabari needs to be taking more than nine shots a game, especially with Middleton out for the forseeable future. There is no circumstance, in any world, where Jabari should average less than 15 shots a night with this roster.
Most surprisingly from night one, however, was a no show from Thon Maker, who got a DNP. He played quite a bit during preseason, playing pretty well at times. He started a few games even. It was just kind of a head scratcher that, even with the game being a blow out for awhile, Kidd didn’t find any time for him on opening night.
As one rookie underwhelmed (although not by his choice), one rookie surprised. Malcolm Brogdon didn’t do a whole lot of scoring, as he only scored eight points on eight shots, but he did have five rebounds and five assists, leading the team in assists. For the most part, Brogdon looked like he belonged on his opening night in the NBA, which isn’t something you can say for a lot of second-round rookies. The only bench player that played more than Brogdon’s 21 was Greg Monroe. He pretty much took Rashad Vaughn’s minutes and Brogdon was one of the first people off the bench. Kidd must really like him, and as far as I’ve seen from summer league, preseason, and opening night, it’s hard to blame him.
The first game of the season doesn’t define a season. Honestly, it basically means absolutely nothing.
But anyone that was expecting the Bucks to still be a lock for the playoffs after Middleton’s injury probably just got a major wake up call. Scoring is going to be tough to come by sometimes, because that’s how it is when you don’t have any knockdown shooters.