The Milwaukee Bucks began their season looking ready to compete in the East. After defeating last year’s number one seed Boston Celtics on their home floor to get the 2017-2018 season started, the Bucks dropped their second game to the reigning East champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team moved on quickly though, and entering a nationally televised Halloween matchup with the newly revamped Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee held a record of 4-2. Russell Westbrook and company gave out no treats to the Bucks that night, scoring at will while locking things down on the defensive end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo found himself in early foul trouble, and nobody could pick up the slack for him as he sat on the bench for much of the first half. The offense went ice cold and never got out of their slump, with the Greek Freak finishing the game as Milwaukee’s only scorer in double figures with 28 points.
That clunker at home has seemed to send the team into a bit of a funk. The Bucks flew east for matchups with the Hornets and the Pistons, both resulting in losses. They have now lost three straight and are entering a tough stretch on their schedule. November presents nine road games for Milwaukee compared to just four games at home. To break their losing streak, they will have to go through either the Cavs or Spurs in their next two games, both on the road.
At 4-5, there is no reason for the Bucks to panic yet. They are just three and a half games back of the first place Celtics in the East, and have already shown they have what it takes to beat them. The beginning of the NBA season can be a crazy time, and often leads to some irrational speculation. With over 70 games to go, no team can be properly assessed just yet.
Milwaukee has to clean things up on both ends of the floor, and these first few weeks are a good way for the team to learn what needs extra work in practice. As of now, the Bucks rank second to last defending the three point shot, and are nineteenth in the league in opponents points per game. Last season, Coach Kidd had his group in the top ten in the league in both of these categories, so you would certainly expect both of these problems to work themselves out over the course of the season.
The bottom line is that the Bucks have more than enough talent and depth to win games in this league. The weaker Eastern Conference favors the Bucks, and with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, Milwaukee should be just fine. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon have both shown flashes of semi-stardom, and forward Jabari Parker should return to the court later this winter if his recovery continues on its successful path.
Even if the Bucks struggle through some more tough losses in November’s road games, things should straighten themselves over the course of the year. Playoffs are a long way away, and Jason Kidd is experienced enough to understand that there is no need to overblow any of the early season woes just yet.