Back for another season. The Milwaukee Bucks played their first home preseason game of the 2019-2020 season on Wednesday night and gave the home crowd a show, dismantling the Utah Jazz 133-99.
While this was the second preseason game of the year so far, this was the first with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, and Khris Middleton. This was the game Bucks’ fans were waiting for. With all of the changes that occurred in the offseason, we all wanted to see how the entire team would look together on the floor.
To put it simply, Milwaukee looked dominant. Every facet of the game was clicking and coach Budenholzer had the time to play SEVENTEEN total players currently on the roster. It was everything we could hope for. I know, it’s a preseason game. Still, Utah played their entire roster as well and didn’t take the night off intentionally.
Giannis is the rising face of the NBA and he picked up where he left off in his MVP season. From the tip, the Greek Freak played like it was the regular season. In the first quarter alone, he put up 11 points and six rebounds. Giannis played a total of 21 minutes and finished with 22 points/11 rebounds/4 assists and a few highlight plays including a windmill dunk where he nearly hurt himself on the landing. With the game nearly through the third quarter, coach Bud rightfully took Giannis out to protect him from himself.
The supporting cast for Giannis had a lot of bright sides too. The Lopez brothers are looking really fun to watch. Their coverage of the defensive paint and the combination of Brook’s deep shot and Robin’s post moves is a powerful force. Kyle Korver ended his night 3/3 from deep and showcased his very quick release, something the Bucks have lacked in the past.
Donte DiVincenzo is back from injury and looking as healthy as a 22-year-old should look after the foot injury that ended his season early last year. I and a lot of other people think that he has potential for a breakout year. With the absence of Malcolm Brogdon, there’s a lot of minutes left to go around even with the addition of Wes Matthews. Pat Connaughton showed he could play in spurts last year but I think the Bucks hope Donte can be a long term answer for the guard position along with Bledsoe.
Getting deeper into the bench, Thanasis Antetokounmpo has definitely brought attention to himself outside of his relation to Giannis. He plays with a very similar energy to his brother but doesn’t have the size or skills of the Freak himself which can be good and bad. The good is he has a lot of offensive potential and can finish well while also being super athletic on the defensive end.
All of these assets come with the baggage of his lack of playing in a system like Milwaukee plays. He has shown to get a little out of position on defense from time to time and can create confusion among the team. Even with the struggles, it’s still very early in the season and there’s plenty of time to continue to mesh with the team.
One guy that has impressed that no one expected is Rayjon Tucker. He will most likely spend a majority of not all of his season in the G-League or possibly another organization but he has shown through the first two games that he’s on a level above all the rest of the fringe roster guys. He has shown defensive instincts that put him in positions to take the ball away over and over along with finishing at the rim through contact.
It’s just the first home game of preseason, but I’m immensely excited for the Bucks to be back. For the first time in my lifetime, there aren’t just championship hopes, there are championship expectations. And with Giannis’ impending free agency, this season means all the more to the future state of Milwaukee basketball.
The Deer will travel to Dallas for their next preseason game on this Friday at 7:30 p.m.