2012-13 MILWAUKEE BUCKS SEASON PREVIEW
Fresh off a third place finish in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference and a 31-35 record, the Milwaukee Bucks just narrowly missed making the playoffs after falling four games behind the eventual eighth seed, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bucks have been slowly but surely building a contending roster throughout the past several years and the squad seems poised to take that next leap into the playoffs in the foreseeable future. The Bucks should see a marked improvement during the 2012-13 season, as new players like Monta Ellis and Epke Udoh have had a year to play with one another and should be ready to put together a serious run at the playoffs.
The Bucks had a surprisingly active offseason, unloading the contracts of players like Shaun Livingston, Carlos Delfino and Jon Leuer, the latter of which was a surprising move after Leuer's solid season during the 2011-12 campaign. The team made a move to trade for Samuel Dalembert, who is expected to be the squad's starting center heading into the year. Additionally, the team also added Joel Przybilla to provide additional depth at the position. Ultimately, the Bucks have placed a premium on size in the paint and have one of the most talented groupings of centers and forwards in the NBA. In the draft, the Bucks added additional size with North Carolina's John Henson, and may have gotten a steal with their second round pick, guard Doron Lamb from Kentucky.
Looking at the Bucks' starting lineup, it all starts at the point with guard Brandon Jennings and shooting guard Monta Ellis, one of the most dynamic scoring duos in the league. They will be backed up by talented youngsters like Lamb, Marquis Daniels and Beno Udrih. At forward, the Bucks have an embarrassment of riches, including starters Tobias Harris and Ersan Ilyasova. While the team has plenty of talent at the position, they have tried in earnest in past years to try and find a group that will complement each other's talents for the better of the team.
As the 2012-13 season kicks off, the Bucks have the pieces in place to be a surprise contender, but it may take a breakout performance from someone unexpected for them to get to the playoffs. Right now, the Bucks have some nice pieces in place with Jennings, Ellis, Dalembert and others, and if they can put it all together, the Eastern Conference should look out!
MILWAUKEE BUCKS FRANCHISE FACTS:
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Stadium: Bradley Center
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: Central Division
Notable Players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Lanier
Milwaukee Bucks Championship Titles: 1
Milwaukee Bucks Conference Titles: 2
Milwaukee Bucks Playoff tickets
Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview History
MILWAUKEE BUCKS EXPERIENCE:
The Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA during the 1968-69 season as an expansion team and brought professional basketball back to the state of Wisconsin almost a decade after the Hawks flew the coop to play in St. Louis. While the Bucks stumbled out of the gate in their first few years as most expansion teams do, there were immediate signs that the squad was coming together.
Before the 1969-70 season, the Bucks drafted UCLA star Lew Alcindor (who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors by putting up 28.8 points per game and grabbing an astounding 14.5 rebounds per game. The Bucks posted an impressive 56-26 record and made quick work of the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs before falling to the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
During the 1970-71 season, the team was comprised of an incredible mix of savvy veterans and young talent, which led to an NBA championship win. Before the season, the team traded for Oscar Robertson, who helped Lew Alcindor earn MVP honors that season. Sporting a 66-16 record, the Bucks cruised into the playoffs and made quick work of the San Francisco Warriors in five games. In the next series, the Bucks made Wilt Chamberlain utterly ineffective and dropped the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. In the NBA Finals, the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets in four games, making them the fastest expansion team to win a title in professional basketball history.
Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before the 1971-72 season and the Bucks enjoyed his stellar play throughout the mid '70s. After Abdul-Jabbar left for the Lakers in 1975, the team experienced some success throughout the late '70s and early '80s and won a number of division titles, but never found a way to take home another championship. Even though the Bucks haven't been able to recapture the magic that allowed them to hit the ground running once they entered the league, they are still one of the more competitive teams in the Eastern Conference. With a sports-crazed city behind them and a front office that has made a number of positive personnel decisions throughout the 2000s, there may be another banner hanging from the rafters in the near future.
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