Greater Expectations

Milwaukee Bucks adjust goals after strong season

Milwaukee+Bucks%27+Giannis+Antetokounmpo+swings+on+the+rim+after+throwing+down+a+two-handed+dunk+during+the+NBA+All-Star+Game+at+Spectrum+Center+in+Charlotte%2C+N.C.+on+Sunday%2C+February+17%2C+2019.+
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Greater Expectations

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo swings on the rim after throwing down a two-handed dunk during the NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo swings on the rim after throwing down a two-handed dunk during the NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo swings on the rim after throwing down a two-handed dunk during the NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo swings on the rim after throwing down a two-handed dunk during the NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2019.

Andrew Kicmol & Joe Craker, Editor in Chief & Sports Editor

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The Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA right now, and to the excitement of the city and fans all over Wisconsin, they are primed to make a deep playoff run for the first time in years.

The Bucks entered the season with a new head coach in Mike Budenholzer and were coming off a 44-win season and a first round knockout in the playoffs. Expectations coming in were nowhere near the finals.

The team this year was expected to compete for a playoff spot and to at least win a round of the playoffs but this year has seen a significant improvement for the team leaping them ahead in the rebuilding process and into the spotlight, led by MVP hopeful Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Senior Vice President for the Bucks Alex Lasry, son of co-owner Marc Lasry, spoke about the team at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association convention on March 7.

“Now getting just out of the first round, I don’t think it’d be … Just getting out of the first round wouldn’t be disastrous, but I think now our goals are probably better,” said Lasry of the season the Bucks have had.

Bucks fans are probably hoping now that the Bucks have their mind on the finals, at 55-19 as of March 25 the Bucks have a playoff spot already locked up along with a division title, and look to keep a hold on the No. 1 seed going into the post-season. And why wouldn’t they? It’s been quite the turnaround for the team.

Like NBA fans, The Clarion sports staff has started taking more notice of the Bucks. Andrew Kicmol and Joe Craker took time to share their perspectives.

Andrew: As someone who follows the Bucks marginally at best and needs something to convert me into a die-hard fan, this run of success is the perfect thing to get me on board.

Joe: As someone that has followed the team for quite some time, these expectations are a marked improvement from where they were during the Jason Kidd era.  Kid once said that fans’ expectations were too high. People thought he was wrong at the time, and the standings agree with that now.

Some fans might be worried about the ability of the Bucks to keep Giannis in Milwaukee, but Lasry is confident that if the team stays successful Giannis will be here for the long haul.

“If we’re good and we’re competing for a title like we are this year, there’s a good chance Giannis is going to want to stay here. There’s a good chance the other players will want to stay here,” said Lasry.  

Andrew: The one thing that I do know about the Bucks is that Giannis is a superstar. I certainly hope that Giannis stays, since he’s one of the few players that I know. If you have a winning team, it helps keep players.

Joe: From following him and some of his teammates on social media, you can tell the guy is happy where he is.  He is hungry to win a title here, with this team. I can’t see that changing soon.

Lasry also believes that this run for Milwaukee proves that they can compete with the big names out there.

“We personally subscribe to the belief that we can compete with New York or L.A. and any other city to get players because we’ve got the best facilities, we have the best culture, we have the best organization. … and we want to win,” said Lasry

Joe: It may be true that we have the best culture, but it is plain that Milwaukee does not have the immediate appeal that cities like L.A., Miami, or New York do.  That being said, I do think the winning mentality on display right now is enough.

Andrew: The Packers (last few years notwithstanding) and the Brewers last season were able to compete as a small market team against those big market cities like L.A. and New York. If it’s done right you can compete from a smaller market. The way the Bucks are doing things now, I think they can compete.

Lasry understands that when one professional team is doing well it’s good for the others as well.

“Our guys go to the Brewers playoff games. Brewers guys come to the Bucks playoff games. You’ve got the Packers coming to Bucks and Brewers games. We go to Packers games. It’s fun when you see this real family of sports teams,” said Lasry

Andrew: I can’t remember a time when all three professional teams were good. It’s usually one team that is lagging behind just trying for a playoff spot, while another team is making a title push. I would love to see all three teams win at the same title, one championship parade after another.  

Joe: It would be great for Milwaukee and the state to see the Brewers and Bucks both boast the MVP of their respective leagues.  Hopefully we can get the Packers to come back into the discussion sometime soon, but two for three ain’t bad.

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