Fans who pulled the trigger on betting on basketball on the Milwaukee Bucks at SBG Global sportsbook last season ended up like deer caught in the headlights. In spite of a promising 2014-15 campaign and group of very young and very skilled players, the Bucks finished 2015-16 with a 33-49 records and failed to qualify to the playoffs. Nevertheless, general manager John Hammond stuck to his gut and unearthed another obscure player in the 2016 NBA draft. In 2013, it was Grecian Giannis Antetokounmpo; this year, it’s Australian/Sudanese Thon Maker. Hammond is pretty much the Brangelina of professional basketball.
Hammond’s instinct can’t be denied, though. Antetokounmpo (15th pick of the first round in 2013) posted the best numbers of his three-year pro career in 2015-16, averaging 16.9 points, 1,4 blocks, 4.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and 35.3 minutes per game in 80 regular season games. Jabari Parker (2nd pick of the first round in 2014) recorded 14.1 points, 1,7 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 31.7 minutes per game in 76 regular season games in 2015-16. And Rashad Vaughn (17th pick of the first round in 2015)… well, he was kind of a letdown – as was Michael Carter-Williams – with only 3.1 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 70 regular season games, but what about Khris Middleton? The 24 year old shooting guard recorded 18.2 points, 1.3 steals, 2.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 36.1 minutes per game in 79 regular season games in 2015-16. Not bad.
One of the Bucks’ biggest problems is rebounding. Milwaukee finished 25th in the league in that department – and 29th on the defensive end of the boards. Individually, Greg Monroe was the team’s rebounding leader 8.8 boards; compare that to league leader Detroit’s Andre Drummond’s 14.8 rebounds per game. The Bucks need big men who can rebound. Thon Maker is big at 7’1” but can he rebound, is what people betting on basketball want to know. And the answer is, who knows? According to NBA.com, he has “defensive upside,” whatever that means. And in any case, Maker will have to spend some time in the D-League honing his skills, which don’t seem to have improved much since he burst onto the scene when he became only the second player to enter the NBA draft from high school since 2005. The potential is there, though, for a team that’s willing to wait.
In fact, both maker and the Bucks’ other draft pick, Malcolm Brogdon (36th pick in the second round) – as well as undrafted free agent Terran Petteway – have been highlights in Milwaukee’s Summer League games. And since those games have been mostly losses, highlights are very much welcomed. The Bucks have also added guard Matthew Dellavedova in a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dellavedova – an asset in the Cavs championship win – shot .410 from the 3-point line in 2015-16, which might help address another of Milwaukee’s shortcomings. All in all, Bucks fans who enjoy betting on basketball at SBG Global sportsbook should remain optimistic for the upcoming season.