There have been some interesting storylines surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason. The 2018-19 MVP accepted his award humbly and gave an emotional speech before telling ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he’s only reached “60% of his potential.” Uh-oh. Then, the Milwaukee Bucks went out and made a splash in free agency, signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. As one of the best shooters in the world, he’s a worthy mentor and has been helping the Greek Freak to develop his jumper. Uh-oh. And then, NBA coaches and executives went ahead and voted Kawhi Leonard as the best player in the league. Because why not incite the 25-year-old Milwaukee mainstay to play even better this year?
2018-2019 Record: 60-22
Reigning Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer worked his magic in Milwaukee, leading to a commanding first place finish in the East. Losing Malcolm Brogdon hurts, but the Bucks have a deep lineup that can work to fill the void. Key offseason moves help to make this possible, and the Bucks should continue their three-point hoisting and Giannis-centric ways.
Eric Bledsoe has been a consistent fantasy producer over the years, finishing as the 14th, 8th, and 11th player from 2017 to 2019 (via FantasyData.com). The playing time is guaranteed, scoring is solid, contributes in all the categories, and he’s cut down the turnover rate. His one weakness, though, is three-point efficiency. George Hill doesn’t hold much fantasy value and will split time between the two guard positions.
This is such a deep position for Milwaukee, and it remains to be seen who will play the bulk of the minutes. It’s safe to say that Donte DiVincenzo is at the back of the herd. Wes Matthews signed on for this season and might be the starting two, but 12 points per game, a couple of threes, and nothing else across the board isn’t too exciting. Speaking of scoring off threes and not much else… Kyle Korver. The 38-year-old will keep doing his thing but won’t be a fantasy asset. Pat Connaughton hits the long ball and is a decent rebounder. Sterling Brown is the wild card and could be the one to assume a larger role down the road with the guidance of the Bucks’ many veterans, but he won’t be valuable enough for fantasy this season.
Small Forward: Khris Middleton and Thanasis Antetokounmpo
After landing a cool 5-year, $70 million contract, Khris Middleton is the man, even though the All-Star doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. I love Tobias Harris, but Middleton is arguably more meaningful to his team and is making over $15 million less per year. He’s also going to be a solid fantasy contributor again, dumping in around 20 points per contest and giving you great value in every category besides blocks. Thanasis Antetokounmpo is, unfortunately, not the Antetokounmpo brother that Giannis says is going to be better than him. But a cool signing nonetheless, especially if he can develop into something big.
Freak: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Just out of mere curiosity, I want to take Giannis Antetokounmpo’s statement to the calculator and see what his true “full potential” is if last year’s campaign was just 60%. His statline would look like this: 46.2 ppg, 20.8 rpg, and 9.9 apg. He’s not gonna do this. At least I don’t think so, but he will likely make another MVP run. If Korver works his magic in their training sessions, then it’s all over. At only 25 years old, there is no limit to his game.
All these guys are backups to Giannis, and none of them are worth rostering. Ersan Ilyasova can hit a three per game and grab some boards, but his playing time will probably be under 20 minutes per contest. DJ Wilson is more of a traditional big man, who can get some boards, but will also play an insignificant fantasy role.
The second sibling duo in Milwaukee is a little bit taller and a whole lot goofier looking. But they’re both going to help the Bucks at the five in opposite ways. Brook Lopez rains threes, as 65% of his attempts came from beyond the arc last season where he converted at a 36% clip. His 187 makes from deep led all centers by a pretty good margin. He was also among the leaders in blocks at 2.2 per game. However, all this comes with incredibly low rebounding numbers for a big man. Robin Lopez will back him up, providing typical backup center numbers. Not worth a pick for fantasy.