The Milwaukee Bucks were the Eastern Conference favorites last season before they got stunned by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs. They were the best team in the whole league during last regular season, but they had a historic playoff collapse. Despite that collapse, the Bucks should still be considered a favorite in the Eastern Conference this season led by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks currently sit third in the Eastern Conference standings with a 34-20 record. However, the Bucks are first in the Eastern Conference in terms of net rating, +6.5. They are an elite two-way team, playing at a similar level defensively as they did last year. The Bucks are perhaps in the best spot they have been in to win a championship.
Reason #1) New-Found Versatility
The Bucks had a major issue with versatility last season. They won in one way and only one way on both sides of the ball. They were a drop team on defense who couldn’t switch at all. This hurts their ability to guard pull-up shooting or players who could shoot off-movement. Offensively, they relied solely upon a fast-break offense headed by Giannis Antetokounmpo. They struggled to score in the half-court and it limited their utility in the playoffs.