26) Milwaukee Bucks 38-44 in 2012-2013. 8th in the East. 3rd in the Central.
The Bucks managed to make the playoffs last year, and then decided to completely makeover the team. They sent guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings to new teams, and built an intriguing team of veterans and youngsters alike. With a lot of teams tanking away, especially in the East, Milwaukee could surprise people. But the new chemistry of the team could be the biggest key for the Bucks.
Acquired: OJ Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, Brandon Knight, Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino, Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal
Lost: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, JJ Redick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Samuel Dalembert, Drew Gooden
Starters: Brandon Knight (PG), OJ Mayo (SG), Caron Butler (SF), Ersan Ilyasova (PF), Larry Sanders (C)
Bench: John Henson (PF), Luke Ridnour (PG), Carlos Delfino (SF), Zaza Pachulia (C), Gary Neal (SG)
Up: Larry Sanders - Sanders came out of what seemed like nowhere last year to help power the Bucks to the playoffs. A superior defensive threat on this team and one of the only pieces the Bucks decided to keep, now Sanders will have to be the building block for the Bucks to make progress in the NBA for the future.
Down: Caron Butler - What a tough career Caron has had. After injuring himself the year the Mavericks won the NBA title, Caron has been on the move quite a bit. While the time he had on the Clippers didn't work out well, he's hoping for another chance in Milwaukee. He'll have to try and find the old spark to make a strong contribution to this new look Bucks team.
X-Factor: Ersan Ilyasova - Other than Sanders, the only other piece kept by the Bucks was Ersan. His long range threat and work on the boards was key to helping the Bucks make some noise last year. Now with a new crew to work with, Ilyasova will have to keep up his dynamic game. While he's not a "star", he's a very solid starter who will make a big difference on this team.
Question to Ponder...What's the ceiling for Larry Sander's Career?
I love Larry's defensive game, but while the Bucks are trying to build a solid team around Sanders, they might wanna consider what the true ceiling is for Sanders. Does he have the potential to be a superstar? Just a star? Simply a defensive guru? The Bucks are going to have to figure out what Larry Sanders could become to help build around him and help him reach the full potential of his game...whatever that is.
Bold Prediction for the Bucks: The Bucks will be in the Top 5 in the NBA as a team in 3-Pointers Made
Look at all the shooters on this team. Ilyasova, Butler, Mayo, Knight, Delfino, Ridnour and Neal. The list is quite a deadly one from downtown, and with Ilyasova and Sander's inside game, the three's will be there for the Bucks. I would expect the Bucks not just to take a lot of long range shots, but make a ton of them as well, putting them in at least the Top-5 in the entire NBA in 3-Pointers.
Projected Record: 27-55 12th in the East, 5th in the Central.