The Milwaukee Bucks are 47-30 and currently second place in the East.

For most teams, this would be an ideal position and even a landmark season.

However, this Milwaukee franchise, one that won the NBA championship just three years ago, came into this campaign hoping for much more.

Last September’s trade that brought in eight-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard to pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo was supposed to re-establish them as legitimate title contenders. When they got off to a shaky start to the season, they believed that firing rookie head coach Adrian Griffin and replacing him with Doc Rivers would right the ship.

Instead, they have gone 15-16 under Rivers–compared with 30-13 under Griffin–as the team has progressively grown worse with each passing week. They have lost five of their last six games dating back to the last week of March, including three consecutive losses to three lottery-bound teams in the Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzlies, and Toronto Raptors to kick off April.


While each of their last three losses were competitive ones, a team with championship aspirations like Milwaukee has no business losing to teams such as the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Raptors. As a matter of fact, Toronto came into their match having lost 15 consecutive games which only makes the Bucks’ loss to them even more frustrating.

They did play with only one of Antetokounmpo or Lillard in those three games, but the rest of their roster should have been more than able to fill in for them and win the game, especially since they were against weaker opponents. This is the type of behavior that is expected from contenders and these recent results have made it clear that Milwaukee still has a ways to go before they can be taken seriously in the title discussion.

The Bucks will have to shape up if they want to avoid an early exit in the upcoming postseason as their first round match-up is not going to be a walk in the park. If the standings do not change meaningfully over these last two weeks of the regular season, Milwaukee will finish as the second seed which means that they have to face either the Miami Heat or Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

Both the Heat and Sixers are much better than their current seeding suggests as they have been saddled with injuries over the past few months. Now that they are healthy once again though, they have shown much improved form over the past few days and could pose major problems for the Bucks in the first round. It could be argued that these three teams–Milwaukee, Miami, and Philadelphia–are of equal quality as presently constructed and a seven game series could legitimately go one way or the other.

It will be interesting to see how these next few weeks play out for the Bucks as a disastrous showing could lead to a major shake-up come the offseason. This team was built to win now, yet they have crumbled at the worst time possible and this poor stretch may ultimately lead to the dismantling of this group. What was once a promising team looks like it is now heading towards a good old fashioned dismantling.