2018-19 Season Preview: Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo decided against an invitation to work out with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason.

Coach: Mike Budenholzer (entering his first season with Milwaukee, his sixth overall, 213-197, .520).

Last Season: 44-38, lost in the first round of the playoffs to Boston, 4-3.

Key Returnees: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell, John Henson, Thon Maker.

Key Additions: Donte DiVincenzo (rookie, Villanova), Ersan Ilyasova (Philadelphia), Brook Lopez (LA Lakers), Pat Connaughton (Portland).

Key Losses: Jabari Parker (Chicago), Jason Terry.

Outlook: Giannis Antetokounmpo has three seasons left on his contract. Mike Budenholzer is his fourth coach in five years. In other words, the clock, albeit slowly, is ticking. The Bucks, despite firing Jason Kidd as coach last midseason and replacing him with interim coach Joe Prunty, pushed the Boston Celtics to the limit in the first round of the playoffs before bowing out in a Game 7 loss at TD Garden. Milwaukee gave its blessing to former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker’s departure, with Parker landing in Chicago. To replace him, the Bucks signed Ersan Ilyasova as a free agent. The Bucks also signed free-agent big man Brook Lopez to improve their frontcourt depth. They used the 17th overall pick the the draft to select Donte DiVincenzo, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Villanova. With Antetokounmpo’s emergence as one of the game’s true superstars and the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, etc., surrounding him, it will be interesting if Budenholzer’s presence helps to elevate the Bucks from a solid playoff team to one that competes with the likes of Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto in the East.