Milwaukee Bucks

Count the Milwaukee Bucks as a default inclusion. Their offseason dealings alone do not guarantee they’ll vacate the underachiever throne, but they have the best player in the East, Giannis Antetokounmpo, following James’ latest exit.

They can’t not be here.nfl jerseys cheap nike

It helps that they’ve shown flashes of being an elite team. They deployed six lineups last season that logged at least 90 total minutes and outpaced opponents by six or more points per 100 possessions. No other squad had more than five of those arrangements (Toronto Raptors).

This concentrated punch is not unsustainable. Antetokounmpo is a top-five star, and he’s flanked by two could-be top-35 talents, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton. That depth of fringe-star power matters.

Handing this top-heavy nucleus to head coach Mike Budenholzer put the Bucks in business before they made any additions to the roster. He is an upgrade over his predecessor, Jason Kidd, on both ends. The defense will adopt a more disciplined approach, and the offense will be more inventive with its spacing, ball movement, player motion and shot selection.nfl nike jerseys cheap

Landing Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez is essentially gravy. Both have the three-point range Milwaukee’s center carousel has lacked outside of the enigmatic Thon Maker. The Bucks can now deploy four-out lineups around Antetokounmpo without stretching the definition of “four” or “out.”

Neither Ilyasova nor Lopez is a stonewalling rim protector. That could be an issue. Milwaukee surrendered shots around the hoop more often than any other defense, per Cleaning The Glass.nike nfl jersey cheap

But Budenholzer’s teams have generally limited point-blank looks without a suffocating shot-swatter. The 2015-16 Atlanta Hawks were the only one of his squads to finish lower than 14th in opponent shot frequency at the rim, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Jabari Parker’s future is up in the air for the moment, but the outcome to his restricted free agency doesn’t impact the Bucks’ standing. Their roster is a cleaner fit without him given how much he’s struggled beside Antetokounmpo. If he returns cheap nfl jerseys nike , Milwaukee has a top-shelf scoring prospect who might survive short stints at the 5 in Budenhozler’s system.