After growing up late in the regular season, Milwaukee Box looks like they have a strong chance to repeat as NBA champions.
They led the young and talented Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, but lost their second best player Chris Middleton in the process.
Still, against the red-hot Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Giannis Antetokunampo kept his team in a winning position, even after blowing up Game 4.
But after taking a 3-2 lead in the series, the Greek freak left the box series despite 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists in Game 6.
In hindsight, the absence of Middleton, who had probably poured some cold water on the Boston assembly at least one late, was the main reason Milwaukee watched the rest of the playoffs rather than their participation.
But this offseason, next year will have to go out and get a certain kind of player to regain the world title.
A strong bench is required
Coming this season, the reserve corps in the box looked tough, but against Boston, it looked like it needed some strengthening.
Big man Bobby Portis had some great games in the post-season, Wesley Mathews had some moments where he neutralized Jason Tatum, and Pat Canton gave the team some perfect outside shots.
But the team doesn’t have a valid backup point guard that the team can run and the boys can get a simple look.
George Hill was supposed to be that guy, but did almost nothing against the Celtics, averaging (not to be mistaken) 1.0 points in 20.0 percent shooting and 0.6 assists in 15.2 minutes per game, as well as a defensive liability.
Tatum victim George Hill: pic.twitter.com/ItmYBs96lt
– Half Court Hoops (HafCourTHops) May 10, 2022
The only other point guard in the rotation, Javon Carter, a 6-foot-1 guy from West Virginia in his fourth season, was also non-factor, as he gave the box only 2.1 points and 0.9 assists in 11.5 minutes postseason
One of the biggest advantages of such a player
During the Celtics series, Antetokounmpo played extremely well overall, but he had to work very hard for his shots, especially as Middleton was out of uniform.
For Boston’s formidable defense, only Antetocunampo and starting point guard Juru Holiday have to worry about, nothing was easier for Milwaukee.
But another distributor coming out of the bench may change the color of the offense in the box a bit.
Perhaps, from time to time, a player, including Box Holiday, would go to the backcourt, which would probably put more pressure on the defense and take an easy shot for the Greek freak.
When Middleton returns, he too will be the beneficiary of such a player.
For a glimpse of how it might work, check out Rajan Rondo’s influence at the Los Angeles Lakers two seasons ago.
With a ball-handler and table-settler other than LeBron James, Rondo allows the Lakers to experience improvements in speed and offensive production when he arrives.
Suddenly, James doesn’t always have to be the one who pushed the ball to the upcourt and made it for himself or others, just as Rondo took that responsibility.
– NBA (BANBA) November 4, 2018
This was a significant factor in the Lakers winning the NBA title that year.