Second-year head coach Jason Kidd will have to teach an inexperienced Bucks roster how to win. Ramon Sessions was good at drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line, but if he’s your best offensive player, then your team has a long way to go. Milwaukee also doesn’t have a low-post scoring presence. It’s not Henson, who mostly scores on putbacks and dunks, and doesn’t shoot with a lot of volume. It’s not Sanders, who has never been a terrific offensive player even when healthy. It’s not Ilyasova, who made just 44.6 percent of his two-point field goal attempts. The Bucks really don’t have anybody to fill that void. The only ingredient Milwaukee really has is the outside shooting, but that alone is hardly enough to make for an effective NBA offense. Khris Middleton and Mayo were both good Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images from long range but don’t have superior options to take defensive heat off them, or a point guard good enough to reliably create open shots for them. This is where Parker comes in. Milwaukee hopes Parker can eventually give them everything they’re missing as a team—the low-post scoring, the superstar presence, and the player who can command doubleteams. While Parker was a prolific scorer at Duke, he was also a volume shooter who was sometimes inefficient. Parker will need to improve his efficiency if he wants to develop into a true superstar at the NBA level. In the meantime, there won’t be much else to cheer about with Milwaukee’s offense. Parker will be exciting and Antetokounmpo will show occasional highlight reel moments, but Parker is a rookie and Antetokounmpo is still very rough around the edges. Milwaukee figures to have an offense that struggles to find its rhythm throughout the season. Outlook The best-case scenario in Milwaukee involves a team where Parker immediately embraces a role as the focal point of the team’s offense, Antetokounmpo breaks out into a talented two-way player, Sanders returns to the shotblocking force he was two seasons ago and Kidd grows quickly into his new role as the head coach of the Bucks. None of those things is particularly likely. Parker and Antetokounmpo are still works in progress. Sanders now has the injury-prone label to go along with the reputation of having a short temper. Kidd is inexperienced and will be challenged in working with an equally green roster that hasn’t really found its identity. Milwaukee has no true intention of competing for a playoff spot this year. The reality is that Milwaukee will likely finish with one of the league’s worst records and end up looking to score a high pick in the draft lottery. SPOTLIGHT: Jabari Parker Even before Parker stepped onto the court for the Duke Blue Devils, he was getting hyped up as a potential top overall draft pick. Parker was one of the players considered to be a main part of an extremely talented draft class, along with Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle. At Duke, Parker didn’t disappoint, scoring at a rate of 25 points per 40 minutes and flashing an inside-outside game with three point shots and low-post moves alike. While Parker’s defensive play and weight have both been concerns, the promise shown by his offensive game was more than enough for Milwaukee to select Parker with the second overall pick in the draft—and for pundits to hail the selection as a smart, safe pick. Parker will have to find his identity in the NBA. Is he a small forward or is he a stretch four? Can Parker play defense well enough to avoid being taken advantage of down low? Will Parker stay in shape and stay motivated on a losing Milwaukee team? The good news for Parker is that there’s no pressure on him right away. The Bucks are widely expected to be a lousy team and Milwaukee might be the NBA city with the least media scrutiny focused on it. In the long term, however, the hope is that Parker can be a superstar the Bucks can build around. With that in mind, it’s important for Parker to get his career started off on the right foot and show fans that he is indeed capable of becoming a franchise player.
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