Look, the Milwaukee Bucks are going to win this series; that’s not a debate. However, the Bucks are coming into the playoffs with a lot more questions than answers even as a dominant one seed in the Eastern Conference.
Yes, the Bucks possessed the best offense in the league and a top-10 defense, but there are two key categories that raise major red flags for me coming into the postseason: turnovers and free-throw percentage. Milwaukee was 25th in the regular season for turnovers per game and fourth-worst in free-throw percentage.
In a game where transition offense can be a make or break of an outcome, Milwaukee cannot afford to turn the ball over the way they have this season, especially against teams with many scoring options like the Magic. There is no excuse for Milwaukee to have a 74.2 free-throw percentage. If they can’t make free throws when they need to, how do they expect to beat the depth of teams like the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat or Toronto Raptors?
If it was not for the generational talent of Giannis Antetokounmpo, would Milwaukee even be a top-four team in the east?
I am not in love with the depth of the Bucks. Khris Middleton still has to prove himself as a true No. 2 option to Antetokounmpo after an average postseason performance last year. Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez have also seen their points per game decline slightly this season. The question still looms on how Milwaukee will play if Antetokoumnpo is neutralized.
One has to feel for the Orlando Magic this season after the loss of Jonathan Isaac to a torn ACL. The young forward was averaging over 10 points per game, which is what six other players for Orlando are doing.
Do not be surprised if the Magic end up stealing a game or two with their surprising depth, which includes stable, savvy veteran Nikola Vucevic(19.6 PPG), Evan Fournier(18.5 PPG), and Aaron Gordon(14.4 PPG). Scoring-wise, the Magic have more depth than the Bucks but no one is going to have an answer for Antetokounmpo.
Prediction: Bucks in 5