AP picture

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo pose for an image throughout an NBA basketball media day Sept. 27 in Milwaukee.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks certain didn’t get a lot time to rejoice their first NBA championship n a half-century.

Just three months after Giannis Antetokoumpo’s 50-point efficiency secured a title-clinching victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Bucks can be elevating their championship banner and starting a brand new season on Oct. 19.

The offseason was notably transient for Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who left for Tokyo shortly after the championship parade and gained gold medals with the U.S. Olympic crew.

“It was crazy,” Holiday stated.

They bought just a bit time to come residence and relaxation earlier than starting the method of attempting to repeat. They understand the need of sustaining the identical tenacity that helped carry them to the franchise’s first championship since 1971.

The Bucks open the season towards the Brooklyn Nets, who would have eradicated them within the second spherical of the 2021 playoffs if Kevin Durant’s foot hadn’t crept throughout the 3-point arc whereas making a shot in Game 7.

“It’s a challenge,” Middleton stated. “I think we have to find a way to stay hungry, not be satisfied by what we accomplished last year, to find a way to do it again.”

Throughout their championship run, the Bucks had been pushed by their previous postseason failures. The Bucks not have that as incentive however say they’ll stay as motivated as ever.

“Teams are going to be coming for us,” Antetokounmpo stated. “But we have to have that hunter mentality ourselves.”

Milwaukee returned many of the key gamers from final season, although P.J. Tucker left for the Miami Heat and Bryn Forbes rejoined the San Antonio Spurs.

They added Grayson Allen, Semi Ojeleye and George Hill to their bench.

That depth could possibly be examined.

The Bucks may have to monitor their prime gamers early within the season as a result of that they had so little relaxation throughout this abbreviated offseason.

Antetokounmpo, who hyperextended his left knee within the Eastern Conference finals, says he feels good however can be cautious together with his knee early within the season. The Bucks additionally should be sure they don’t overwork Holiday and Middleton after their busy offseason.

“They’re usually pretty good at being able to read guys and their bodies,” Holiday stated. “Not only that, they’re good at maintenance and maintaining.”

Milwaukee hopes preaching warning early leads to one other memorable end.

“It was a storybook ending for us, right?” guard Pat Connaughton stated. “But stories have sequels. Stories have trilogies. At the end of the day, it’s about continuing the next story, continuing the next book.”

DiVINCENZO’S COMEBACK

The Bucks are banking on a profitable return from Donte DiVincenzo, who tore a left ankle ligament in a first-round playoff sequence with Miami and missed the remainder of the postseason. DiVincenzo began 66 video games and averaged 10.4 factors final season.

WELCOMING ALLEN

Allen didn’t precisely get a heat reception from native followers when the Bucks acquired him from Memphis through the offseason. They bear in mind how Allen ruined Wisconsin’s nationwide championship goals by scoring 16 factors as Duke beat the Badgers 68-63 within the 2015 NCAA Tournament remaining.

“When I was first traded, 30 minutes later, I would say about 80% of my mentions were angry Wisconsin fans not happy I was coming to Milwaukee,” Allen stated.

HILL’S RETURN

This marks Hill’s second stint in Milwaukee. He performed for the Bucks from 2018-20 and supplied high quality 3-point capturing off the bench earlier than getting included within the four-team commerce that introduced Holiday to Milwaukee.

“They had to make that trade to get a guy like Jrue, which is a no-brainer in every situation,” Hill stated. “He’s the best point guard in the league in many people’s eyes. There’s no hard feelings.”

Hill additionally was one of many leaders of the Bucks’ 2020 protest within the bubble that led to a brief postponement of NBA playoff video games.

PUTTING UP POINTS

The Bucks are coming off a season through which they scored 120.1 factors per sport. That made them the NBA’s highest-scoring crew since 1983-84, when the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs each exceeded that common.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY FOR BUDENHOLZER

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is aware of the calls for concerned in attempting to win a second straight NBA title. Budenholzer was a part of 4 NBA championship groups with San Antonio whereas working as an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s workers from 1996-2013.

Those Spurs groups by no means gained back-to-back titles.

“You acknowledge that, yes, it is different,” Budenholzer stated. “There are going to be things that are a little bit unique following a championship. But there’s going to be a lot of things that are very much the same – the competitive nature of the league, the way people are going to come after you. I think our players always embrace that competition and the need to kind of raise to that level.”




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