Bucks off-season moves reveal more three-point bombs coming next season
Based on the moves the Milwaukee Bucks have made this off-season, it appears that not reaching the NBA Finals last season won’t stop them from staying the course with their style of play. Anyone thinking that missing out on an NBA title would force the team to adjust their offensive strategy can forget that thought.
Although the team lost a couple of three-point weapons in Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell, the signing of Wes Matthews Jr. and Kyle Korver shows the team is committed to having three-point shooters in the starting line-up and coming off the bench.
Last season the Bucks set a team record with five different players making 75 or more three-pointers during the season (Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brodgon and Tony Snell). That broke the record of four players with 75+ made three-pointers in a season (it happened four seasons, 2016-17, 2012-13, 2010-11 and 2002-03). In addition, the team last year had eight players who attempted 150 or more shots from beyond the arc, again a team record. The eight: Lopez, Middleton, Bledsoe, Brogdon, Snell, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton and Ersan Ilyasova. Seven players attempted 150 or more three-pointers in 2016-17, the previous mark: Giannis, Brodgon, Snell, Matthew Delavedova, Jabari Parker, Mirza Teletovic and Jason terry.
Replacing Brogdon and Snell will be the aforementioned Matthews and Korver. Here is what they bring to the team from three-point range:
- Matthews was 150-for-403 (37.2%) from beyond the arc last season. In his 10-year NBA career, Matthews has made 75 or more threes in nine of those seasons and he has attempted 150 or more threes in all 10 of his seasons. He has played 60 or more games in each of his 10 campaigns and he is a career .382 three-point shooter.
- Korver is recognized as one of the league’s top long-distance shooters. He was 113-for-294 (38.4%) on threes last season. In his 16-year NBA career he has made 75 or more threes in 15 of those seasons and he has attempted 150 or more threes in 15 of his 16 campaigns. A durable competitor, Korver has played 65 or more games in all but one of his 16 NBA campaigns. He is a career .429 three-point shooter. An added benefit is that Korver played under current Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta; not only that, but in four NBA seasons Korver led the league with the highest three-point shooting percentage… three of those four seasons were in Atlanta playing for Budenholzer.
One downside of the Matthews and Korver signings is that both players are in their 30’s; Korver will be 38 next season and Matthews will be 33. Brogdon is still relatively young in NBA years and will be 26 when the next season begins.
Here’s another interesting stat about Matthews and Korver: Of all NBA players who have attempted 1,000 or more threes in a career, Korver ranks sixth all-time with his three-point career shooting percentage of .429. The five players ahead of Korver are Steve Kerr, Hubert Davis, Stephen Curry, Jason Kapono and Steve Novak. Matthews is in the Top 100 in this list tied for 88th. The only current Bucks player on the list is Khris Middleton who’s .388 career three-point shooting percentage is tied for 62nd on the list.
Bottom line… the Bucks have filled their roster with more three-point shooters for next season. Now imagine what will happen if Brook Lopez can teach his brother, Robin, a new Bucks signee, to step back and launch some threes.
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Giannis and Coach Bud lift NBA hardware
For the 14th time in NBA history, the NBA MVP and the Coach of the Year were from the same team. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer were recently selected as the league’s best player and coach.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, success in the form of a championship did not materialize. In fact, of the now 14 times that a player and coach from the same team won POY and Coach honors in a season, only four times has that player and coach hoisted a championship trophy at the end of the season.
The last time it happened was in 2003 when Tim Duncan won the league MVP and his coach, Gregg Popovich, was selected as the Coach of the Year. Their team, the San Antonio Spurs, also won the title that season.
Here’s a look at the 14 times when a team had the league MVP and Coach of the Year (also noted is how well the team did in the playoffs that season).
1965: Boston, MVP-Bill Russell, Coach-Red Auerbach (won NBA title)
1966: Philadelphia, MVP-Wilt Chamberlain, Coach-Dolph Schayes (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)
1969: Baltimore, MVP-Wes Unseld, Coach-Gene Shue (lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals)
1970: New York Knicks, MVP-Willis Reed, Coach-Red Holzman (won NBA title)
1973: Boston, MVP-Dave Cowens, Coach-Tom Heinsohn (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)
1990: Los Angeles Lakers, MVP-Magic Johnson, Coach-Pat Riley (lost in the Western Conference Semifinals)
1996: Chicago, MVP-Michael Jordan, Coach-Phil Jackson (won NBA title)
2001: Philadelphia, MVP-Allen Iverson, Coach-Larry Brown (lost in the NBA Finals)
2003: San Antonio, MVP-Tim Duncan, Coach-Gregg Popovich (won NBA title)
2005: Phoenix, MVP-Steve Nash, Coach-Mike D’Antoni (lost in the Western Conference Finals)
2009: Cleveland, MVP-LeBron James, Coach-Mike Brown (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)
2011: Chicago, MVP-Derrick Rose, Coach-Tom Thibodeau (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)
2016: Golden State, MVP-Steph Curry, Coach-Steve Kerr (lost in the NBA Finals)
2019: Milwaukee, MVP-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Coach-Mike Budenholzer (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)
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Bucks and Budenholzer have a 60-win season in their sights
With a league-best 47-14 record and 21 games left to play in the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks have a legitimate chance to win 60 games in a season for only the fifth time in franchise history. The Bucks won 60 or more in 1970-71 (66 wins), 1971-72 (63 wins), 1972-73 (60 wins) and in 1980-81 (60 wins). To reach the 60-win milestone this season, the Bucks would have to win at least 13 of their remaining 21 games.
Getting 60 wins this season would also be a big deal for Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Back in 2014-15, Coach Bud won 60 games in his second season at the helm of the Atlanta Hawks. A 60-win season with the Bucks would make Budenholzer only the seventh coach in NBA history to win 60 or more games in a season with two or more different franchises.
Hall of Famer coach Pat Riley holds the league record with 60-win seasons with three different franchises. He won 60 with the Lakers, Miami and the Knicks.
Here is a look at the six coaches who have won 60 or more games in a season with two or more franchises.
K.C. Jones: Boston (1984, 1985, 1986)… Washington (1975)
Phil Jackson: Chicago (1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998)… L.A. Lakers (2000, 2009)
Don Nelson: Dallas (2003)… Milwaukee (1981)
Mike D’Antoni: Houston (2018), Phoenix (2005, 2007)
Pat Riley: (L.A. Lakers (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990)… Miami (1997)… N.Y. Knicks (1993)
Rick Adelman: Portland (1991)… Sacramento (2002)
A total of 32 NBA coaches have won 60 or more games in a season with at least one team. If Budenholzer can add a second 60-win season with the Bucks to his resume, it would make him the 21st coach in NBA history to have multiple 60-win seasons in a career.
The 20 NBA coaches who have won 60 or more games in two or more seasons are: Rick Adelman, Red Auerbach, Mike Brown, Larry Costello, Billy Cunningham, Mike D’Antoni, Bill Fitch, Alex Hannum, Tom Heinsohn, Phil Jackson, Avery Johnson, K.C. Jones, George Karl, Steve Kerr, Don Nelson, Greg Popovich, Pat Riley, Doc Rivers, Bill Sharman, Jerry Sloan.
For the record, there have four head coaches who have won 60 or more games in four different seasons; Phil Jackson and Pat Riley did it seven times, Greg Popovich has done is six times, and K.C. Jones did it four times.
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