We began with part one of our Over/Under series yesterday and we’ll finish today with part two and a soon to be dropped podcast. – JS
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Over/Under 15 PER
NW: Under. Giannis’ numbers will certainly improve this season, but he’ll need to shoot considerably better from both the field (41.4%) and the free throw line (68.3%) if he going to post a league-average PER. I’ll err on the side of pessimism and say that won’t happen in Year 2.
KL: Over. The shackles of being naive to the NBA game are gone. The upgrade from Larry Drew to Kidd helps too.
MV: Over. He’s had a year to acclimate himself to the league–becoming at least an average efficiency player will help assuage fears about the course of Giannis’ development.
PS: Under. Antetokounmpo’s ultra-unique, relatively passive offensive game – which relies on athleticism and fast break opportunities – doesn’t lend itself to metrics like PER. Until his jump shot improves and turnovers diminish (i.e., when he becomes a viable number one or two option in half-court sets) Antetokounmpo’s PER will scarcely reflect his talent.
IS: Under. If he’s going to be a star, he needs to hit a PER of 15 this year and I want him to be a star. BUT, no one knows what to do with him as highlighted by the “Giannis at PG” talk. He could be a great PG. I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows. It’s going to be hard for Kidd to make a game plan that’ll help Antetokounmpo succeed when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding him.
Jabari Parker: Over/Under 18 points per game
NW: Over. Parker demonstrated during summer league (the hands-down best place to evaluate every player) that he’s not going to be shy with the ball in his hands. Of course, with veterans around him, he won’t always be the first option, but his inside-outside game and ability to get to the line should get him to 18 points as a rookie.
KL: Under. In the history of the NBA, three teenage rookies have gotten 18 points per game. They are very good players (per Basketball-Reference.com): Carmelo, LeBron, KD. Jabari probably comes up just short.
MV: Under. The Bucks don’t look like they’ll be as desperate for one scorer to carry the load as they were when Parker was drafted. A surrounding cast of shooters and no pressing need to play him heavy minutes–especially with the deep frontcourt–should give him time to get accustomed to the NBA game. I’ll say under, but not too far under.
PS: Under. Parker would have to draw fouls more consistently than he has demonstrated or take a ton of shots. Before Tuesday’s game, Parker had scored 36 points on 40 shots in the preseason; he scored 78 points on 62 shots in Summer League. Scoring efficiency is elusive for rookies. Ask Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
IS: Over. He’s been shooting like Brandon Jennings in preseason, but he’s too talented to not figure that out over the season. Unlike, Antetokounmpo, there’s certainty with Parker. Just feed him the ball and he’ll score. Kidd knows what he can do and can certainly put him in a position to score.
Wins: Over/Under 24
NW: Under. It’s hard to see the Bucks sinking to the depths of last season, during which they failed to win back-to-back games, but this team is nowhere near ready to compete, even in the Eastern Conference. Somewhere in the low twenties is right on, but I don’t think Milwaukee wins any more than 24.
KL: Over. They should have won 20 last year, and that was a gruesome conglomeration of a roster bashed by injuries. 24 should not be that hard to surpass.
MV: Over. It was a desperately underachieving team that won only 15 games last year. An infusion of legitimate talent and bouncebacks from just a few of the many disappointing players (ahem, Mssrs. Sanders, Ilyasova, and Mayo) will bump the Bucks back up to… well, not respectability. But at least less embarrassment?
PS: Under. I went “over” on the 33-win bar prior to last season (very humbling in hindsight), so I feel obliged to overcompensate here. Also, the Milwaukee Bucks don’t appear to be a very good basketball team. Godspeed.
IS: Exact. The Bucks have the makings of an absolutely killer defense. There’s size, length, and athleticism at nearly every position that everyone can get excited about. We just don’t exactly know how those pieces are all going to mesh together or if those pieces can even work at all. Plus, they’re a couple years away from having a decent enough offense that can cobble together a decent record.