The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the Finals, but if they want to repeat next year, they have to make some changes in the 2021 NBA offseason. The starting lineup should remain the same next season, but the Bucks need to shore up their reserves.
Their lack of bench depth was exposed more than a few times in the playoffs because of the injury to Donte DiVincenzo. But they were saved by a couple of strong games from Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton, with P.J. Tucker playing defensive stopper after being elevated to the starting lineup.
By the time the NBA Finals rolled around, Jeff Teague and Bryn Forbes were hardly used by coach Mike Budenholzer, and the starters had to play heavy minutes.
The Milwaukee Bucks free agents and needs
Tucker, Teague, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Alex Toupane are unrestricted free agents, while Justin Jackson is a restricted free agent. Portis and Forbes have player options and are expected to opt out.
Among them, the Milwaukee Bucks will likely try to retain Tucker, Portis and Forbes depending on what it takes to keep them. Tucker’s lack of offensive contributions may be an issue for the Bucks at the negotiating table, however.
Forbes, despite not playing much in the Finals, led the team in 3-pointers (154), making 45.2 percent from behind the arc. Meanwhile Portis had a huge game in the Finals clincher, so he will be back.
So what do the Milwaukee Bucks need?
For one, they need a swingman who can shoot from the outside, someone bigger than Forbes and can provide size for the Milwaukee Bucks bench. They need a backup center who can spell Brook Lopez. They also need a reliable point guard off the bench.
Here are 3 players that the Milwaukee Bucks should target in the offseason to improve their bench:
#3 Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is a free agent and may be on the move this offseason. The uncertainty surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers could make him decide to take his talents to Milwaukee. He could reduce the scoring burden on Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo and play an efficient 15-to-20 minutes a game as a bucket-getter off the bench.
In 69 games last season, Anthony averaged 13.4 points and shot 40.9 percent from 3-point territory.
The Milwaukee Bucks are a championship team in need of his services and Melo would provide not just shooting and size, but also a veteran presence off the bench. The Bucks don’t have much wiggle room under the cap and would likely only offer Anthony the verteran’s minimum.
If Anthony decides that he wants a championship more than a huge payday next season, he would be a welcome addition on the Milwaukee Bucks bench.