In a time when the NBA is filled with superstars putting up monster stat lines on a nightly basis, the Milwaukee Bucks might offer the best one. In an Eastern Conference that is wide open with Kawhi Leonard going out west, the Milwaukee Bucks might be the best team.
Time will tell where the Bucks go in May, or whether Giannis Antetokounmpo can win another MVP award, but they are clicking right now. They come to Cleveland with the conference’s best record and they seem likely to stay there. Regardless of whether the Cavs can keep the game competitive, it figures to be a fun night of basketball at the FieldHouse.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (5-13) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (15-3)
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse — Cleveland, Ohio
Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Both teams played Wednesday night and got different results, while neither looked sharp. The Bucks put the Atlanta Hawks away late in Khris Middleton’s return from injury, while the Cavs dropped another game to the Orlando Magic.
It was a game where it seemed John Beilein’s frustrations boiled over for the first time since the preseason. The Cavs turned it over like crazy, and Beilein didn’t think the way traveling was being called was done in a fair way. It’s a point of emphasis this season, so you have to be careful about it, but all too often the Cavs are simply stepping out of bounds or making silly passes. Beilein also made a point about the teams the Cavs play having more length than they do. We all know Darius Garland and Collin Sexton are not the biggest guys, and both have failed to distribute as you’d expect lead guards to in today’s NBA. No one is asking for eight assists a game, but the length issue is another factor in a slow grind towards viability for those two as NBA starters.
To put it mildly, those concerns won’t go away on Friday night against the Bucks. The Cavs will likely put Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson on the MVP at various points — the latter had real success against Milwaukee earlier this season. But there doesn’t figure to be a real solution on the roster. Of course, that’s why Antetokounmpo is the MVP in the first place.
Beilein needs to, and will, take a step back and remember they have a lot of games to go. The roster isn’t going to change overnight, nor should it. Garland and Sexton are not helped by their lack of height, but it doesn’t preclude their success. Garland’s vision could help him get where he needs to go, and Sexton just needs to find more consistent efficiency. This is a process, and we’re watching those guys with Kevin Porter Jr. and hopefully Dylan Windler soon as well. No one expects miracle results from Beilein, but he’s going to be competitive anyway. That’s how he’s gotten where he is. The roster isn’t good enough, but it’s not good enough on purpose. Over time, hopefully it will be.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction