Jimmy Butler offered baskets to every teammate20 April 2020 / Miguel Coelho
The 30-year-old didn't want his teammates to remain rusty... So he gifted them baskets
The Lakers versus the Bucks is nowadays one of the most anticipated games of the season. It opposes LeBron James and Anthony Davis against Giannis Antetokounmpo and his well-oiled squad. However, things were completely different 3 seasons ago, where Milwaukee and the Lakers were expected to have negative records by April 2017.
By that time, the Bucks were trying to solidify themselves as a playoff team. Giannis was entering his 4th year in the league, always improving substantially his numbers season after season. He finished with an average of 22.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.4 APG to go along with 1.6 SPG and 1.9 BPG. It was clear that the Greek Freak was a star in the making, as he made his first appearance at the All-Star game during that season, leading his team to the playoffs but ending up losing to the Raptors in 6 games. Surprisingly, Jabari Parker was Giannis’ Robin by that time, and not Khris Middleton. Crippled by injuries throughout his career in Milwaukee, the forward out of Duke missed the playoffs in arguably his best season in the league. Malcolm Brogdon, who had won Rookie of the Year three years ago, ended up signing with the Indiana Pacers during this year’s offseason, leaving Middleton and Antetokounmpo as the sole players to represent the Bucks 3 years later.
There’s almost nothing alike from last year’s team and this year’s. Now imagine three years ago. D’Angelo Russell was in his 2nd year and touted as the next big thing for the franchise, while Brandon Ingram was making his first steps in the league as a rookie, while at the same time being compared to Kevin Durant. Safe to say the Lakers future looked bright, right? Not exactly. Russell didn’t turn out to improve that much from his 1st season and Ingram only averaged 9.4 PPG in 28.8 minutes. Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Lou Williams were the main scoring threats for a team who finished 26-56, only improving 9 wins from the previous year. None of these players remains on the Lakers roster for the 2019/2020 season.
Currently, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks have a clear goal in their minds. Win the Larry O’Brien trophy. For the LA team, the main issue will revolve around their health and how the role players will deliver come playoff time, as LeBron and Anthony Davis performances shouldn’t be an issue. Their main opposition should be the team across town in the LA Clippers, as Kawhi and Paul George could pose some serious threats regarding their lack of wing defenders. The Bucks will be happy to avoid the 76ers in a playoff series due to the problems that Joel Embiid and Al Horford could present to Mike Budenholzer’s team.
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