Jay Williams: The Bucks Don't Get the Credit They Deserve

Jay Williams on the Bucks
Jay Williams on the Bucks /

The Milwaukee Bucks arrived at the 50-win mark on Tuesday night in thunderous fashion, beating the Raptors in Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back. Let me repeat that: It is February 26, and the Bucks already have 50 wins. That's downright astounding, even for a team that won 60 games last season and brought back just about everybody important around reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

And yet-- whether it's because of the small market, an Eastern Conference that lacks the star power of the West, or their relative lack of playoff success when looking at similarly dominant past regular-season teams-- nobody is really talking about the Bucks and just how good they are. Jay Williams believes they aren't getting the credit they deserve for the season they're having:

You can't really quantify the amount of "credit" the Bucks get from national media and fans of the league, but recent history suggests the level of discussion surrounding the Bucks is far less than a team with their success has. The 73-win Warriors dominated basketball discourse back in the 2015-16 season. They had slightly more star power and national recognition than the Bucks due to their NBA Finals victory over LeBron James the season prior. But the discrepancy goes beyond that.

The Bucks got to 50 wins quicker than that Warriors team. They have the best net rating in the league at 11.6, which would go down as one of the best marks every if they stay around there until April. Giannis is putting together an MVP and DPOY campaign in only 30 minutes per game. And yet...

It's probably one big combination of factors that leads to this situation instead of any one point. Giannis was great last year and even better this year, but no one is surprised by that anymore. The Bucks were one win away from the Finals last season before Toronto figured out how to stifle Giannis and the role players couldn't pick up the slack. If they had gone on to face Golden State, the conversation would be different, even if they lost.

It seems the Bucks will have to wait until springtime to get the recognition Williams and other pundits believe they deserve.