With so many NBA teams make trades left, right and centre, Milwaukee is one club bucking the trend. It is a situation that Matthew Dellavedova believes has his side well placed to improve on their 2017 playoff run.
"I think it's exciting that we've brought everybody back. I think we had a good thing going at the end of last year especially, and we are looking to build on that moving into this year."
Dellavedova expanded on the fact that the core group of Bucks from last season are all returning, and clearly believed that the experience gained in playing together would have them, in good stead for 2017-18.
"I think it is a good position to be in, because I think of continuity in basketball and really getting to know each other on and off the court really means something," explained Dellavedova.
"And especially when you get to the playoffs and the pressures on, so I think having the same group pretty much come back and have another year together-- and especially after losing at Toronto-- everyone's pretty motivated going into the off-season. So everyone has got better in the off-season, and then you come together in training camp to put it together. I'm looking forward to it."
On the topic of falling short to Toronto in the playoffs last season, while Dellavedova recognised the team's success, he also explained that there was a hunger from within the group that wanted more.
"I think any time you can get playoff experience it's obviously good, [but] we would have liked to get more," shared Dellavedova.
"I think the guys did a great job, but at the same time, it also shows them what level you to be working at for the whole off-season-- just because that's the whole goal. You play the whole regular season to get that opportunity in the playoffs and do something once we're there. I think everybody has had a good off-season, everybody looks in good shape, and excited to get started."
High expectations were held for Dellavedova when he arrived at Milwaukee after winning a championship with Cleveland-- after all, he played an inspiring role for the Cavs on the way to winning the title. While the 2016-17 season was not the one he had been hoping for individually, he is looking forward to an improved showing this coming season.
"I feel good coming into the season, I had a good off-season to work on my body, work on my game, know the system better," added Dellavedova. "I'm looking forward to it, and just seeing what we can do.
"I think any time you know little things, like playing pick and roll with Giannis [Antetokounmpo], instead of coming in and, you know, figuring out during the start of the year, we are going to have a good idea. Obviously Khris [Middleton] coming back in at the end of the season, and having him at the start, it's going to make a big difference as well."
Fellow point guard Malcolm Brogdon enjoyed a stellar rookie season for the Bucks, earning the NBA Rookie of the Year award. He effectively pushed the Australian to a backup role, but Dellavedova was quick to outline the value of Brogdon to the team and their potential to spend more time on the court together this season.
"I think Malcolm was not your typical rookie, and is not your typical younger player," shared Dellavedova. "He is mature, not just on the court, but off the court as well. I think that really helped him last year. He's a team guy. We only got to play a little bit together last year, but I think when we did, it worked pretty well on offense and defense, and I'm hoping we can play more together this year."
While Dellavedova was questioned as to leading the second unit, he instead focused on the Bucks' need to start the season strongly.
"I think the main thing is that we can just get off to a good start," said Dellavedova. "I think last year we kind of went alright at the start of the year, fell away in the middle, and picked it up at the end. But I really do think we can get off to a good start, like I said, playing in pick and roll's, [at] the defensive end with the system we run, I think that's another thing that we should be coming into training camp with tomorrow. We've got a few new guards, but most of the core group is back, so we should be able to pick that up straight away, so that gives us a big advantage on all the other teams."
With a stable playing group returning, Dellavedova agreed with opinion that the Bucks could be a top 5 defensive team this coming season, an ambition that plays to one of his strengths.
"I definitely think it's attainable and that's what our goal should be," agreed Dellavedova.
"Obviously we've got all the length, all the athleticism. But another year knowing the defensive scheme and also having that defensive understanding-- what guys are going to do defensively, in pick and roll's, defensively on rotations, getting to know each other on that end of the floor-- there's a chemistry to that as well that pretty much never gets talked about but, that it's very important as well."
There was a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to Dellavedova as he spoke with the media about the Bucks and their season ahead. With a stable playing group and a strong work ethic, it is hard not to think the Bucks could be destined for a deep playoff run this season. That us sure to whet the appetite for Bucks fans everywhere.