The Bulls will get their first regular season look at their long-time rivals from Milwaukee on Thursday at Fiserv Forum. The Bucks finished with the best record in the NBA a year ago at 60-22, but the early returns suggest it will be tough for Mike Budenholzer's group to come close to that win total this season.
After pulling out close road wins over the Clippers and Thunder this past week, the Bucks sit at 7-3, good for third place in the East behind Boston and Toronto. Still, the warning signs are already there with Giannis Antetokounmpo having to do even more than he did in winning the MVP award last season. Giannis is averaging over 29 points and 14 rebounds and has the ball in his hands almost exclusively at the end of close games.
It's no secret the Bucks will miss the playmaking ability of Malcolm Brogdon, who's now in Indiana, and it's unlikely supporting players like Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez will be able to match their scoring output of a year ago. The Bucks added veterans Wesley Matthews and former Bulls Robin Lopez and Kyle Korver in free agency this past summer, but GM Jon Horst might have to make a more significant move to get his team to the Finals in June.
Now on to the rankings. Click the link here to view the slideshow.
NBA Power Rankings: Will the Bucks struggle to replicate last season's record? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago