The expectations surrounding the Bucks around All-Star break were swirling. They were eighth in the ESPN Power Rankings for the NBA. Riding a 9-3 streak, they felt like they were in a fantastic position, fifth in their conference.
Less than a week later, things look slightly different in the East. Now Milwaukee is the seventh seed, and reeling in a big way. Since the break, the team is 1-4 and their lone victory came against the conference leading Raptors. That alone shows the potential of this team.
Potential and length only get one so far at the highest level. I mean that 100 percent, teams that constantly win do the little things the right way. This is what separates middle tier teams from the top, and this is the direction I thought Milwaukee was headed. Upon reviewing some key stats and closely watching their games I unraveled some truth.
- Milwaukee resides in last place in total defensive rebounding. This means there is no team worse then them on average. Very interesting they are considered a threat with this rate. Defensive principles revolve around getting stops and rebounding the basketball. This will not be efficient enough come playoff time.
- The Bucks are the only team currently in the playoffs that possess a negative total points margin; that’s right the Bucks are going to the playoffs today and they have been outscored for the year. It all goes hand in hand, with better rebounding, there are less second chances. Less second chances mean fewer opponent points, this is what Milwaukee needs to strive towards. You will do absolutely nothing in the playoffs letting up 105 points a game.
As we stand today, I’m not fooled and no one else is either. Milwaukee, you are being exposed at the moment when you were supposed to step up and get past this hurdle, you were supposed to evolve. The Bucks are no more than a middle of the pack team until they address these areas that haunt them. Come playoff time opponents will expose your weakness each game, and as of right now Milwaukee doesn’t have enough fight in them to withstand and endure;
I’d like to hear what people think needs to improve in Milwaukee. There are 20 games left and this group needs to turn it around, and quick. This improvement comes on the defensive side of the ball and it starts by getting back to defensive principles.