The Milwaukee Bucks have been the most dominant team in the NBA this year. Last time they finished with 60 or more wins was back in 1980-81 when the team was led by Sidney Moncrief, Bill Lanier, and Marques Johnson. Just last season the Bucks were scrapping and fighting just to stay above .500 with Jason Kidd at the helm. Enter Mike Budenholzer and the team was instantly taken to another level.
We all know what Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to give you each game. He’s going to dominate the paint, suck the defense inside and facilitate, and wreak havoc on defense. The question is what will the supporting cast provide. Also, how much will Malcolm Brogdon’s injury hurt the team?
A nice and easy first-round match-up is exactly what the doctor ordered after a 60-win regular season. The Detroit Pistons who just barely snuck into the playoffs will be their opponent. The same Pistons that were getting blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies at halftime in their final game and then made a big a comeback just to get the chance to face the number one seed.
Sure, Blake Griffin will probably give them some issues while he turned in a quiet 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game season. Also, the rebounding battle between Andre Drummond and Brook Lopez will almost certainly go in Drummond’s favor. However, Detroit has an offense in the bottom five compared to the rest of the league which will be even more exposed by the Bucks who possess the number one defense in terms of defensive rating. Expect this one to be quick and easy.
Game 1: @ Milwaukee (Sunday, Apr. 14 – 7:00 PM EST, TNT)
Game 2: @ Milwaukee (Wednesday, Apr. 17 – 8:00 PM EST, NBATV)
Game 3: @ Detroit (Saturday, Apr. 20 – 8:00 PM EST, ESPN)
Game 4: @ Detroit (Monday, Apr. 22 – 8:00 PM EST, TNT)
Game 5: @ Milwaukee (Wednesday, Apr. 24 – If Necessary)
Game 6: @ Detroit (Friday, Apr. 26 – If Necessary)
Game 7: @ Milwaukee (Sunday, Apr. 28 – If Necessary)
How Can They Succeed?
We haven’t seen a player dominate a season like Giannis did this year in a loooong time. pic.twitter.com/9RbqaXmYvk
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) April 11, 2019
Flat out domination. Milwaukee’s offense is much better in terms of iso ball as well as team play. The Bucks are in the top ten in the league in assists per game, first in points per game, second in blocks per game, first in rebounds per game, third in field goal percentage, and second in three-pointers made per game.
You just read that thinking, “Wow, they have all that to their name?” Yes, so as we mentioned, they can and will succeed by flat out offensive domination.
Who is their X-Factor?
Yes, he is nursing a foot injury and most likely missing the first round, but he is one of the keys to Milwaukee’s post-season success. When Giannis is not on the floor, he has been a steadying presence and someone that they can trust to run the offense while minimizing turnovers and bad mistakes. On top of that, he has consistently shown up in clutch moments and has been able to work very well with Giannis in all sorts of situations.
One positive stat in their favor
Besides the stats mentioned earlier, a big positive stat for this team is effective field goal percentage. Both on offense and defense. They rank second in the league for effective field goal percentage while ranking first in the league for opponent’s effective field goal percentage. Milwaukee is shooting a .550 eFG% while their opponents are shooting .503%.
The length and athleticism they possess allow their defense to match-up well with pretty much any team in the league. Giannis can be put on anyone they need and the rest of the team does a tremendous job with the help defense.
As mentioned earlier, Giannis draws the attention of the defense into the paint and leaves the shooters to run wild. This explains the effective field goal percentage on offense. This will be a big reason why this team succeeds and enjoys a long playoff run.