Milwaukee Bucks Weekly Wednesday Wrap-up

What started as pure good vibes took on a sour note after the Milwaukee Bucks’ perfect record fell against an Atlanta Hawks team without Trae Young. But I’m trying not to get greedy, so I’m living with a 9-1 start and one of the best net ratings in the league. Now it’s time to start another streak, so let’s wrap up.

The week that was

The second of two straight matchups against the Pistons looked more like an old Bucks-Pistons match. This team has some young guns that I’m looking forward to. They also apparently dip their hands in butter before the game. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north went all in this offseason and were unceremoniously decimated by Milwaukee. They showed some courage inside and gave Giannis a hard time, but that only gave him highway-wide overtaking lanes. Rudy Gobert may be staring at Utah Defense 2.0 here. Oklahoma City still seems so far from strife, but they’re more of a nuisance than expected. However, they played some long-winded dudes and were destroyed by a barrage of threes. As for the Atlanta game, well, the less said the better.

Weekly Miracles

We’re three weeks into the season and I’m not sure there’s a better story about this Bucks team than Brook Lopez. A player who was underestimated and underestimated by many until his absence played a major role last season has had a late-career year so far. I was a supporter of Brooks and declared after his injury last year that the Bucks couldn’t win a title without him. For once, I said something that, in hindsight, actually seemed smart. With a portion of the league moving towards more pace and space with smaller, rotating lineups, Brook’s thought and this Bucks defensive scheme could become untenable at the highest levels. You know what Mike Budenholzer had to say about that?

What if we double about Brook’s importance in this defense? I would argue that there isn’t a more important defender on the court for Milwaukee right now than Brook to execute on their plan to rely entirely on a two-man play when defending the pick-and-roll, rather than a barrage of Help guns into the paint. He’s allowed just 53.4% ​​shots on goal versus 7.3 field goal attempts per game, one of the stingiest combinations of defensive efficiency and volume in the league. It helps to have Giannis there as well, who only allows 50% shots on fewer than five tries, but Lopez has to process almost every defensive play on so many levels for this team to thrive.

Imagine a pick and roll for a second. Brook has to digest how far he should play based on the opposing player’s shot quality, how close he needs to get to prevent an easy shot but still be able to recover to make sure they don’t lob for a dunk over his head, his feet keep moving in case the ball handler tries to slide past him for a layup and his hands are always up to disrupt a potential floater. It’s a fitting development for that drop scheme and speaks to the years of trust he’s built in Budenholzer, as well as the senior full-backs who have made it their mission to fight through screens at the center of attack.

His central role in the team’s defensive development will be most important in the long run, but for the moment he’s also been instrumental in preventing the offensive from slipping further into the league’s lead. In recent years we’ve seen a gradual increase in Milwaukee, which has led Brook from a long-range bomber to delving into its past to get more shots inside. He went from 61% of his shots from three in Bud’s first year to just 41% in 2020-21. So far he’s looked more like first-year Brook Lopez, trying 55% of his shots from the outside (and hitting 38%).

That was a necessary ointment for an offense that can’t really fire from anywhere off the rim at the moment. If I had to guess, though, I’m predicting that trend won’t continue for Brook. Without Pat Connaughton or Khris Middleton, the team is missing two of their best performing and most efficient three-pointers. They need someone to fill the void right now and Lopez has been riding his hot hand to keep the Bucks afloat at times. Could it also be a product of his increased defensive load? Not forcing him to traverse the paint or arc with so many possessions helps save him for the other end. It’s worth watching, but Brook was a deadweight for this team in the early stages.

pieces of the week

While there have been continued wins over the past week, I can’t say I’ve found a large number of outstanding possessions. I chose to skip the sloppy Atlanta game entirely, even with the opening three-point sequences. But there were still some cute scenes worth sharing. Here are the pieces that caught my eye.

Brooke… can happen?

You may not know it, but Brooks is averaging one assist per game this year. That’s kind of his MO, but almost every time I see him get the ball on the block or elbow, I assume he’s either passing out or going into his patented turnaround fadeaway jumper. Here, however, we see his nimble feet as he pivots around the baseline, sees the double coming his way and his arm is snapped through two defenders to give Giannis a wide open dunk. Nice read for someone who rarely needs to run one.

Gianni’s catch and shoot

I could count on two hands how many catch-and-shoot three-pointers I remember Giannis did. This is just a pretty ping-ping-ping, starting with two Wolves defenders signing Grayson Allen (why?), both of whom fall for a pump fake, and Edwards lets his man Jrue inside immediately. The wolves are crawling by this point, and when Gobert tries to help Allen out of the one-handed sling, Holiday has already read the play and passes out to an open Giannis.

MarJon takes small steps

This play doesn’t make the sports center top ten, but it may have made the most important game last week. The reason for this was because it spoke directly to the progress MarJon has been making this young season. If you’ve watched the game before, Beauchamp missed a transition opportunity when he ran with Giannis. Sure, the pass might have been a little off, but MarJon should have had it and gone up fast. Here, a game later, he is presented with the same sequence. And instead of dodging, he confidently ensnares the ball and goes to the goal with contact.

Around the world

I enjoy this one because it’s a true journey around the world for Portis to complete. He starts in the right corner with Holiday on the opposite side. He begins his run as Carter leaves the square and flashes down the alley. Beauchamp is able to monitor his man but because they are in the zone the comms just aren’t there. Carter keeps his trot up, Portis slowly flashes through the top of the zone and finds himself in the corner above an unprepared OKC defender with a good look. It was also nice footwork from him before his attempt to catch and kick back into the corner.

opinion poll

9 Nov: The play of the week is…

  • 35%

    Brooke… can happen?

    (5 votes)

  • 28%

    Gianni’s catch and shoot

    (4 votes)

  • 28%

    MarJon takes small steps

    (4 votes)

  • 7%

    Around the world

    (1 vote)

14 votes in total

vote now

That’s enough for another summary!

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