Bucks

Bucks Building on List of Concerns

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The Milwaukee Bucks have come into the last two seasons with lofty expectations.

Clearly the Bucks are thought of as a top-five team in the NBA and a title contender. But when you have been the top-seed in the NBA Playoffs the past two years and you haven’t reached an NBA Finals, you’re going to be under a microscope.

The James Harden trade to Brooklyn has changed the power dynamic in the East. The Nets have nudged the Bucks out of the odds-on favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals. Milwaukee is still expected by many to be second in the East.

But the East is getting better and the Bucks seem to have a growing list of worries. Let’s take a look at some of the issues that have Bucks fans feeling uneasy.

Opponents raining 3s

This one is easily the most troublesome. Bud clearly wants to make team’s beat him from the outside. The problem is teams know the Bucks will overhelp and allow good looks from three. Opponents are getting great looks and knocking them down. It seems every other game a team is setting a franchise record for three-point makes.

In the bubble last August, the Bucks became the first team in NBA history to allow 20 or more made 3-pointers in three straight games. They did it again on the recent road trip.

We have seen teams expose the Bucks’ defense preventing layups, pack the paint defense with 3s. The issue now is it is happening much more frequently.

Bucks guard play

A spotlight was put on the need for better guards with Jrue Holiday out. Is Donte DiVincenzo really good enough to start on a team with NBA Finals aspirations? Pat Connaughton? Bryn Forbes has value offensively spacing the floor and would have wide-open looks in the starting lineup of Jrue, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Outside of occasional distribution, D.J. Augustin has been horrendous. Then on the other end, the Bucks consistently have been cooked by opponents guards during their current four-game losing streak.

Bucks bench needs upgrade

The season is young. Bobby Portis has been good. Pat Connaughton has been good (sometimes).

But the bench really needs a player who can get his own shot. Giannis, Khris and Jrue are depended upon to create 99 percent of the team’s shots. Some of this could be solved with an improved Augustin. DJA is shooting under 35 percent from the field and is averaging just 3.0 assists per game. The need for a scoring wing who can create his own shot is glaring.

Jamal Crawford is out there, just sayin’ (we know the Bucks can’t sign a 15th guy yet).

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The other issue for the bench is there really isn’t a good defender present. Forbes is a sizzling shooter, but he is pretty poor defensively. The Bucks give up over 114 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. In a loss at Charlotte, when Forbes was on the floor the Bucks surrendered 46 points on 25 possessions.

Augustin has never been known as a good defender. Portis has been very good but offers little rim protection to cover for the weak perimeter defense of the reserves.

Despite Milwaukee losing four-straight games no one should be hitting the panic button. Are there concerns? More than the ones listed? Probably. But the Bucks are still finding themselves after a big roster turnover. Also, for having some worries and not playing that well, the Bucks are currently sitting in the No. 3 spot in the East despite a 16-12 record.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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