Bucks Hope Tweaks, Soft Schedule Help Team Find Groove Quickly


Mike Budenholzer had the regular-season riddle solved.

The Bucks won 60 games twice and had the NBA’s best record three times in his tenure. However, the Bucks never made the championship in those seasons. Bud did bring the Bucks a championship, but postseason success largely alluded him in Milwaukee and previously in Atlanta. How can Adrian Griffin crack the postseason code and send the Bucks back to championship glory?

It shouldn’t take any major changes to make the Bucks a different animal in the playoffs. One benefit to the Griffin tenure could be a soft schedule for the Bucks in the early going. It could allow The Deer to find their stride early while adjusting to changes under Griffin’s schemes.

What are some of the changes Griffin could make to crack the code in the postseason?

Soft schedule to start

It may seem odd to talk about the start of the season impacting the playoffs, but gaining confidence early can help the Bucks get home-court advantage.

The Deer can get on a roll to start the year with the third-easiest schedule in the first 20 games of the year. While it didn’t help with Bud, the East running through Milwaukee can make things easier for Griffin. With a new coach, the potential is there to get some kinks worked out early while still winning games. Milwaukee has just two rest disadvantages and plays half of its games at home in the first 20.

After the acquisition of Damian Lillard in a blockbuster deal this offseason, having an easier schedule as everyone gets acclimated to a massive addition, but a big alteration to the offense, should benefit the Bucks particularly under a first-year head coach.

Better 3-point defense

Bud did make some adjustments in the regular season last year.

The Bucks were much better defending the 3. Come playoff time, however, the Heat cooked Milwaukee from distance. Swiftly changing on the fly defensively was unattainable under Bud. It seemed like it would take until the next game to make adjustments. Jimmy Butler torched the Bucks most of the series and entire games before Bud changed things up.

Attacking the rim more

The Bucks have one of the most dominant paint attackers in NBA history in Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, the rest of the Bucks don’t attack the rim nearly enough. Giannis scored the most paint points in the NBA but the rest of the Bucks ranked 28th in shot attempts in close. Despite having the biggest paint force in the NBA, the Bucks were 26th as a team there. While Lopez has his benefits as a floor spacer, he also needs to be in the post and punish teams in the paint at times.

The Lillard addition should help in this regard. Many view Lillard as just a three-point threat, but Dame can attack the tin and get to the line. In fact, the Bucks now have two guys on their team in the top five in free-throw attempts per game a season ago. Giannis led the NBA, attempting 12.3 free throws per game and Lillard fifth at 9.6 per game. Lillard is nearly automatic at the line, shooting 91.4% last year.

Having another guy other than Giannis who can get to the line regularly will be a welcomed addition this year.

Griffin Looks to Rewrite Bud’s Playoff Woes

Bud was a phenomenal regular-season coach.

However, the Bucks could be more ready in the long term and for the playoffs with a new coach and perspective. With some consistency and tweaks to defending the 3, more attacking the rim and a soft schedule, the Bucks could get things rolling quickly to start 2023-24.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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