Bucks

Forbes, DiVincenzo Needed to Fortify Deep Bucks Run

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All offseason, the talk around the Milwaukee Bucks was around the addition of Jrue Holiday. The thinking is, if Milwaukee is getting over the hump in the playoffs, it will be because of Holiday.

It’s possible, however, that the real X-factors are the Bucks’ shooting guards. Donte DiVincenzo and Bryn Forbes are two critical pieces if the Bucks are going to exercise their playoff demons against Miami.

Holiday’s upgrade over Eric Bledsoe will be immense in postseason play– we already felt it in Game 1. But in all likelihood teams are going to do all they can to force someone else to beat them. Teams will load the strong side and make Giannis, Jrue and Khris Middleton pass the ball.

Bryn Forbes, though, could make teams pay this time around.

Forbes key to deep Bucks run

One aspect that has killed the Bucks come playoff time is role players missing shots regularly. Enter Forbes, who has been locked in after a bit of a slow start on his new squad this season. He signed a free-agent deal with the Bucks this offseason. The dead-eye shooter Forbes was no doubt brought in to combat “the wall” teams build against Giannis.

Forbes can make teams pay, which would be a huge boon to opening up driving lanes for Giannis. The shooting guard shot over 40 percent from 3 every month of 2021 and is sizzling heading into the playoffs canning 20 of 39 attempts from deep in May.

But teams will make someone else hit shots other than Giannis and Forbes should get looks like this, despite being a 45 percent 3-point shooter.

Donte needs to do the little things

DiVincenzo playing his role and being a 11-point, seven-rebound, three-assist, two-steal type guy in the postseason would be massive for the Bucks. The Big Ragu and Brook Lopez are the starters who need to be good on the defensive end and knock down open shots.

DiVincenzo had a rough April, shooting just 37 percent from the floor and 33 percent from 3. In May, however, the Villanova product has started knocking down shots again. After going zero for his first five, DiVincenzo hit 20 of his last 45 3s to close the regular season.

Play them together

One thing I want to see as the playoffs progress is Forbes and DiVincenzo on the floor together when Holiday receives a breather. Especially if Forbes can scorch the nets as he has been most of the season. It eases the pressure on DiVincenzo, who can be a great jack-of-all-trades guy. The Bucks don’t need high-scoring games from DiVincenzo– he is a solid player when not asked to do too much.

Take Game 1 against the Heat for instance. DiVincenzo only had three points, but he did grab 10 rebounds and had a steal and block. The Bucks will need more from the Forbes and DiVincenzo combo, though, going forward. The combo scored just eight points, while Duncan Robinson hit seven three-pointers for Miami. Canceling out the Heat’s sharpshooter and Tyler Herro gives the Bucks the best chance to win.

The Deer also seem to play very well with both Forbes and DiVincenzo on the floor. With Holiday off the floor, this lineup has been arguably the Bucks’ best lineup with decent playing time: DiVincenzo, Forbes, Middleton, Giannis, Lopez. This lineup has a net rating of 10.3 and an offensive rating of 121.3 in 126 minutes this year. In less sample size, replace Middleton with Connaughton in that same lineup and the Bucks have a 12.4 net rating (offensive rating 127.3 (!), defensive rating 114.9) in 18 games and 46 minutes together.

While much has been made of the Holiday addition and the trade addition of P.J. Tucker, it’s the Bucks’ shooting guards can be the difference-makers.

Milwaukee should get enough from their Big 3. Or that is the hope. But to get where they want to go and make a deep postseason run, the Bucks’ others, like DiVincenzo and Forbes in particular, will have to thrive in their roles.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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