After three games, the Bucks have won just one game and that win came on a John Henson tip-in at the buzzer against one of the league’s worst teams that happened to be playing without their best player, Brook Lopez. So, yeah, things aren’t going great in Milwaukee. Frank and I got together late on Sunday night to discuss exactly what is going on in Milwaukee.
During the podcast, we touched on the following topics:
The slow pace. Now, the Bucks are currently 15th in pace, according to NBA Stats, and we acknowledge that number, but we just don’t really buy it. That number would suggest an improvement from last season, but this is where it is important to remember that a calculated pace is more of just a general descriptor than a perfectly accurate summation of a team’s movements on the floor. Throughout the first three games, there have been a number of occasions where we’ve seen the Bucks walk the ball up the floor and it has been particularly striking to see Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker be the guilty parties in this offense so often.
The lack of urgency. On top of not pushing the ball, the Bucks don’t seem all that interested in actually getting into their halfcourt offense. The Bucks regularly get across halfcourt with 20 seconds or less on the shot clock, which isn’t great if you remember Jason Kidd prodding Michael Carter-Williams to “get the ball over with 21 seconds left” last season. Once the Bucks get it across, they often take a preposterous amount of time to get into their first offensive action or enter the ball to the elbow, which often means they don’t get much, if any, side-to-side ball movement. So, essentially the Bucks make it easy on opposing defenses and don’t force them to defend for much longer than 13-15 seconds.
A disclaimer. In the podcast, I mentioned that this should have come much earlier and maybe it should have come much earlier in this post, but here goes. This is not a very good basketball team. There is not a ton of talent on this roster. And some of the talent doesn’t fit particularly well together. And, at center, where they might have the requisite talented need, they have too many players that could play and can’t find a stable minutes distribution.
Rashad Vaughn comes to life. On Saturday night, Rashad Vaughn had the best game of his NBA career. In the 72nd game of his career, he scored a career-high 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting (also career highs) from the three point line. Saturday was also the same day that the Bucks picked up Vaughn’s third year option. Does it mean the Bucks’ young guard is ready for a more consistent role? Or did he just have a single good night?
The unexplainable second unit line change. As we’ve highlighted on this website and during games on Twitter, Kidd has decided to employ a full-bench unit every game this season that doesn’t feature a staggered Antetokounmpo, Parker, or Matthew Dellavedova. I theorized that those lineups are supposed to be the lineups in which Parker is allowed to shine as the lone starter, but Frank shot down that idea pretty quickly. Another theory might be that (gulp) Kidd thinks Michael Beasley can be a shot creator and lead those units. Hopefully, we see them come to an end soon.