The Milwaukee Bucks stunned the NBA in 2018—their first year under head coach Mike Budenholzer—when they jumped from a fringe playoff contender to one with legitimate championship aspirations. A huge ingredient to their success was their defense, as they led the league with a 104.9 defensive rating in 2018-19.
Somehow, they’ve gotten even better in Year 2 under Budenholzer had have cut a few more points off their defensive rating. With play set to resume in the bubble, they once again lead the NBA by allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions; the lowest rating since the 2015-16 season. It’s their defense that will give them the best opportunity at a championship this postseason.
Sure, the Bucks have great individual defenders in Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They also have great team defenders in Wesley Matthews, Khris Middleton, George Hill and even the up-and-coming Donte DiVincenzo. What makes them so special is how they all work together.
The game moves incredibly fast in real time and it’s often difficult to catch everything that’s going on. Sometimes, we only see the first rotation or help on defense, but miss all the connected pieces that are simultaneously happening in our peripheral’s.
In this video, I’ll slow everything down for us to take a look at exactly what happens when an offense penetrates the Bucks’ defense. It’s amazing how all the players are seemingly tied to a string and move as one cohesive unit. It’s not just one player’s responsibility to guard their man, instead, it’s an entire team effort.
I hope you enjoy this video breakdown featuring footage exclusively from the scrimmages in the bubble. Please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below or on the YouTube video. There will be plenty more video breakdowns coming now that the season has finally resumed!