I’m going to preface this article by saying one thing: This is not fun. It’s not fun to be writing a piece that breaks down the offseason roadmap that the Milwaukee Bucks face. We should be putting out articles breaking down Eastern Conference Finals play. You all should be commenting on the moments from the game.
However, that’s not the position we find ourselves in. Instead, I’m at home watching a Bengals-Browns Thursday Night Football game rather than watching the Heat-Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Along with the disappointment of being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals comes a multitude of questions. This is going to be the most important offseason in the franchise’s history. Will anything happen with Giannis? What’s going to happen to Eric Bledsoe? Plenty of questions exist, and in a few months, we’ll have our answers. But for now, we’re left with speculation and healthy discussion amongst ourselves. With that being said, here’s a question we’re wondering — is Brook Lopez the right fit for this team?
Two years ago when Brook first came to Milwaukee, it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. He began hoisting threes as if he was Steph Curry. I still remember my brother sending me a text in one of the early games of the season...”Brook Lopez has HOW MANY 3-point attempts???” It was for good reason. It was a major improvement in his game, and it wouldn’t be long before he inherited the Splash Mountain nickname.
However, for as good as he is in the regular season with his shooting, what value does he bring to the team when that part of his game isn’t on? After shooting 36.5 percent from deep in his first season in Milwaukee, things came back to Earth for Lopez in year No. 2. He’d end up finishing the bizarre regular season at 31.4 percent, and just never got in the same groove he did in his first year.
In the series vs. the Heat, it seemed as if he was trying too much to be a shooter. On numerous possessions, he’d gravitate towards the 3-point line looking to create separation. More often than not, it ended up disrupting the Bucks’ flow rather than ironing things out. It wasn’t as if he was ineffective down low. There was just no need for throwing a wrench in the offensive style of things. If he can’t boast that lethal 3-point shooting during the postseason, how replaceable does that make him?
In terms of defense, Lopez obviously brings fantastic value to the table. His BLK% saw growth this season, growing from 6.5 to 7.9 year over year, and every time a player made a move to the iron, it seemed as if Brook was always there waiting. He even received some Defensive Player of the Year chatter, as he finished with four 3rd place votes in an award that would ultimately end up being awarded to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
However, our very own Brian Sampson (you may know him better as Bucks Film Room on Twitter) recently made a fascinating point in the Brew Hoop DM’s. He noted that one of the major changes that Bud is going to have to make a change to his drop defense. If Lopez is forced to defend guards more on switches or hedge at the level of screens, what sort of defensive value does he bring?
Here’s another thought:
I think it might be a time to float Brook. One of the reasons for our rigid systems is having a center not capable of playing multiple systems on defense. With Brook we really can’t switch or teams will just attack him every single possession.— Lucas Ohland (@LucasOhland) September 14, 2020
As Mitchell said, lots of work to do this offseason. So should the Bucks decide to shake things up and make a move trading Lopez away, who would you want them to replace him with? Do you think he still belongs on the squad? Leave your thoughts in the comments! Strap yourselves in...who knows where this offseason is going to take us.