Bud intentions

Bud has outdone himself again and found ways to baffle me like few coaches ever have in the past . Forget about the godfather trilogy, this guy has managed to keep the same "quality" in all three sequels of his playoff appearances with the Bucks. And yes i was waiting for a win to write this and was giving him the benefit of the doubt to fix things. He will not , I doubt he even changes one thing for the next game.

First and foremost allow me to bash the jumbo lineup , this monstrosity doesn’t offer anything in offense or defense. Lets dive into the details of this magnificent scheme prepared by the Da Vinci of coaches in the sense that at times they both exhibit about the same basketball understanding in their work.

Offensive problems

One of the problems the Bucks always had in the Bud era is the stagnation in the offense with stationary players waiting for the ball. This was somewhat improved by Donte playing a big role and a shift from 5 out . As Donte went down in the Miami series he was replaced by Forbes and Pat both of whom are good at moving off ball so the problem wasn’t that evident .

Fast forward to the series with the Nets and Bud’s introduction of the jumbo lineup replacing the player with the most movement on offense with another stationary player in PJ Tucker. This not only makes the Bucks squad even slower against an undersized opponent but makes the stagnation problem even worse than ever before. Brook doesn’t move , PJ doesn’t move , Khris doesn’t really move (at times he tries to) and Giannis is not a threat from three . This gives you 3 stationary players off ball and one that is limited in the actions you can involve him in .

As if that’s not enough Bud decided to combat the lack of quick moving players with the reintroduction of a lot more 5 out than we have seen in recent games which bails out the defense even more.

Brook who had found success in his new role in the paint was pushed once again in the perimeter which allowed the smaller Nets to guard him with a SG . Brook is not only not a good enough shooter to keep his man from helping but he is also not a threat for cutting when his man helps off him. Another problem with this approach is that where he tends to play is quite often where there is a cut opportunity.

When PJ is parked there pretty much most things that apply to Brook apply to him. One stationary corner shooter is good for the offense but two shooters who cant cut allow the other team to help freely off them to clog driving lanes . To make matters worse Bud keeps putting them in the same side meaning that the weakside is pretty much frozen in place no matter what and one defender can basically clog the lane and be in a position to recover on either of them.

Defensive problems

As a side note I am not even going to mention how ridiculous it was when he tried to play zone against the offensive talent and shooting of the Nets so lets keep going with his normal scheme.

Ok we took away from our offense but what about the defensive end , surely the jumbo lineup should be helpful there . But no the defensive matchups are about as bad as they could have been. Kyrie and KD take turns switching the primary offense and recovery option between them taking advantage of the "protect the paint at all costs" scheme of the Bucks. Whichever of them has the ball is getting screened by Brooks man giving them wide open space to work with the zone drop while the other waits on the other side to attack against a collapsed defense in case the initial attack one doesn’t work.

I already posted a breakdown of the problems with the zone drop and pick n roll defense so I don’t think its necessary to write it again but I will write why this is even worse against players like Kyrie and KD.

There are two types of offensive stars

The first are players who primarily play against their matchup and don’t really shake their defender but go against him shoot over him or post him up. These are players like Khris , Jrue , Harris or even Harden to a certain degree though he is partly in both categories .

The second type are players who pretty much can get through their man at will and constantly look at where the help defense is to prepare their move. These are players like Giannis , KD and Kyrie. Against this type of player its important to not only gameplan for the initial matchup but also the secondary/help as to a certain degree the first will be beaten most times.

When setting up to deal with a player of the second type you have to play the advantages , you try to give him a disadvantage even if that gives an advantage to an off ball player. By having Brook in a pick n roll defense against them you not only don’t make it harder for them but you allow them to easily capitalize and increase the momentary advantage of the pick. Commonly this advantage is minimized by using the screeners defender to delay enough for the ball handlers defender to get back into the play or they switch if both are versatile defenders. With the zone drop that delay never happens and the ball handlers defender never gets back into the play while the only help (Brook) is right under the basket.

If Steve Nash(and D’Antony) is capable of coaching and exploiting one thing then that is the pick n roll and we’ve been making it even easier. for them

If we go by the consensus I have seen then Brook wasn’t a problem on defense and his 6 blocks were a big help but if I look at the highlights of this game it is evident that the zone drop is the common breaking point and one that allowed them to get back in the game.

game 3 highlights

0:41 PJ understands the bad position he is in and denies the screen to KD as that would give him an open three up top and the two possible help defenders are Khris who is guarding Harris and Jrue who is guarding Kyrie both of whom are excellent shooters themselves. Due to the zone drop Brooks man (Brown) has a wide open floater.

0:55 Again pick n roll this time KD takes the open midrange with PJ shielded behind him.

1:32 This time a Kyrie pick n roll and a wide open mid range , even if Kyrie didn’t shoot it the roll man has a wide open lane to the basket with Jrue behind him.

2:38 Same thing this time Kyrie fakes the mid range and passes it to the open roll (Brown)

2:44 Same thing this time Mike James is the ball handler

3:13 As a contrast here we have a pick n roll without Brook and Forbes (who is by no means a good defender) delays Kyrie enough for Jrue to get back into the play and contest the shot . Also if the matchups were prepared correctly and rather than Forbes a more capable defender was there we could have easily switched to contest better.

3:27 Same pick n roll again targeting Forbes and again pretty decent contest

4:20 Brook back in the game and again a KD Brown pick n roll and again a wide open mid range

5:32 Same play but here PJ goes for the vet move of to tie/foul KD before he gets the ball off

7:07 Again KD/Brown pick n roll and an open mid range

7:29 Exact same play

7:44 Exact same play

7:53 Same play but a three

8:08 This time a Kyrie Brown pick n roll and Brown misses a decent floater to put them ahead by three with 20 seconds remaining.

Potential lineup adjustments

Only these plays are accountable for 23 easy Nets points and a potential dagger in a tight game were they only scored 83 points. This is by no means a viable tactic on defense especially considering that’s where the Bucks were supposed to minimize the talent deficit with the Nets. The zone drop has not only allowed the Nets to get east points when they struggled but also made Bruce "the brick" Brown a significant secondary threat instead of a minor nuisance.

It makes absolutely zero sense to me how Bud tries to pair up the main matchups but ignores the more important in this case secondary matchup . If I looked to alter his scheme to make things harder then I would bench Brook and bring in Pat or Forbes in the starting lineup and unlike popular opinion I wouldn’t put Giannis on KD.


Kyrie- Jrue


Harris -Pat/Forbes



The idea behind these matchups is to have a significant secondary help on the pick n roll and be able to switch. The only ballhandlers they basically use are KD and Kyrie and their screener is Brown , both Jrue and PJ can hold their own against Kyrie and KD about as well as anybody and when they screen the help/switch is Giannis. If they try to avoid that matchup and try another screener then that guy will be Blake as Harris is their sniper , again rather than wide open space the help/switch here is Khris. Also if Brown is not the screener Giannis has a lot of freedom to help.

I would bring Brook of the bench for about 16 minutes as a focal point in the paint along with Portis , yes the Nets would find good shots against them but at the same time they would have to deal with two post up bigs hunting for matchups inside against a smaller squad.

On the other hand if I am looking to get the offense going and increase the output at the cost of some defense (though the big three matchups remain similar with Khris on KD and Portis on Blake) then I am going with Jrue ,Forbes , Khris ,Giannis and Portis . Both Portis and Forbes are good offensive threats and move much better than Brook and PJ on offense.

Again Brook of the bench as a focal point in the paint while PJ comes in and gives Giannis or Khris time off the KD matchup.

There is still hope but if things keep going in the same direction then i cant wait for the time Bud will get in his Budmobile and will move to another city because we cant keep waiting for him to adjust for next year.

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