clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bucks vs. Hawks Preview: Another (Middle) Eastern Matchup

Tip-off is scheduled for 11:00am (central)

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks - NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Didn’t we just do this? Yes we did; the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks made the long journey to Abu Dhabi for some preseason basketball…and no other teams made the same journey for this international exhibition, so let’s run it back!

Where We’re At

Milwaukee is still looking for its first preseason win. They’re not looking hard, mind you, but their reserves gave up a big comeback to Memphis last week, and the new wrinkles on defense gave up too much to Atlanta in the midrange on Thursday. It’s tough to expect new developments when you’re on a diplomatic mission for the NBA’s global brand; right now, the main goal is to finish their obligations overseas without incurring any health concerns, and any real work will resume stateside. But hey, there’s at least a new training camp video out. No, not that one!

Player To Watch

Many eyes have been on MarJon Beauchamp so far this preseason, and with good reason. Beauchamp is the only promising prospect the Bucks have brought in as a first rounder since Donte DiVincenzo, which feels like an eternity ago. But no, my eyes are squarely on Brook Lopez right now, and specifically because I’m interested in how Milwaukee’s new defensive scheme will affect him in his age-34 season.

Lopez is in the last year of his contract, a deal he signed after establishing himself as a surprise defensive stalwart in the early years of the Mike Budenholzer era. But the job Brook is being asked to do is simply different than it was originally; or to put it more specifically, the situations that Brook is being placed in are vastly different than we’ve become accustomed. If these recent trends turn out to be a paradigm shift for Milwaukee’s defense, Lopez is going to be trusted even more than before to snuff out attempts at the rim, either by altering the shot or preventing the attempt altogether. Is this wrinkle going to open up too many easy opportunities in the midrange for opponents? Potentially. Is this a price worth paying to reduce the number of three-point attempts that opponents put up against Milwaukee? Possibly! Is this a situation in which Brook Lopez can continue to thrive? That too is unclear, and Lopez’s development at this stage in his career is worth paying attention to.


Preseason Game 3: Against Atlanta, the Bucks will…

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (7 votes)
  • 47%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (21 votes)
  • 15%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (7 votes)
  • 20%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (9 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now