The holidays have come and gone and the Milwaukee Bucks go into 2023 with the same New Years’ Resolution: to win the NBA title. December saw Milwaukee have some impressive wins and disappointing losses, but did we learn anything?
Turnovers are the pastry of December
The Bucks were in a baking mood for the holidays. A combination of lackadaisical play, trying to force the issue, and a lack of reliable ball handlers meant a high amount of turnovers. The Bucks’ offense already runs on Giannis and vibes but when the offense is bogged down, it feels as though Milwaukee doesn’t have a plan. In the month of December, the Bucks committed 16.2 turnovers a game, tied for second worse in the league. Milwaukee also had a turnover ratio of 15.9%, also second worst in the league, and the assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.50 which was, you guessed it, second worst in the league. The main culprit is Milwaukee commits these turnovers more frequently in the first half with 8.7 turnovers. The solution seems pretty simple, but this more than anything will be the reason Milwaukee falls short of its goals in the playoffs.
Shooting the ball is hard
If Milwaukee manages to not turn the ball over, they follow it up by throwing up bricks. The Bucks can’t seem to hit threes. Their best shooters like Bobby Portis, Grayson Allen, and Pat Connaughton have been in a slump. Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles were shaking off rust as they returned from their long-term injuries. Even the “easier” looks, the corner three, have been bad. The Bucks are shooting 31% from the corner in December, not encouraging for the rest of the looks the team is getting. If there is a positive, the Bucks are shooting 35% above the break which sits middle of the road league-wise. Bucks fans will have to hope this is simply a long slump and not a repeat of what we saw in the playoffs last season.
It’s not uncommon for teams to have ups and downs throughout the season, and it’s certainly possible for the Milwaukee Bucks to improve their performance in January. However, it’s difficult to say for certain when their poor shooting and turnovers will improve,
The team schedule did get tougher and Milwaukee faced some strong defensive teams. On the other hand, it could be an indication of a lack of team coordination and consistency. The coaching staff and the players will likely be analyzing their performance and trying to identify any issues that can be addressed in order to improve. But those changes will likely be small modifications
We will see what happens in January but for the sake of entertainment, let’s hope offensive improvement happens.