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Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up: The trends that survived

What stuck and what didn’t

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks-Press Conference Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2023–24 season, where the team is on fire, or they are never losing again, and finding an in-between is pointless. I mainly joke, but January has been an odd month for Milwaukee. They struggled against the Pacers and their time in Texas wasn’t inspiring. Then a four-game homestand saw beatdowns, efficient winning, a game-winning shot, and now maybe it isn’t so bad. Then they barely get by the worst team in the league. Then the team fired its coach, and we wrote many think pieces. So now the other question becomes, how will Doc Rivers right the ship for the Bucks? Let’s wrap up.

The Week That Was

Weekly Wonderings

For our midseason edition, I wanted to look at some of the wondering I have had this year and see if those trends continued or were just a phase (Adrian Griffin's voice in the background as he’s still being escorted out of Wisconsin: “it’s not a phase, Kyle. It’s who we are, gosh!!). I will get this out of the way: the defense remains a mixed bag of brilliance sandwiched between lackadaisical frustration. I don’t want to talk about it any more than that, so let’s see the other trends:

Attack, attack, attack

Early in the season, the offense was still finding its way by adding Damian Lillard and learning a new coaching staff scheme. The one thing that looked different for Bucks fans was having another player be able to get to the free-throw line. Lillard's insistence on driving to the rim and getting a favorable whistle—something we were not used to receiving in the Giannis era—saw them rack up free points. Per Cleaning The Glass, not only is Dame still doing a great job of making free throws, but he is still ranking pretty high among point guards in fouls drawn:

It’s nice having a player draw fouls

To nobody’s surprise, Giannis still gets fouled a lot, and that is just on stuff the referees call!

Verdict: Not a phase.

A win is a win??

I wrote about how the Bucks played well in the clutch in early December, which translated to wins. The Bucks were 10-4 in fourteen games played with clutch time at that point, and 8-3 since. So the Bucks have played fewer games in the clutch, which isn’t as surprising given the quality of opposition they played the last two months. The clutch record has been good, but some stats took a slight dip: the Bucks saw decreased points per game, field goal percentage, offensive rating, and pace in those situations. Milwaukee has kept their defense at the same level, though, so while the team isn’t playing quite as well by the lofty standards they set, they are still a good clutch team.

Verdict: A phase.

Bench giveth, bench taketh

Milwaukee’s bench has been a mixed bag. There are still questions on how helpful the unit is, but it was notable that Doc Rivers mentioned that the second unit was not good in the first half after the Bucks’ loss to the Denver Nuggets Monday night. It was notable that Andre Jackson Jr and MarJon Beauchamp logged DNP-CDs on Monday, given Jackson Jr’s impressive play this season. I hope this will be a short stint as Doc gets familiar with the roster.

Verdict: Play AJJ.

The Week’s Top Play

How did he pull this off?

Pat NO!!!! Sorry, force of habit.

A Khris Middleton dunk?!?!

What’s the vibe?

When you find out you're getting a substitute teacher for the day