For the most part, this Milwaukee Bucks team is an open book, which means we’ve seen glimpses of what works and what doesn’t.
There’s quite a bit to like about this iteration of the Milwaukee Bucks. By this point, head coach Mike Budenholzer knows the strengths and weaknesses of his team. The roster is mostly comprised of veterans who’ve made names for themselves by honing in on their specialties and letting others take the spotlight. It’s a team designed to funnel through reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who opens up the floor for shooters and defends every position to near-perfection.
Considering that the team is generally predictable, you’d have to think there aren’t many tricks up Budenholzer’s sleeve like competitors such as the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat. If they’re going to experiment with lineups, these eight seeding games are the time to do it, but the Bucks should remain steady instead of trying to change their identity in the restart. If they maintain their level of play heading into the postseason, they should be in line for a Finals appearance.
Some may consider Milwaukee’s lack of tricks to be a weakness, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. As the proverb goes —If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If Budenholzer tries to force funky lineup combinations and inconsistent rotations, it may off-put everything the Bucks have achieved so far. In terms of schemes and strategies, of course, they’ll need to adapt based on their opponent, but the Bucks are the best team in the NBA this season for a reason.
If they try to be a team that they’re not, they’ll end up in the gutter wondering what went wrong. Besides the fact that Kawhi Leonard hit another level, part of what bested the Bucks in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals was that Toronto forced Milwaukee to play their style instead of sticking to what worked for them all season long. Repeating that would be a disaster for a franchise that can’t afford to make mistakes with Giannis’ contract extension looming in the near future.
With all of that in mind, here are three things that we don’t want to see from the Milwaukee Bucks as they resume their season in the bubble.