Milwaukee Bucks Playoff Picture: Strengths, Weaknesses, potential post-season matchups for Giannis and Co, how they should approach the NBA trade deadline, and much more!
|Wed Feb 09 2022
Can the Milwaukee Bucks find that reliable sixth man to improve their bench, and win back-to-back championships?
At the beginning of the year, the Milwaukee Bucks were one of the favourites to win it all, for the second time in two years. More than halfway through the season, they are having a topsy-turvy season. In addition, the Bucks have struggled to find much consistency in this campaign.
In fact, they have had their share of both winning and losing streaks over the past few months. To put things into perspective, the reigning champions have a 7-8 record in January. This is the Bucks’ second month this season with a losing record as they were under .500 even in October.
Most recently, they absolutely demolished the Lakers, where Giannis dominated LeBron and Co, ending with a near triple-double of 44 points and 14 rebounds, and 8 assists on the night. They are currently on a 4-game winning streak and will look to extend that when they face the table-topping Suns next.
A near-perfect night for Giannis.
44 PTS | 14 REB | 8 AST | 85% FGM | 100% 3PM pic.twitter.com/UvI7Ov7rLf
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 9, 2022
When it comes to the positives, there is one glaringly obvious one, that Giannis is leading from the front, and is playing at an MVP level. The 27-year-old is averaging an exceptional 29.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, and a career-high 6 assists per game.
His impressive displays helped him earn an All-Star starter spot. In fact, the Bucks have two all-stars this time around. And no, it’s not Jrue Holiday. It, in fact, is forward Khris Middleton, which came as a surprise to many. While he is having a good season, it was nothing to write home about.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are the first Bucks duo to appear in three All-Star games together. pic.twitter.com/O46Ju9KAK2
— Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) February 4, 2022
While the Milwaukee Bucks are having an inconsistent season, they are doing fairly well against the playoff teams. To put things into perspective, they have 4-2 against such teams in the month of January. In fact, it included victories against Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors, and even the high-flying Grizzlies.
While it is annoying to see them take Ls against underwhelming, their dominance against the playoff aspiring teams is a sign of positive things to come in the postseason.
The Milwaukee Bucks have played like a switch this season. What we mean is that they are either on or off. On one night, they blow out the opposition, while on some, they get destroyed by the other team. This has been a nightly occurrence this season as they had their share of statement victories followed by devastating defeats.
Hopefully, they can turn this around real soon and come out all guns blazing on most nights.
Another weakness is that they just cannot stay healthy at the moment. Every other game, a starter misses out. In fact, they have played ZERO games this season with the same starting lineup that win the chip last season.
Despite all that, when at full strength, they are unstoppable. Throughout the first 56 times, the trio of big Giannis, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday has only played a mere 28 games together thus far and boasts of a 23-5 record over that period. So, if healthy, this isn’t too much of a worry.
The Milwaukee Bucks moved to 23-5 in games where Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo play last night. The Bucks have a net rating of +13.5 in the minutes when all three are on the floor, and have won the 436 minutes by 150 points this season.
— Ti Windisch (@TiWindisch) February 9, 2022
How should Milwaukee Bucks approach the Trade Deadline?
Another worry for them is that they do not have a reliable bench. While their second unit does contribute, they do not have that one guy who can 15-20 on a nightly basis. Almost every championship team has that kind of sparkplug off the bench, and that is exactly what they address as the Trade Deadline approaches.
I’m told that reports Boston and Milwaukee have talked a Dennis Schroder-Donte DiVincenzo swap are accurate. What has killed a deal thus far is the Bucks want the Celtics to include Grant Williams in the deal and Boston is unwilling to part with their backup big man.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) February 8, 2022
Apart from that, they should address their backup center dilemma. Last year, Bobby Portis was the perfect big man for the second unit behind starter Brook Lopez. However, with Lopez out for the foreseeable future, and Portis in the starting lineup, the role of that backup big man is available on the Bucks roster.
Report: Milwaukee Bucks interested in Myles Turner https://t.co/Io4iGkzXCu
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 9, 2022
In fact, that’s why many fans were amused at the decision to let DeMarcus Cousins go, who played that role to perfection.
Hopefully, the Milwaukee Bucks can solve all these issues by the trade deadline, and surround the Greek Freak with the right pieces to make another run for the finals.
Despite all of their inconsistencies, the Milwaukee Bucks are currently on a 4-game winning streak. They boast of a 35-21 record, placing them as the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, only 0.5 games behind the leaders in Miami Heat.
If the season did end today, they would go against the 7th seeded Celtics, which would be a tough series, as Boston has seemed to have found their groove lately. Although nothing is set in stone just yet as they are only 2.5 games ahead of the Sixers in 5th seed.
However, if they do have another losing streak like they have this season, the Bucks could fall a few places and end up as the lower seed in the first round of the playoffs.
With Milwaukee set to have the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, there is a high chance that does happen. All that being said, you have would have to be foolish to bet against a team that has Giannis Antetokounmpo on their side.