The 2016-17 season was a step in the right direction for the Milwaukee Bucks. They got better as the year went moved along, and Giannis Antetokounmpo solidified himself as one of the best two-way players in the NBA. To pair with that, guard Malcolm Brogdon was as steady as could be, and received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Nonetheless, Milwaukee didn’t have the necessary offensive balance around Antetokounmpo and Brogdon to be a factor in the playoffs. That should change with added floor spacing in 2017-18. As a result, the Milwaukee Bucks offense should be more versatile this season.
Milwaukee Bucks Offense Should Be More Versatile This Season
It’s not as if the Bucks were a terrible offensive team last year. They were a fun team to watch throughout the season, and really flashed in their first round series against the Toronto Raptors. They were just too reliant on Antetokounmpo. The “Greek Freak” led the Bucks in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals. According to nba.com, he was the only player in league history to place in the top 20 in the total of those statistics. That massive workload for him probably took its toll at times for the Bucks offense, which would occasionally became stagnant when Antetokounmpo wasn’t able to get legitimate penetration.
A big reason for Milwaukee relying on him was injuries to key players. Young scorer Jabari Parker tore his ACL for the second time in February and Khris Middleton only appeared in 29 regular season games. It’s understandable that they struggled with consistent scoring. Combined, those two players accounted for 34.8 points per game.
However, it wasn’t just injuries. The Bucks offense did not have enough capable shooters from the perimeter anyhow. Milwaukee ranked near the bottom of the league in three point makes and attempts per game, per nba.com. They did hit a high clip when they did actually shoot them, as they made 37.0 percent of those threes. All things considered, it was clear they didn’t have enough players able to knock threes down on a nightly basis, though.
More Spacing Opens Up The Lane
The Bucks did have the most paint points per game last season, and that was because of the Greek Freak’s athleticism on drives and in transition. Going forward, teams are going to take pack the lane more and more to make Milwaukee beat them in other ways. This young team is solid defensively, and they will be able to turn opponents over at a high rate, which should keep getting them easy baskets.
Against the best offensive units in the NBA, the Bucks will need to have more of a willingness to score from deep, though. That should open up driving lanes for Antetokounmpo and Brogdon, post-ups for rotational big Greg Monroe, and occasional lobs to Thon Maker or John Henson.
With a number of capable playmakers already on the roster now equipped with more perimeter shooters, Milwaukee’s offense should have more flow in half court sets. Matthew Dellavedova, Antetokounmpo, and Brogdon did not have that outside arsenal around them consistently last season.
This year, Brown and Wilson could add more of that element. Brown (45.1 percent in college) and Wilson (36.3 percent in college) could provide spurts of three-point shooting when Tony Snell is on the bench. That would force harder close-outs from opponents, and offensive rebounding lanes could be more prevalent for the bigs. That helps manufacture offensive production by getting more free throws. Lastly, harder close-outs enables established mid-range shooters in Middleton and Brogdon to have more pull-up opportunities.
All in all, improved spacing could work wonders for the Bucks offense in 2017-18.
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