The Milwaukee Bucks had the biggest news of the off-season, with the blockbuster trade involving Damian Lillard. They automatically became the favorites to win the championship. However, their start to the season hasn’t gone as expected. And the reason could be majorly attributed to their defense. Former NBA player JJ Reddick, on his podcast – ‘The Old Man and the Three’, called out the Bucks for their defense and broke it down for the viewers.
According to Reddick, there seems to be a lack of understanding within the team, which is leading to a discombobulated rotation. Despite having some of the best defenders in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, the team effort is lacking. He said there is “No structure, no rules, no organization, everything random!” He then proceeded to break down the defense as he saw it.
Reddick stated that the defense was frustrating to watch. According to him, “You are watching pick-and-roll coverage, all of a sudden you they are forcing middle, there is no help at the nail, Brooks in no man’s land, the defender gets behind him. Next time down they force middle again on pick and roll, this time the low man helps off the strong side corner, they don’t get rotation and they get an open three.” It seems like the Bucks lack chemistry, and the teammates aren’t helping each other.
Is Damian Lillard’s trade affecting the Milwaukee Bucks?
The Milwaukee Bucks were fourth in defense last season and boasted three of the best defenders in the league – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez. In fact, Lopez finished top three in the Defensive Player of the Year rating in 2023. Even though they lost Jrue Holiday in the off-season, the drop-off in defensive efficiency is astounding.
Bucks have started the 2023-24 season as 28th in defensive efficiency. As Reddick pointed out in his analysis, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of buy-in within the team. Could this be a result of the trade? Jrue Holiday, who joined the Boston Celtics, has a huge impact on defense as his team currently stands seventh in the league.
Damian Lillard, arguably one of the best offensive players in the league, has not had a similar impact on the other side of the court. There seems to be a lack of effort from the player, and it is starting to hurt the overall team defense. Everyone knows what he brings to the table as far as scoring is concerned, but if the Bucks have championship aspirations, they will have to do it on both ends.