Two years in a row with the best record of the main season, but the Milwaukee Bucks failed to compete for a ticket to the play-off final because it refused to change the game.
Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo won the title of Best Player NBA 2019 and is likely to successfully defend the title this season. But that was not enough to bring the Milwaukee Bucks to the Larry O’Brien trophy. They lost to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern final last year before being defeated by the Miami Heat in this year’s regional semi-finals.
It was an unacceptable result for the team with the best results of the main season in both years. Even the Bucks are leading in both attack and defense stats this season. So what caused them to go astray in the playoffs?
In just 20 short seconds, Draymond Green described every problem Giannis Antetokounmpo faced. It was also the problem that previous MVPs like James Harden and Russell Westbrook faced over the years – a period where Green and his Golden State Warriors team reached the NBA final five times in a row, winning three championships.
According to Green – the best defensive player in NBA 2017, the teams competing for the championship do not feature satellites around Antetokounmpo, including Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Eric Bledsoe.
That means that the Bucks have no second attacking option besides the Greek superstar. In the play-off round, few teams succeed with only one star, because many stars mean that the opponent will have to spread the defense front.
Khris Middleton could not do well with Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks lost three consecutive games in the Eastern semi-finals, but coach Mike Budenholzer made no changes to reduce the pressure on Antetokounmpo. The same thing happened in the regional finals last year when the Toronto Raptors captured a star born in 1994 and won four games in a row.
While the Wisconsin football team broke record after record in the main season, they seem to have forgotten to have to build options B for the play-off phase, where half-court battles and clock 24. The seconds go better than quick counter-attacks – which the Bucks do best in the tournament.