It’s no secret that the Milwaukee Bucks have been struggling on the defensive end to start the season. At the very least, this team is a far cry from who they were last year in terms of being one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
You need not look much further than their two early-season blowout losses for proof of this notion.
Giannis Insists Milwaukee Bucks ‘Know Our Identity’ on Defense
Monday night was different, though. The Bucks looked much better on the defensive end in their 129-125 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, and this was thanks in large part to cornerstone superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Giannis led the charge for Milwaukee on the defensive end (he wasn’t too bad on the opposite side of the court either with a season-high 36 points), coming up with two clutch blocks to seal the win.
After the game, Antetokounmpo sent a defiant message amid his squad’s perceived issues on defense. According to the former back-to-back MVP, the Bucks know exactly what they’re doing on the defensive end:
“We know our identity; we’re just trying to figure out what works, and we’ve got to be good at everything,” he said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I think we are very good in drop when Brook’s on the floor. We are really good when we play small, we can switch. We can make guys just play one-on-one and take tough shots. Sometimes we’ve got to play zone whenever we want to make them shoot a lot of tough 3s, and rebound the ball, go the other way, especially when we’re trailing the game and we’re down 10 and try to get back into the game.”
‘It Doesn’t Hurt to Try’
Giannis did concede that there is a bit of a learning curve for the Bucks. While he did not speak about it directly, there’s no denying that losing five-time All-Defense guard Jrue Holiday is a major factor behind the team’s significant dip in their defensive efficiency.
“There’s a lot of things that we can do that we (weren’t) doing last year,” he continued. “So there’s going to be times that it’s going to work, and there’s going to be times when it’s not going to work, but it doesn’t hurt to try. And right now, we’re trying things, and eventually, we are going to figure out what we are really good at and we are going to do it and we’re going to know the situation that we have to do things too.”
As Giannis said, it’s only a matter of time before the Bucks are able to get on the same page defensively. In fact, they’ve already shown significant improvements over their last two games.
Once they are finally able to figure things out, it’s going to be a problem for the rest of the league.
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