The Milwaukee Bucks need a shot in the arm, and fast. As this week’s national Power Rankings indicate, Milwaukee has been a bit of a train wreck of late.
I’d love to put it down to a dose of pre-Playoff nerves, but at this rate it’s becoming less and less clear just how certain the Bucks’ place in the post-season is with every game.
With that in mind, lets get down to it.
Warning: This is not for the faint of heart, Bucks fans.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com has the Bucks in 18th, down two spots from where he ranked them last week. Schuhmann highlights how the Bucks’ offense has completely crashed, and points out how it’s not even like Michael Carter-Williams is responsible as many wouldbe quick to assume.
The Bucks have lost eight straight on the road and have the league’s worst offense since the All-Star break. Michael Carter-Williams isn’t totally to blame though. The offense has been much better with him on the floor (98.6 points scored per 100 possessions) than with him off it (89.6). Good news: No team has fewer road games remaining than the Bucks (6).
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Sports Illustrated’s Matt Dollinger had Milwaukee plummet down four places to 19th. Dollinger commends the Bucks’ stingy defense, but laments the lack of offense just like the rest of us.
Despite going just 4-9 since the trade deadline, Milwaukee’s defense remains one of the stingiest in the league, ranking No. 5 in defensive efficiency. It’s the team’s offense, which ranks dead last, that’s keeping it from playing .500 basketball.
ESPN’s Marc Stein dropped the Bucks three places in to 19th too, and brought further bad news in telling us that word of Khris Middleton continues to spread. Hands off everyone!
Subject line of an email we received from an ESPN Stats & Info colleague last week: “Khris Middleton: The best glue guy in the NBA?” So, yes, I’d say the secret’s out on the guy known for a lot more now than that December triple in Phoenix that got him on “SportsCenter.”
Yahoo’s Marc Spears has the Bucks in 18th which is a drop of three places, and was kinder than some of his peers. Spears focus his sentiments in on the fact that the gap is closing on the Bucks from behind in this year’s Playoff race.
The East’s sixth seed has lost nine of its past 12 games and has four teams within 4½ games of it.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports really doesn’t like the way the Bucks are looking. He dropped the team an incredible six places this week, seeing Milwaukee all the way down to 21st. He’s blaming the downturn on the trade. Although with Brandon Knight mostly injured since becoming a Sun, and MCW not as bad as many are assuming, is that even a remotely fair assessment?
It turns out trading your starting point guard who could shoot for a point guard who can not shoot makes shooting problematic. The offense has fallen off a cliff since trading Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams. They’re in trouble.
Drew Garrison of SB Nation only dropped the Bucks down one place to 16th this week. I’d say he wasn’t paying attention, but he did manage to pick up on MCW’s shooting from distance.
The Bucks shook up a good thing for a chance to grow with Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams has played in nine games for Milwaukee, averaging 14.9 points, 5.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. His perimeter shooting, though, remains as a big road block. He’s shooting just eight percent from deep on 1.4 attempts per game. EIGHT PERCENT!
With games against the Pelicans, Spurs, Nets and Cavaliers on the schedule over the next seven days, unfortunately it doesn’t look like things are about to get significantly easier either.