Keys to Turning the Milwaukee Bucks Season Around

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Dec 7, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives for the basket during the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Upping the Tempo

A third thing the Bucks need to improve is the tempo of their offense.

Stylistically, the team still plays like it did a season ago, trying to slow down the game as much as possible. Coach Jason Kidd adopted this style at the beginning of last season since the Bucks lacked any sort of consistent scoring option, making them much more dependent on defense to win games.

Currently, the Bucks rank 25th in pace, 13 positions lower than they ranked a season ago. Two key differences, however, are affecting the team’s results. The Bucks have seen a major decline in their defensive performance from a year ago, falling from the second best defensive rating to 24th. They’ve also improved significantly on offense.

Unlike last season, when the Bucks only consistent scoring option was Brandon Knight, the team currently boasts a couple of different scoring options. Giannis Antetokounmpo has dramatically improved on the offensive end, averaging nearly 16 points a night on over 51% shooting. Greg Monroe is a score-first big who can dominate in the low post.

December 18, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd instructs forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and center Greg Monroe (15) during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Bucks 121-112. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks have also gotten solid production in recent games out of Michael Carter-Williams, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. Thus, the Bucks no longer need to play at a slow pace. They have the tools needed to have one of the league’s better offenses.

The key to improving the offense is to up the tempo. This means getting out on the break as often as possible. It also means moving the ball more.

The Bucks have looked their best when they’re moving the ball. They also boast a wealth of athletes who can destroy teams on the break. Upping the tempo will help create more shot opportunities and better scoring chances than the team has had so far. As stated, the team cannot rely on floor spacing, since they currently lack the shooters capable of making such an approach work.

Coaches Kidd and Prunty have shown a tendency to experiment with this in more recent games and it has reaped some promising results. Thus, it’s time for the team to fully embrace their new offense-first identity and up the tempo.

Next: Effort