Milwaukee Bucks: Key Player Matchups in Potential First Round Playoff Meetings

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

DeMar DeRozan vs. Tony Snell

When Middleton went down before the season started, many wrote off the Bucks. Although much of the Bucks’ success this season has to do with the brilliance of Giannis, the impact Tony Snell had in Middleton’s place can’t be overstated. Snell has stepped up to take on any defensive assignment, and often does an admirable job. If the Bucks face the Toronto Raptors in the first round, Snell will be key in avoiding a quick playoff exit.

DeMar DeRozan is having the best year of his career, and is fifth in the league in points per game. Deadly from mid-range, DeRozan has an old-school game that Snell will have to try to limit.

Snell is a proven defender, but this is the hardest matchup that he could ask for in the first round. DeRozan leads the league in mid-range shots taken, at 10.1 attempts per game. Out of all players who take more than three shots from eight-to-16 feet away, he is fifth in field goal percentage. In a time when the league is shooting more threes than ever, 92 percent of DeRozan’s shots are twos.

Offensively, Snell will likely get his catch and shoot threes. In 2017, Snell is seventh best in three-point shooting percentage out of players with more than three attempts a game. But the key to the Bucks winning lies on how well he can do guarding DeRozan. If he’s not up to the task, the Bucks would be lucky to play more than two games in Milwaukee.