Can the Bucks survive Brogdon’s absence?
Finally, we arrive at the million dollar question. After a season of truly elite play where they proved themselves to be genuine title contenders, will Brogdon’s injury prove to be fatal for the Bucks?
Unsurprisingly, I can’t provide you with a definite answer at this time. We’ll learn a lot about the Bucks over their 13 remaining games without Brogdon, even before they arrive in the white-hot atmosphere of the playoffs.
Personally, I think the Bucks can survive without Brogdon up until a certain point, but that’s where the questions really come to the fore.
There’s no reason why the Bucks can’t close out the season by hitting and surpassing the 60-win mark, securing homecourt for the entirety of their playoff run, and entering the playoffs with real confidence. Likewise, even without Brogdon, it would be a major upset if Detroit, Brooklyn, Miami, Orlando or Charlotte were to pull off a first round shock. In all honesty, the Bucks are likely still looking at advancing to the second round in four or five games.
That would take Milwaukee up to the four-to-five week range of Brogdon’s injury. Could the Bucks emerge from a second round series with, for the sake of argument, the Boston Celtics without Brogdon? The answer is that they probably could, although it would be really tough. The same could be said of series with the 76ers and Raptors.
Whether they could get through consecutive series against teams of that caliber without him is a different question, though. In that context, the margin for error gets much finer and the absence of Brogdon could certainly prove crucial.
Beyond his potential return, an even bigger question mark hangs over what Brogdon will look like if he does in fact come back for the Bucks during the playoffs. The prospect of him hitting the ground running in the highest intensity setting, against the league’s best teams, after over a month on the sidelines, honestly seems quite far-fetched.
If the Bucks are to make the deep run that many were hopeful of before Saturday’s news, the reality is they will likely need to prove they’re good enough to conquer the East without their former Rookie of the Year, or at least without him at his best.
The best case scenario sees that series of events play out, and allows Brogdon to work his way back into rhythm gradually in reduced minutes across the Conference Semi-Finals and Conference Finals.
If there’s one thing that can be said with certainty, it’s that the Bucks will need to be at full strength and peak form if they’re to beat, or even compete with, the Warriors in what remains by far the likeliest matchup for any Eastern Conference champion.
If Brogdon’s absence proves to be six weeks rather than eight, this injury may not prove to be a talking point that will require further reflection for years to come. But allowing time for Brogdon to try to regain his rhythm, Milwaukee needs to be preparing for eight to nine weeks where they’ll need to beat top teams without him to keep their season alive.
It’s by no means all doom and gloom, but the Bucks will need to continue to prove just how truly special they are if this season is to end in the kind of glory many have been dreaming of.