Milwaukee Bucks: 3 factors behind slide in 3-point defense

Jan 29, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 29, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) /
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ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 11: (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 11: (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Third factor behind slide in Milwaukee Bucks’ 3-point defense – Opponents hitting open looks

With the league as a whole hitting more 3-pointers and the Bucks conceding deeper looks in mind, they certainly could do a better of limiting open threes to their opponents.

To be fair, the Bucks have made strides in trying to surrender fewer wide-open 3-point looks after allowing the most open looks in the league for the previous two seasons under Budenholzer. What they have traded with fewer looks by allowing 18.9 wide-open 3-point attempts this season, their opponents are hitting 43.9 percent on such shots, the second-worst mark in the league. That’s up from 37.5 percent Bucks opponents shot on wide-open 3-pointers last season.

While where these open shots are coming from is more important than just giving up open looks, it still spells recipe for disaster to give up a high volume of open 3-pointers and makes. That even accounts for some poor shooting luck involved as well.

This is where Bucks players and coaches have talked about the importance of adding more defensive coverages like switching or showing more to opposing ball handlers to not let opposing teams get too comfortable from the 3-point line. Budenholzer certainly touched on that following the Bucks’ loss to the Hornets last Saturday as Andrew Wagner of the Wisconsin State Journal relayed the following:

"“There is lots to work on,” Budenholzer said after Saturday’s loss. “I think we have to be better coming out of the gate at defending the 3-point line in the first quarter. There have been a lot of first quarters where teams have maybe gotten hot from the beginning so we’ve just got to look from start to end, all of us, at how to get better.”"

Milwaukee has certainly grown more comfortable in switching ball screens or bringing the likes of Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis further up the floor to contain players adept at hitting shots from well behind the 3-point line. And like anything, it will take time to get down the time and rhythm of being able to execute different defensive tactics smoothly.

Next. 3 reasons Bobby Portis has fit seamlessly in Milwaukee. dark

How the Bucks continue to improve their 3-point defense and running their opponents off the arc will be instrumental to their title chances this season. As always, it’ll be up and down affair as the season goes along, but we’ll be tuned into the progress they might make moving forward.