Milwaukee Bucks: 4 reflections on first half of 2020-21 season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 05: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 05: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Brook Lopez still holds value to the Milwaukee Bucks

Last but not least, Brook’s role with the Bucks has been a popular topic of conversation to this point in their run this year.

By an individual sense, Lopez is having a fine campaign by his standards, especially compared to the offensive struggles that he experienced last season. Averaging 10.8 points while shooting 34.8 percent from three, Lopez has played to the same standards of his supporting role, although he’s attempting the fewest shots (8.4) and 3-point attempts (4.4) of his Bucks career.

On the defensive end, Lopez hasn’t played to the same peak he sported as a rim protector, a year in which he earned All-Defensive second team honors. Some of that certainly speaks to the rejiggered supporting cast that the Bucks assembled over the offseason while some of it speaks to the ongoing reinvention the Bucks are seeking to have by installing different schemes.

All of that has taken a hit to his overall defensive value where he holds the third-highest defensive rating this season. With Lopez best utilized as the focal point behind the Bucks’ drop-back defensive scheme and protecting them, it’s in these instances where the Bucks fall victim to the shooting onslaughts that have dogged throughout the Budenholzer era.

While Milwaukee is trying to change that and best utilize Lopez within their new ways of working, it still is fair to say he will be leaned during the most important parts of the Bucks’ season.

To that point, Lopez stands as the Bucks’ lone traditional big man within their frontcourt. At his size and strength, he will be needed against some of the premier traditional centers that stand in their way when looking to come out of the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee has yet to face against the Philadelphia 76ers this season as their first matchup against one another will come on St. Patrick’s Day after the All-Star break. That will serve as a fascinating barometer for how the Bucks and Lopez match up against Joel Embiid, a bona-fide MVP candidate.

Next. 4 Bucks likeliest to be dealt by trade deadline. dark

All of this isn’t to say that Lopez’s time with the Bucks won’t end soon. He still stands as one of the trade chips the Bucks have to improve their roster in ways that fit their ever-evolving system over the offseason. But that day isn’t here quite yet, barring some surprise by the trade deadline.