The Milwaukee Bucks have been struggling mightily as of late. With a 2-6 record in their last eight games, the team must overcome and figure out solutions to some of the major issues it has faced all season.
Like most NBA teams this season, the Bucks are no different. From players missing time due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols to injuries, the Bucks have faced some major obstacles just over halfway through the season to date.
Looking at the Milwaukee Bucks’ struggles this season
Almost every player on the roster has entered health and safety protocols at some point this season. In addition, the roster has been depleted with injuries, as not a single player has played every game this season.
Both COVID-related issues and injuries have pretty much ruined any kind of continuity that they are still trying to develop before heading into the playoffs. However, it is not too late to develop as such, once they are at full health.
Another big concern is the overall lack of mental fortitude and toughness, especially on the defensive end. The Bucks have blown many second-half double-digit leads against teams they should easily be beating.
The fact of the matter is that at this point of the season, this team just isn’t good enough on the defensive end to make up for their offensive mishaps, which include poor shooting, cold spells from a scoring perspective, and careless turnovers.
Losing their focus after having 10+ point leads in the third and fourth quarters is happening far too often, as evidenced by Monday night’s inexcusable loss to the Atlanta Hawks. There was clearly an overall lack of effort in the second half from everybody on both ends of the floor.
Sloppy, lazy, and careless play on both ends of the floor has resulted in far too many turnovers as of late, especially from Khris Middleton. Although he has shot the ball much better as of late and hopefully he seems to have found his groove, his passing, turnovers, and lack of focus on defense have to improve. Simply put, he must be better. Overall, he is having a down season shooting the ball, which very well could result in fatigue from a shortened off-season for him.
The lack of intensity on both sides of the floor is sometimes both maddening and head-scratching. Perhaps this is due to having a championship hangover, which is highly possible.
Injuries are not an excuse. It is painfully obvious how much the Milwaukee Bucks miss their floor general Jrue Holiday almost every game he doesn’t play.
Not having Brook Lopez all season aside from opening night is such a massive loss on both ends of the floor. This continues to be conspicuous on a nightly basis when his size, boxing out, rebounding, and rim protection is sorely missed.
There are themes and patterns of this team that continue to arise and have been an issue all season long so far. Statistically, they are the worst third-quarter team in the league and have both played down to their competition and come out flat in the third quarter, for some reason.
Even more troubling is that this team has fallen to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and is in danger of losing home-court advantage in the first round. They also have one of the toughest schedules in the league, if not the toughest for the remainder of the season.
There is only so long fans can continue to say the Bucks will figure it out come playoff time and once they are 100 percent at full health. Truthfully, every loss matters moving forward and could cause them to continue to slide in a very tight Eastern Conference.
Perhaps one or two losses could result in the difference between home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
One silver lining is that there are still three months remaining in the regular season before the playoffs start. This should hopefully give the Milwaukee Bucks plenty of time to iron out their issues and figure things out.
More than likely, this roster will hopefully have a new major addition or two as the trade deadline approaches in the next few weeks. Plus, Lopez coming back at some point before the playoffs will no doubt be a huge boost on both ends of the floor.
All in all, the Bucks should figure it all out. They must get past their championship hangover, and they most likely will come playoff time.
All of the championship confetti has been cleaned up. It is time to focus on the task at hand, which is to repeat as world champions.
Giannis Antetokounmpo cannot continue to carry this team on a nightly basis on his own. The lack of consistency, intensity, toughness, and overall intensity on both ends of the floor must be brought by the entire roster moving forward.
Once the big three are healthy and back together for the rest of the season and the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks will put the league on notice once again.