3 questions for the Milwaukee Bucks heading into the All-Star break

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 26: (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

It has been a long first 60 games for the Milwaukee Bucks in their championship defense filled with injuries, illnesses, inconsistency, and… transactions (I couldn’t come up with another word that started with an I, ok?).

The champs, for the most part, finally get a break and that also gives us a chance to take a breath, assess where they’re at, and what questions we have for the defending champs for the final 22 games of the season.

There is no shortage of questions and concerns after a loss going into the break, but there are a few that are bigger than the others and will have a major impact on if they can repeat.

When will Brook Lopez return for the Milwaukee Bucks — and how will he look?

This is, without question, the biggest question surrounding the Bucks as we go into the final stretch of the season. I’ve said it before that if Lopez doesn’t come back or isn’t anywhere close to what we’ve seen from him in the past, the Bucks’ hopes for repeating as champs are cooked.

We’ve seen how porous their rim protection has been with Giannis Antetokounmpo off the floor, but beyond that, simply having that anchor and backbone of the defense is huge.

They went out and added Serge Ibaka, who has been fine in his first few games as he gets himself integrated with his new teammates and a new defense, but he won’t be able to replace what Lopez gives them.

Beyond the defense, his spacing, ability to bang in the post, and his box-outs have been sorely missed.

He joined the Bucks on their west coast road trip to get a check-up on his back and while no information has come out about how the check-up went, we continue to hear that the Bucks are not only optimistic he’ll be ready for the playoffs, but he’ll be able to play in regular season games as well.

Lopez not only returning, but being the impact player that we know he is, significantly increases the Bucks’ championship odds.