Analyzing the Milwaukee Bucks’ lack of urgency in 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

13-12 in the year 2022. This is the Milwaukee Bucks of the past 25 games.

No matter the hope that the Bucks will be able to turn their season around, or that the Bucks will be better when all their players are healthy, or that some fans continue to stay optimistic, the records speak for themselves. Even after beating the Charlotte Hornets handily in their last game (a Charlotte team on the second night of a back-to-back, who played an overtime game the night before), the Milwaukee Bucks are clearly not the same team that won the NBA Championship. The championship hangover is real.

With a little over 20 games in the regular season, the current squad has done very little to show that they are capable of repeating come playoff time. In fact, if the last few weeks have shown us anything, at this rate, the Bucks will be lucky to avoid the play-in tournament or get past the first round of playoffs.

Now, I know Pat Connaughton and Brook Lopez – two huge cogs – are unavailable. But will it be too late when the cavalry returns? In a loaded Eastern Conference, time is not on the side of the Bucks.

Looking at the Milwaukee Bucks’ lack of urgency in 2022

The thing is: it just seems like a lack of urgency. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo tells fans repeatedly in interviews and social media that the team is building good habits, fans must hope that the habits he is referring to are not being seen by the casual fan. Because to fans, 2022 has been a difficult venture. At times, the Bucks have even looked old and slow. There are a multitude of factors that one can pinpoint, but here are four ways this lack of urgency has manifested itself on the court.

  1. Defense Optional: Currently, the Bucks are in the middle of the pack for defensive rating in the league, ranking 13th, according to In 2022, it seems they have even been worse. When watching recent Bucks games, the idea of guarding the other team has become optional. Most teams are scoring well over 100 against the Bucks. One hopes the playoffs will reinvigorate their defensive effort.
  2. Effort: Speaking of effort, on a team that has Giannis leading it, it is hard to believe, yet effort has not been there for a while. Other teams are getting open 3-pointers (not new) and outworking the Bucks in the rebounding department. At times, the Bucks just look tired, which in the case of this team is completely understandable. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, for example, went right from Milwaukee to the Olympics after last year’s title and then back to Milwaukee with little downtime. And it shows.
  3. End game scenarios: The Brooklyn Nets game was a microcosm of this issue; Milwaukee had the game won, but through turnovers, lack of execution, and poor defense, they let the game slip away. The Bucks are just not finishing games and other teams are winning the end of game scenarios. And unfortunately, often winning at Fiserv Forum.
  4. Turnovers: The Bucks do not take care of the ball. Whether it is a horrific Holiday pass, Middleton getting the ball stolen, or Antetokounmpo dribbling the ball right to the defender (see Nets game), the team is turning the ball over way too much. Being lackadaisical with the basketball connects to effort and urgency.

Can the Bucks turn it around in the next month or so? Fans can hope. But this team, as it currently stands, lacks urgency and effort. The next gauntlet of games against tough opponents will reveal if this team is moving up the standings in the Eastern Conference or moving towards the play-in game.

Next. Grading the Milwaukee Bucks’ signing of Jevon Carter. dark

The next two weeks will provide the evidence, but one thing is for certain: the championship hangover is real.