What is the biggest area of concern for Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 22 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 22 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Listen, for as optimistic as I try to be, sometimes you need to indulge the doom and gloom part of your brain. You know, just poke around and see what’s going on. So I decided to see what the doom and gloom area of my brain thought about the Milwaukee Bucks.

Basically all season I’ve tried to hammer home that the Bucks will be fine no matter how disinterested they look or how ugly a regular season loss was. We should all know by now that regular season results don’t equal postseason success and that the regular season is more about just trying stuff, fiddling with lineup combinations, etc.

But the Bucks do have warts, no team is perfect and there are areas that have concerned me which could come back to haunt them come playoff time.

Finding the biggest area of concern for the Milwaukee Bucks

Wouldn’t it be funny if I just said “injuries” and that was the end of the article? Sure, that is an area of concern but it is for literally every team. Not even that they’re missing key bodies right now, but that they could happen at any moment.

Somewhat related to that, though, would be the concern around the lack of depth in the frontcourt. It has been an area that has concerned me since literally before the season started. No one could have predicted that Lopez would miss essentially the entire season, but they were always going to need a big to some degree.

Lopez will be back at some point down the stretch here, but there are no guarantees that he’ll look like himself. We’ve seen the Bucks adapt their defense to having Bobby Portis as a starter by blitzing pick and rolls, but that’s not a scheme that can work for long stretches as the Bucks have found out the last month or so.

Getting something from Lopez or Serge Ibaka as defenders will be huge. Head coach Mike Budenholzer would love to be able to go back to playing drop as their base pick and roll coverage while being able to mix in some of those two-to-the-ball or switching or zone looks.

The defense is a related big picture concern, but a lot of it can be explained by not having Lopez or a big that can be relied on to play a drop consistently for most of the season. I think Ibaka has done well so far, but it’s pretty clear he can’t be what Lopez has been.

Can they piece together enough good enough drop minutes in the playoffs with Lopez (assuming he isn’t at the same level as last year’s playoffs) and Ibaka? That’s the big question.

A concern that others have that I don’t share as much for the playoffs is the lack of offense from the bench. The Bucks have the third-lowest scoring bench this season and we’ve seen the reserves let down the starters more than a few times this season.

In the playoffs, though, bench scoring doesn’t matter as much as teams shorten their rotations. Also, assuming Lopez is back, Portis heads back to the bench for a little extra bench-scoring punch, so no big deal!

As long as guys such as Ibaka, Wesley Matthews, DeAndre’ Bembry, etc. can provide good defense and timely shooting, that’ll be enough.

Another smaller concern (no pun intended) is their overall lack of size. They were never able to fully replace P.J. Tucker from last season and don’t have a true small-ball four in those Giannis Antetokounmpo-at-center lineups.

There’s some hope that Bembry can shoot enough to fill in that role, but we’ll see how he fits in down the stretch. Other than him, you’re looking at a lot of Middleton playing power forward in those lineups which isn’t a bad thing, but simply something that will happen.

You will all undoubtedly have your own opinions as to what your biggest concern is, but for my money, the big man depth ends up being the biggest worry come playoff time. There’s such a ripple effect for the rest of the team and if Lopez/Ibaka can’t give them enough solid drop defense minutes from those two, I’m concerned if they have to play their blitzing defense more often or as a base.

Next. 3 areas the Milwaukee Bucks must improve to repeat as NBA Champions. dark

The Milwaukee Bucks (in my biased opinion) are still the favorites to come out of the East at this moment but some things could lead to them being knocked out of the playoffs that would make me go “well, that didn’t shock me.”