5 noteworthy X-Factors for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Adam Silver
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have one of the hardest remaining schedules in the NBA, and while they are aware of it, that is not slowing them down so far.

Since opening the post-All-Star break with an unfortunate loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Bucks are on a six-game winning streak heading into a four-game road trip with stops in Golden State, Utah, Sacramento, and Minnesota before returning for two games at home. With that said, let us look at five potential x-factors for the Bucks as they begin their stretch run to determine their seed for the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

5 X-Factors Down the Stretch for the Milwaukee Bucks – #1: Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez was cleared for full contact work last week and has begun 5-on-5 scrimmaging in practice, and although we don’t have an official date for when Lopez will return for the Bucks yet, it should be soon. What makes Lopez an X-factor is what he could bring to the team. His defense has been missed all season, and while Bobby Portis has filled in admirably and brings plenty of offense, the Bucks still need their defensive anchor protecting the rim.

The questions surrounding Lopez stem from his injury. Will he be 100 percent healthy when he returns? Will he be able to get into mid-season condition in the amount of time he plays in the regular season before the playoffs despite not having played live game action since the season opener?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then the Milwaukee Bucks will get a strong defensive boost down the stretch and heading into the postseason. If not, whether Lopez is on a minutes restriction or needs more time for maintenance to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs, then all hands will continue to be on deck, and the Milwaukee Bucks acquisition of Serge Ibaka becomes that much more important.