3 big questions for Milwaukee Bucks going into Chicago Bulls playoff series

Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Chicago Bulls: Nikola Vucevic
Mar 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

How will the Milwaukee Bucks defend Nikola Vucevic?

I don’t know about you, but I still think about what Nikola Vucevic did to the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense in that first-round series between them and the Orlando Magic back in the bubble.

Yes, Vucevic isn’t the player he was that season, the Bucks are a different (and better) defense, but it lives in my brain. In that five-game series, Vucevic averaged 28 points and shot nearly 41 percent from 3 on nearly nine attempts per game. He was the only reason the series was competitive and how they stole the first game of that series.

The Bucks have always given up above-the-break 3s and that includes pick-and-pop bigs like Vucevic.

But, as I said, the Bucks’ defense isn’t the same as it was in the bubble due to personnel and scheme and that has helped contain Vucevic to a degree. In four games against the Bucks this season, Vucevic only averaged 16.8 points on 50.6 percent true shooting.

He did shoot nearly 41 percent from 3 again but on 5.5 attempts per game. They also limited him to 18-of-42 on 2s (42.8 percent). In the most recent game, Vucevic shot 2-of-13 on 2s, and against Brook Lopez specifically, shot 5-of-16 inside the arc with no fouls.

If the Bulls want to upset the Bucks in this series, they’ll need Vucevic to score along with their two high-scoring wings and his floor spacing will be huge. However, when Vucevic is asked to pick up more of the offensive load with one of them off the floor, he will find it hard to score inside against Lopez.