Milwaukee Bucks’ 2nd round loss highlights biggest flaw in roster

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 15: (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 15: (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks season came to an end sooner than fans and the team certainly would have liked after an anticlimatic Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics. It was a fun series as a basketball fan and seeing the defending champs push arguably the best team in the second half of the season that far without their second-best player was admirable.

However, the series loss without Khris Middleton also highlights one of the roster’s biggest defects and it was something that many (including myself) had worried was a concern throughout the season.

The flaw in the Milwaukee Bucks roster that must be addressed this offseason

Many athletes say that although they hate to lose, a loss can be a learning experience for them. It should also be a learning experience for the organization in improving and optimizing the roster for the next season and beyond.

If I were in charge of the Bucks (thankfully for everyone, I’m not), adding wing depth would be my first, second, and third priority. They simply need more wing-sized players beyond Middleton if they want to truly have a roster built to win in the playoffs.

They attempted to fill those holes with bargain bin signings such as Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood (remember those guys?) while also hoping that they’d get more out of Jordan Nwora coming into this season but none of those options turned out to be viable.

They got lucky that Wesley Matthews a) only wanted to play for them, b) was still very effective, and c) didn’t get injured. No offense to Matthews, though, but you can’t even really classify him as a wing-sized player at 6’4″ and 220 pounds. He fared very well against Jayson Tatum and DeMar DeRozan as those two combined to shoot 25-of-59 against Matthews, but beyond him, there wasn’t much else they could do.

Adding DeAndre’ Bembry in the buyout market was a nice get and it was unlucky that he suffered a major injury but his presence doesn’t change much for this series. I liked the Bembry addition but he would have had a hard time playing consistently in the playoffs with his lack of shooting.

You saw the limitations in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotations. For as much as I complained about Grayson Allen playing too much or others bemoaning George Hill’s playing time, they needed the minutes from those guys because they literally had no one else to turn to. Jevon Carter is awesome, I might be his biggest fan among this fanbase, but he’s too small to fill that wing defender role and wouldn’t have made all that much of a difference in this series over Hill (although I do hope they keep him).

The loss of P.J. Tucker will be brought up constantly in the coming weeks and months, especially with the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals but they need to get younger and more athletic at this position too.

Once Middleton went down it put a huge strain on the roster with all of their smaller but athletic guards being asked to defend guys that they aren’t really suited to be up against.

I’ve been vocal that the Bucks need to keep their first-round draft pick this year after drafting near the bottom of the second round the last couple of seasons. There are a couple of early names to look out for whether it be an underclassman (more development, higher upside) or upperclassman (more NBA ready, lower ceiling).

They also have a $6.4 million tax mid-level exception that could certainly prove useful in acquiring talent this offseason as well as a $6.3 million in cash to send or receive in a trade.

They need to invest real resources in this position group because that’s where the NBA is headed. You need bigger guys who can defend and hit 3s to win in this league and the Bucks simply don’t have enough of them.

Next. 3 early 2022 NBA Draft prospects for the Milwaukee Bucks to consider. dark

When you have a player of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s caliber, the Milwaukee Bucks need to do everything they can to optimize the roster around him. This will be a fascinating offseason.