3 Crucial team X-factors for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 01 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 01 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jae Crowder
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 26 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

3 Team X-factors for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch: Wing defense

Last season, the Bucks were plagued by a lack of reliable wing defenders in the playoffs; Boston’s wings feasted on Milwaukee’s defenders in that seven-game series. That predicament was one of the many reasons the Bucks persistently pursued Jae Crowder for many months until they finally got him in a trade deadline deal. Crowder, among Milwaukee’s other wings, will be crucial to avoid another repeat of last season when the Bucks go against top-tier scorers.

If Crowder gets promoted into the starting lineup down the stretch, which many think he may, he will likely be assigned the team’s top-scoring wing. Though he’s looked a tad slow on that side of the ball, he’s still working his way back from a nagging calf injury. If Crowder can regain his footing and be that excellent wing defender the Bucks envisioned he could be, he could be a huge piece for this team down the stretch and into the playoffs. He has the potential to arguably be the biggest secret weapon for this Milwaukee team at this point.

Aside from Crowder, plenty of other wings will be placed under a microscope in the coming weeks. Among them are Khris Middleton, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, Pat Connaughton, and Wes Matthews. The Bucks will not expect Middleton or Ingles to be lockdown defenders, but they have struggled to the point where teams could target them on that side of things. If they could simply hold their own defensively or pester opponents at times, it would be a huge boost. The other three have the tools to be good wing defenders but have to show it more consistently.

If none of these guys are making an impact while the other team’s wing is going on a scoring tear, Budenholzer may be forced to put Antetokounmpo on them. It’s a tactic he has used occasionally in recent memory, and it could make a major difference on the big stage.

When playing against a team like the Boston Celtics, things could get ugly, just as they did on March 30, if their wings are scoring at will with little resistance from Milwaukee’s wings.

Next. 3 Bucks’ role players whose minutes could increase down the stretch. dark

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis down the stretch.