It signifies a change in direction
After five years of “playing random” on one end and playing drop coverage on the other, it’s just a fact that something was bound to change for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Throughout draft day, Adrian Griffin’s hand in the front office decisions was made much more evident. It’s not a stretch to say these are probably not draft picks the Milwaukee Bucks would have made during the Mike Budenholzer era. After all, not one of them is particularly proficient at shooting the long ball, and they likely would not have even been considered by a Budenholzer-led squad that loved to “let it fly.”
Even in the early days of Adrian Griffin, it’s clear this ball club is not going to be the same team we’ve seen in recent years. He’s emphasized ball pressure, mid-game adjustments, and a dogged defensive identity in his introductory press conference, which would be a far cry from the schematically conservative defensive scheme we saw under Mike Budenholzer.
The new additions only confirm what we’ve already presumed to be true: this new era of Bucks basketball will see a palpable emphasis on hustle, perimeter athleticism, and matchup versatility going forward.
Not only is this identity taking shape, but it’s also clear that the front office is leaning into it and wholeheartedly committed to it with the decision to take in four guys of generally the same ilk.
There are parallels to Griffin’s former championship Raptors team in 2019, particularly in the overall direction of its roster construction. Think of the names you saw up and down that roster. Kawhi Leonard. OG Anunoby. Danny Green. Pascal Siakam. Serge Ibaka.
The one thing those names have in common is that they’re all gaudy, stout defenders. And now, the Bucks have their own iteration of that kind of roster. MarJon Beauchamp, Andre Jackson Jr., and Chris Livingston are all at least 6-foot-6. They’re all ripe for improvement under the tutelage of Griffin.
Whether or not this new roster can carry out that new system is another matter altogether, but it’s quite encouraging to see this team retooling and recalibrating after a largely disappointing era of Bucks basketball.
Stay tuned for more analysis on the Milwaukee Bucks rookies as they look to earn their stripes this coming Summer League.