Starting Lineup Weakness No. 2: A solidified go-to defender
It’s obvious to point out the void that Jrue Holiday leaves in the starting lineup since being traded. He was the go-to defender for the Milwaukee Bucks to assign their opponent’s best player.
Giannis has obviously been noted for his defensive prowess, especially since he’s captured a Defensive Player of the Year award, but let’s face it: the Bucks want him to focus on the offensive side of things. Having Holiday allowed for Giannis to focus fully – or at least close to it – on offense and still be lock down defensively, while Holiday would get the No. 1 assignment.
This year, the Milwaukee Bucks will obviously need Giannis to continue to be the top-tier defender he is, but the question is, who can step up as a lockdown defender to alleviate the pressure from Giannis?
In addition to Giannis, you also look at Brook Lopez as another high-level defender, but his defensive strengths come with limitations. He showed an ability to guard pick-and-rolls last year and found himself in the race for Defensive Player of the Year. Yet, let’s face it, the Milwaukee Bucks don’t want him guarding other elite players like Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, or Steph Curry.
He doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with another team’s top scorer and would get ran off the perimeter constantly if he had to cover another wing that scores north of 20 points. Since his defense excels inside of the perimeter, the Milwaukee Bucks still have that hole to fill of who can be that No. 1 defensive option for them to look to get a pivotal stop.
Coach Griffin has stated that Beasley could be, and will most likely be, the guy who is given the toughest assignments on a nightly basis. But Beasley has not been known for his defense, which is evident by his defensive rating taking a back seat in his game over the last few seasons. But with a 6-foot-5 frame and good length to guard taller players, he appears to be the best fit for the Milwaukee Bucks to go to as that prime shutdown option.
Still, I think there is a lot of proving that needs to be done by Beasley before he is truly given the reigns as that main wing defender. He hasn’t shown the capability of being a top defender on other teams, and in a league where there are some incredible scorers, this could be a major issue for the Bucks throughout the year.
Without that major defensive threat, it could force Giannis to have to exude more energy on the defensive side of the ball, which might take away from his offensive play. This is a weakness that could have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the lineup and team, and if the Bucks don’t find that answer defensively, it could be a massive flaw that haunts the team all year.