1. Can the Bucks defend well enough to win a championship?
Milwaukee parted with Adrian Griffin, despite being 30-13, in part because of their defense. The Bucks were one of the best defensive teams in the league under head coach Mike Budenholzer, but slipped to 20th when Griffin was let go on Jan. 24. True title contenders are usually top ten in both offensive and defensive rating. The Bucks were holding up on offense, but needed to be better on defense.
Since Jan. 24, Milwaukee is tenth in defensive rating, and it is a high priority for new head coach Doc Rivers. Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo are elite defenders capable of protecting the rim. Jae Crowder and Khris Middleton are wings with size who have been standout defenders. Can the Bucks play well enough on defense with Damian Lillard to win a championship?
Their offense will be elite. They are fourth for the season and will finish in the top ten. There are zero questions. Lillard solves their late-game woes and will keep their offense from breaking down in the playoffs. It is the other end where the questions arise.
The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the NBA’s elite teams, but it is a championship or bust year. Figuring out these questions will be key in the franchise maximizing their title odds, so stay tuned to see how it all shakes out.