Tier list of potential first round playoff matchups for the Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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We have reached the final week of the NBA regular season, and the playoffs are just around the corner. The Milwaukee Bucks, despite their recent struggles, still hold the second seed in the Eastern Conference and have clinched a playoff spot, but they are just one game ahead of the fourth seed and 1.5 games ahead of the fifth seed.

With the standings being so close, there still are several possible first-round matchups for the Bucks. In fact, there are still six potential teams the Bucks could face in the first round, according to PlayoffStatus.com. Here is a look at each of those teams, ranked from best possible to worst possible matchup for Milwaukee.

Best matchups for the Milwaukee Bucks

Orlando Magic

While the Bucks and Magic currently sit second and third, respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings, if either team slides in the last few games, they could see each other in the first round. This seems to be the most favorable potential first-round series for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The teams that mainly give the Bucks trouble are ones that push the pace and use a lot of player and ball movement offensively. Those who really punish defensive lapses and make opposing teams work hard on that end will likely give an older Bucks team some fits. These teams will typically rank high in fast break points, assist percentage, shortest time to shoot, and shortest time per touch.

Well, the Magic don't rank high in any of those. They are 27th in fast break points and 22nd in assist percentage, and they have the longest average time to shot and the second-longest time per touch. In short, they don't push the pace, and they don't move the ball a ton.

Orlando also doesn't have the type of high-scoring guards that could really punish the Bucks' lack of guard defense on the perimeter. They run mainly through their forwards in Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, who the Bucks shouldn't have quite as difficult a job defending matchup-wise.

And while the Magic have had a very good season and are a team capable of beating the Bucks, a lot of their damage has come against mediocre or bad teams. They are 29-7 against teams with a losing record compared to just 17-25 against all other teams. The Bucks would have a major experience advantage in this matchup against a team that hasn't proven to be very good against the best competition this year.

New York Knicks

The Knicks are another potential first-round matchup with the Bucks, and they are a team that Milwaukee has faced five times already this season. The Bucks won the first three games of the season series, but the Knicks won the last two, including the game Sunday night in Milwaukee.

New York is certainly a dangerous team, and the Bucks would have their hands full with them in a first-round series, but there are a few reasons this is a fine first-round matchup for Milwaukee. The first is that New York plays a slower and more methodical style. They have the third-longest average time to shoot and the second-lowest assist percentage in the league, and they aren't a team the Bucks should have to worry about pushing the pace too much on them.

Second, the season-ending injury to Julius Randle definitely puts a dent in their scoring and rebounding, and it likely puts a cap on their ceiling. New York is just 17-15 in games without Randle this season. One of the tougher things about a matchup with the Knicks is that they are the number one offensive rebounding team in the league, but losing Randle definitely hurts that a bit.

Lastly, New York, like Orlando, has struggled against the best teams while feasting on bad teams all season. They are a ridiculous 27-5 against teams with a losing record and 19-27 in all other games. The Knicks are very good but haven't done enough against the best teams to show they are a serious contender.

Jalen Brunson would get his points in this series -- he has averaged a whopping 37.2 points in five games against Milwaukee this season -- but I think the Bucks would be fine with that. This would be a series where they make Brunson try to beat them alone, letting him get off a ton of contested midrange looks and believing that they can limit everyone else enough to win the series.