Struggling Milwaukee Bucks, shorthanded at point guard, looking for answers
From NBA media reports
Identifying the issues that have plagued the Milwaukee Bucks hasn’t been difficult as they’ve hit a rough patch over the past month. They have a human resources problem, as in they don’t have enough players at certain positions to operate the way they want or expect to as a team in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Playing without guards Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova has taken a toll on the Bucks, who host the Philadelphia 76ers tonight (8 ET, ESPN). The Bucks need to take some of the pressure off of starting point guard Eric Bledsoe, who’ll have his hands full with Sixers rookie Ben Simmons. More importantly, explains Matt Velaszquez of the Journal Sentinel, they need to get healthy at point guard if they’re going to finish the regular season the right way:
To the naked eye, it’s plain to see certain things are missing. Ball movement is a notable issue, as the Bucks have consistently used isolation attempts either to attack mismatches or create offense. It hasn’t always worked, especially with Bucks All-Star and leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo getting swarmed by opposing defenses and having trouble making shots with consistency over the past month.
Too often, Milwaukee’s offense has devolved into one player attempting to go one-on-one against their defender while everyone else stands around, waiting for a kick-out pass that may or may not come.
“We’re not moving the ball side-to-side as much as we need to,” Khris Middleton said. “We showed that we could in Toronto. We can go to mismatch when we can, but sometimes he just have to play with flow, got to play with pace, got to move the ball, got to share the ball. We’re a much better team when we do that.”
The Bucks aren’t just missing shots, passes or opportunities, they’re missing players. Point guard Malcolm Brogdon went out on Feb. 1 with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon, point guard Matthew Dellavedova left a game on Feb. 4 with a sprained right ankle and guard Tony Snell has missed the past two contests due to a right thigh contusion.
The loss of Brogdon and Dellavedova has left the Bucks with one point guard — Eric Bledsoe — for the past month. Antetokounmpo and Middleton have slotted into that role often, with Antetokounmpo admitting after Wednesday’s loss in Detroit that having to play point guard has affected his mentality and aggressiveness.
“Definitely, I mean, they’re a big part of our team,” Middleton said when asked about missing Dellavedova and Brogdon. “Those guys, they’re a huge part of what we do and how we play.”