The foundation of the Milwaukee Bucks defense is kind of shaky. They can protect the rim, there’s no doubt about that. The Bucks plethora of blocks against the Detroit Pistons proves that. In their effort to protect the rim, their combination of slow-to-rotate wings and wild, wacky, and young power forwards leave the weakside open.
The Bucks gave up about five weakside corner threes against the Detroit Pistons. That’s fine against the Pistons. It’s going to get them burned against teams that aren’t grossly inept.
The Bulls are not an inept team. They’re injured, but not stupid. They’re not a three-point shooting team, but their three point attempts did climb from 16 to 19 three point attempts when they faced the Bucks last season. Twenty-three percent of the Bulls shots against the Bucks were corner 3s. The only reason for a selective three-point shooting team like the Bulls to increase their number of attempts is if the other team is leaving them wide open. If the Bucks are genuinely a better defensive team than last year, the Bulls won’t be taking that many threes.
In other pregame news, Derrick Rose is out. Luol Deng will be suited for the game, but has lingering groin issues. Rip Hamilton is constantly sore now for no other apparent reason other than old age. He will be ready to play. Joakim Noah still doesn’t look quite right coming back from an ankle injury. Plus, the Bulls are still getting used to a revamped bench. The Bulls are injured and not very deep. This results in Jimmy Butler playing 48 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In contrast, the Bucks are (relatively) healthy. There’s not a lot of drop-off between the starters and the bench (56 for the starters against the Pistons compared to 52 for the bench). The Bucks have a decent advantage in preseason when teams go with longer rotations. This game should be an easy win.
The great thing about Marco Bellinelli is that he’s an unrepentant trigger man. It’s not in the same way as Nick Young or Jordan Crawford who are talented young men with bad habits. Bellinelli literally has nothing else to contribute besides “I SHOOT SEVEN THREES HAHA OK.” He’s definitely going to have one of those outrageous seven for eight from three games against the Bucks if they don’t figure out how to close out on shooters.
Just because Ekpe Udoh is injured doesn’t mean this bandwagon stops. Udoh sacrificed himself so that John Henson could get playing time. He is Bucks Jesus. And half of Henson’s stats should be attributed to Udoh going forth.
Also, I had this exchange at the Bucks game:
Me: Do you have an Ekpe Udoh jersey?
Salesbro: I don’t believe so…
Me: WHY NOT!!!!!!!
Best Supporting Cast? Bucks
Prediction: Bucks steamroll 101 – 87