Jason Kidd‘s defense is one meant to make opposing offenses work hard for what they get. He doesn’t want guards getting a pick and slashing into the paint unopposed. He wants his big men bumping and trapping ball-handlers. He wants to force players into decisions. He wants teams to make an extra pass. He wants his players in those passing lanes.
He wants chaos.
He had it late against the Raptors. With 50 seconds to play in a one point game, Toronto inbounded the ball. Once they crossed half court and let some time run off the clock, Lou Williams, no stranger to chaos himself, waited for Amir Johnson to set a screen.
That’s when the Bucks attacked.
My favorite view of this play comes from the NBA’s player tracking software. Just watch Middleton (22).
Look at all the ground Khris Middleton covers. He moves from the paint to damn near past half court and then recovers to challenge a corner three. But one split second of indecision cost him. He didn’t quite act fast enough to steal the wild first pass Williams is forced to make to Johnson. The Bucks were in recovery mode after that. And while their efforts to recover were admirable, they weren’t enough – Terrence Ross hits the jumper in the end.
But that’s not really the biggest takeaway from this play.
If ever there was a demonstration about what’s made the Bucks a moderately interesting and refreshingly competitive team, this was one. Defense can be kind of fun, at least the way these guys play it. They play a sort of defense that could be referred to as both aggressive and fast. They trap, they attack. They use the advantages they have with the length of guys like Giannis and John Henson. They use the speed of Brandon Knight. Milwaukee is putting its tools to good use on defense. They have been all season.
Using those tools can make offenses play defensive. It’s Kidd’s dream.
So don’t be too sad about the made jumper at the end of this play. Try and feel good about this play. Try and feel optimistic about a style of play that attempts to force offenses into possessions like this one as much as possible. That style is a big reason the Milwaukee Bucks are ranked sixth in the league in defensive rating and are going to put on some interesting shows the rest of this season.