The Milwaukee Bucks are everything you want in a championship contender. They have a like-able, unselfish superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo and a plethora of reliable role players. They’re one of the top teams on both ends of the court, and they have an offensive system that seeks out most efficient shots, whether it’s in the paint or above the arc. With the Greek Freak being virtually unstoppable when he’s driving to the rim, he leaves defenses little choice but to cave in, and when they do he can then kick the ball back out to his teammates for open threes.
While this approach worked well enough in their home win over the Spurs on Saturday, it didn’t go as well in the second part of the home-and-away series, with the Spurs doing a better job at the AT&T Center of stopping the reigning MVP without fouling, plus benefiting from on off night from his teammates when he kicked the ball out.
The other key factor that lead the Spurs to victory is they used the Bucks’ own offensive system against them, with DeMar DeRozan playing the roll of Giannis. While DeRozan is on a crazy efficient streak of offense of his own, it’s the recent improved outside shootingof players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Trey Lyles, and Dejounte Murray that have allowed him to play the role of facilitator while also finding more room to operate in his comfort zones when he chooses to shoot.
In all, DeRozan shot 11-15 from the field with 7 assists in the Spurs win over the Bucks, and all of those assists resulted in threes for his teammates.
With the Spurs hitting over 45% of their threes over their last 7 games, they have skyrocketed to from 21st to third in the league in three-point shooting, which in return has allowed them to play more of a four-out approach and spread out opposing defenses. It’s hard to imagine that being a sustainable shooting number form three, but just having the threat of shooters out there will now have defenses second-guessing how to defend the Spurs beyond simply clogging the mid-range up and give DeRozan the room he needs to operate.
With a tough schedule over the next couple of months, the improvements the Spurs are showing may not always translate to wins, but if nothing else, they have definitely become more pleasant to watch. (Lonnie Walker IV playing more helps the eye test, too.)