Here are five thoughts from the Nets' loss to the Wizards on Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
1. A disappointing effort with this much on the line
The Nets jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and looked like the superior squad to the below .500 Wizards. Things went back and forth and the Wizards took an eight-point lead into halftime. Then came the third quarter...
Brooklyn was outscored 33-19. Washington beat them to every loose ball, was more physical on the boards and frankly, looked like the hungrier team. This was disappointing from Brooklyn's perspective. With 19 games remaining in the regular season, the Nets are the currently the #6 seed. But, they are only 1.5 games ahead of the Pistons and 3 games ahead of the Hornets. Given their difficult remaining schedule, the Nets can't afford to lose home games to teams behind them in the standings.
Regardless of how it all ends, this has been a successful season for the Nets. Nobody predicted a potential playoff run. Now that they are close, it would be a disappointment if they don't make it. But, as mentioned before in these postgame pieces, there are levels to winning in the NBA. This is the first time this collection of players are playing games that matter this late into the season. There are teams that want to spoil the Nets run and solidify their own playoff seeding. Winning games when you have to is different than winning when no one expects.
Following the game Nets' head coach, Kenny Atkinson talked about his team's effort.
2. Caris LeVert's offense will take time before it's back to pre-injury level
LeVert finished with 0 points in 20 minutes of action on Wednesday night. This was the first time LeVert had been held scoreless in a game since January 2, 2017, his rookie season. The Wizards played pretty solid defense on him, but he missed a few shots at the rim after beating his defender off the dribble.
His timing appears to be off on his rim attacks and his shot. He will have games, like Monday evening against San Antonio, where he looks like the Caris of old. But it will take him some time to be consistent. The challenging part for the Nets is, they will need him to play well over these next 19 games to put a stranglehold on a playoff berth.
The good news is, Caris is playing well defensively and not forcing anything on the offensive end. He and D'Angelo Russell are building their on-court chemistry, hopefully, it will be in time for the squad's first playoff appearance.
Atkinson talked about LeVert's struggles and what can be done.
3. D'Angelo Russell's ceiling as a player
Russell was the lone bright spot on Wednesday night for the Nets. He finished with 28 points, 7 assists and was 9-10 from the free throw line. He was an all-star for the first time this year and is blossoming into the player many thought he could be when the Lakers drafted him #2 overall in 2015. He is averaging career highs across the board in all the major categories in this his fourth season. The Nets have a difficult decision to make at the end of the season, Russell is a restricted free agent and will command a maximum deal, whether the Nets believe it or not. The question is what do Nets management and staff see as Russell's ceiling?
In many ways, he is a polarizing figure. His supporters will point to the fact that he is an all-star and his numbers at this age compare favorably with future Hall of Fame guards, Stephen Curry and James Harden. His detractors will say he was an injury-replacement to the all-star team this year, and while he's putting up career numbers he isn't a plus athlete or a plus defender. His ability to get separation is often predicated on the help of a teammates screen.
The reality is, we don't know what the ceiling is for Russell. But the Nets have to predict the future when making their offer to him this summer. A Harden/Curry ceiling may be overstating his case but maybe Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday are fair comps. Either way, it will be an interesting summer of negotiations.
4. Spencer Dinwiddie's return to the court is likely soon
It looks like Spencer Dinwiddie's return to the court will happen soon. Dinwiddie was on the court prior to Wednesday night's game putting up shots.
*Video courtesy of Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily
Dinwiddie hasn't been cleared for full contact and scrimmaging yet, but it looks like that will be any day now. The return of Dinwiddie after thumb surgery will be a welcome boost for the Nets down the stretch. His shooting and penetration abilities were sorely missed. His return will also allow Atkinson to settle his rotations. Like LeVert though, it will take Dinwiddie some time to get his rhythm back.
5. Nets being sued by Coogi for Biggie jerseys
Coogi, the Australian fashion brand made popular in the United States by the late rapper The Notorious B.I.G. is suing the Nets. The lawsuit is over the Nets' city edition jerseys that honor the Brooklyn rapper. The trim on the uniforms is reminiscent of the Coogi patterns.
Coogi asserts the Nets did not receive proper authorization to use their pattern and is now taking legal action against them, as well as the NBA, Nike, New Era, and Russell Brands for merchandise with the pattern.
Five Thoughts From The Nets' 101-85 Win Over The Spurs, Including a Three Point Barrage & The Lighter Side of Gregg Popovich (Video)Read Now
Here are five thoughts from the Nets' 101-85 win over the Spurs at The Barclays Center Monday night.
1. Nets started the week off right
We've discussed the monster of a schedule the Nets have coming up in March. Monday night was the start of a brief three-game homestand. The Nets are currently the #6 seed in the playoff race, but only 3.5 games separate them from the Orlando Magic, who are out of the playoffs. It is important that the Nets "bank" as many home games as possible since they will be on the road for the majority of March.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson talked about the importance of playing well at home in his pregame comments.
Following the game, Caris LeVert echoed Kenny's sentiments.
Monday night's win over the Spurs was an excellent start to the week. They were physical on defense and shot the ball well from three. Though the Spurs are sputtering of late, 1-7 in their last 8 games, it's still a Gregg Popovich coached team. After getting blown out by the Knicks on Sunday night, it would stand to reason that the Spurs would be better. But the Nets took it to them and really broke the game open in the second quarter. Speaking of...
2. Caris LeVert's 12-point second quarter run
Monday night was the best Caris has looked since his return to the lineup from injury. He finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists. But it was a personal 12-2 run in the second quarter that helped push the Nets' lead to 14 at halftime.
Caris was aggressive going downhill, finishing at the rim, his floater looked good and he hit a couple threes. The biggest sign that Caris is "back" is the fearlessness and relentless energy in his attack. The rhythm and timing on his jump shot will come with time. The other important thing is he and D'Angelo Russell appear to be developing their on-court chemistry. Remember, these two haven't logged a lot of on-court minutes together. DLo was hurt last season and Caris was hurt for the majority of this season.
Following the game, Caris talked about the team win.
3. Nets blitzed the Spurs from the three-point line
Brooklyn made 19 threes to only 4 for San Antonio. That's a recipe for a blowout. Joe Harris and DLo each connected on five from deep. Defensively, the Nets ran the Spurs off the three-point line and closed out to shooters very well. That defensive strategy means the Spurs would take more midrange shots which they are pretty good at converting.
4. The King and Crown Prince of the midrange
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge take the most shots in the league in the midrange. Both were efficient last night finishing with 23 points (9-14) and 26 points (12-21) respectively. In a league that prioritizes the three, these two and the Spurs as a whole are a throwback. Despite playing that "old school" type of basketball, the Spurs have an offensive rating of 112.1. That's good enough for #7 in the league.
That's the Spurs. They often zig when the league zags, and that's due in large part to their Hall of Fame coach, Gregg Popovich.
5. Gregg Popovich
5X champion, 3X coach of the year, and 22 seasons at the helm of the San Antonio Spurs. Pop has built a legendary career and has coached some of the best players this league has ever seen. He is no doubt in the twilight of his career, but he's still a competitor and enjoys the nuances and the beauty of the game.
Prior to Monday's game against the Nets, Pop held court with the assembled media and waxed poetically on a variety of topics. His team's offense and defense, the men's national team, his coaching tree, Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson. Pop also has a funny interaction with yours truly. Enjoy!
Five Thoughts From The Nets' 113-99 Loss to The Trail Blazers, Including All-Star Hangover and Damian Lillard (Video)Read Now
Here are five thoughts from the Nets’ 113-99 loss to the Blazers on Thursday night at Barclays Center.
1. All-Star hangover or sign of things to come...
Both teams looked slow and sluggish to start the game. Makes sense considering the week-long all-star break. The shooting was poor overall and the players' legs looked a bit heavy. The Nets shot 39% overall and a dismal 19% (7-36) from three. The Blazers were not much better, shooting 43% overall and 22% from three. But they punished the Nets inside, outscoring them 66-50 in the paint.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that regardless of how well the Nets played, this was always going to be a tough game. You could argue Portland had the three best players on the floor with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic. However, for a team that wants to make the playoffs. This was not the way to come out of the break, particularly with the schedule they have coming up.
We've discussed it before. The Nets have a brutal schedule following the all-star break and much of it will be on the road and against playoff teams in both conferences.
Nothing looks like a "gimme". Save perhaps Washington, Cleveland, and Atlanta?
There does appear to be some kinks that need to be worked out now that Caris LeVert is back in the lineup and initiating some of the offense. When the Nets were playing better basketball, D'Angelo Russell had that responsibility. There is no doubt the players and coaches are good enough to adjust. But they'll have to do it quickly and against stiff competition.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson postgame on the loss.
2. Kenny Atkinson is searching
There is a fine line a coach walks between consistency and searching for an edge. Kenny Atkinson and his staff have done a pretty good job of that this season. But they will need to be even better coming down the last stretch of the season if they want to make the playoffs.
With the team almost back to full strength (awaiting the return of Spencer Dinwiddie from injury), Atkinson and his staff will need to settle on who his "crunch time" five are. LeVert, Russell, and Jarrett Allen are the team's three best players, so it would seem logical that they are part of the five. But that depends. LeVert is still working his way back into form, though he started Thursday night. Russell is sometimes pulled late for specific matchups and Allen often finds himself in foul trouble.
The ideal mix for Atkinson and the squad on most nights are two attacking ball handlers, a versatile wing/big, a good catch and shoot player, and a rim protector. While the roster seemingly has these types of players, they don't always fit those roles on a given night. Whether it be poor shooting, foul trouble, or just poor play.
This is the first time in a long time, and the first for this collection of players, that the Nets are playing meaningful games post all-star. They got here because of the collective group effort. If they want to remain in the playoff race and ultimately make it, every player will need to contribute and play to his role and potential.
3. Barclays Center was sort of loud
Brooklyn is near the bottom of the league in home attendance. There are a number of factors that we could get into at a later date. But the reality is, it is not much of a homecourt advantage. When the marquee teams come to play at Barclays the crowd is filled with the road team's jerseys than the home team.
Of all the home games this season, Thursday's crowd seemed to be the loudest and most supportive of the Nets.
4. Enes Kanter is a great addition to the Blazers
In his first game action for his new team, Kanter came off the bench and scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 20 minutes. He has his liabilities defensively, though that part of his game is so puzzling. He loves to initiate contact on the offensive end but seems to be caught between being physical and playing positional on the defensive end. It's very strange.
Regardless, he should help Portland in the playoffs and solidify that second unit. The Blazers are a perennial playoff team, and for a variety of reasons haven't made that next step. The addition of Kanter and Rodney Hood give them some flexibility with that second unit. Not to mention, in a league where everyone goes small, head coach Terry Stotts can do some things in select situations with two bigs (Nurkic and Kanter).
Following the game, Kanter talked about how happy he is to be playing basketball again.
5. Damian Lillard
This wasn't a particularly good shooting night for Dame. He finished 5-21 overall and 2-9 from three for 13 points. But he had 8 rebounds and 8 assists and was a +30. So he positively impacted the game and contributed to the win as all great players do.
Lillard is one of the league's more interesting players. An all-star and all-NBA performer, who is part underdog part nobody's underdog, if that makes sense. He appears to be a man very comfortable with himself and his place in the league, and is thoughtful with what he says and does.
He was recently a guest on Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes' Posted Up Podcast where he talked about playing in Portland and not being willing to "sell out" to win a championship. It's good stuff and any NBA fan should listen.
Following the game, Lillard talked about the win and what the team needs to do down the stretch run as they head into the playoffs.
Five Thoughts From The Nets’ Crushing 125-106 Loss to The Bulls, Including The Return of Caris LeVert (Video)Read Now
Here are five thoughts from the Nets’ 125-106 loss to the Bulls at Barclays Center on Friday night.
1. This was a bad loss
The Nets have been uneven as of late. 2-5 in their last 7 games, after going 8-2 in the 10 games prior. We’ve discussed the injury bug, which has certainly impacted this team, and the need for the all-star break to get some rest and recharge. Regardless, last night’s loss to the Bulls was a bad one. Chicago is one of the worst teams in the league, they are 29 games under .500. Yes, it’s true that all NBA teams have talent, and on any given night even the best teams can be beaten. But, for a team like the Nets with designs of making the playoffs, they need to beat the teams they are supposed to.
From the opening tip, the Bulls had more energy and beat the Nets to the ball. The Bulls were quicker, hungrier, and honestly, they looked like a team with young talent poised to make the playoffs.
As the league’s new “upstarts” the Nets will have to contend with teams coming into Brooklyn looking to put a damper on the feel-good story and test the Nets and see if it’s hype or if this team is for real. The Nets have proven all season they can play with and beat the better teams in the league. The next step in their development is bringing that same energy consistently on a nightly basis.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson discusses the loss and the team’s mindset postgame.
2. The defense was poor
The Nets gave up 30+ points in three of the four quarters Friday night. The Bulls shot 54% from the field and 50% from three. That type of defense is not going to cut it. The Nets were slow with their rotations and late getting out to shooters. Head coach Kenny Atkinson even employed a zone in the second half to change things up, but Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter were zone busters. Both players combined to go 8-12 from three.
Defense is largely a communication and effort “thing”. Both were lacking from the Nets on Friday for whatever reason. This doesn’t appear to be a situation where the Nets looked past the Bulls after having defeated the Nuggets on Wednesday and playing the Raptors on Monday. They just didn’t come out with intensity and it’s likely due to fatigue.
Jarrett Allen postgame on the team’s loss.
3. It’s a make or miss league and Rodions Kurucs is struggling
The Nets did not shoot it well on Friday night. It is often said the NBA is a “make or miss league”. The implication being that, plays can be drawn up perfectly and the right defense can be called for a situation, but at the end of the day it comes down to players making or missing shots.
The Nets shot 41% from the field and took 41 threes, connecting on only 13 for a 31.7% conversion rate. Give the Bulls some credit, but the Nets missed a ton of wide open looks as well. Over the course of the Nets uneven play lately has been uneven shooting. No surprise there.
During this same stretch of uneven play, rookie Rodions Kurucs has come back to earth. This is nothing surprising or to be particularly worried about. It happens with all rookies and young players. The rigors, speed, and grind of the NBA season are a lot to manage. Over his last 10 games, Kurucs is averaging less than 8 points a game and shooting under 37% from the field. Again, slumps are common for rookies and young players. But the Nets want to be a playoff team and in order for that to happen, the collective will have to play well, and that included Kurucs.
4. Caris LeVert is back
Welcome back, welcome back, WEL-COME back. The return of LeVert from injury was a welcome addition last night despite the loss. LeVert didn’t force things during his stint in the first quarter and was active on defense throughout the half registering three steals. In the second half, he was more aggressive and displayed the athleticism and ability that had many projecting him as an all-star this season. He finished with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. His legs weren’t quite underneath him on his shots, but that will come.
This is the ideal time for LeVert to rejoin the squad. The Nets have two more games before the break, at Toronto, and at Cleveland. LeVert’s minutes will likely ramp up over these two games, and during the break, he will continue to get his conditioning up.
The 10 games immediately after the break will be challenging but there will be enough winnable games that LeVert can work his way back into heavier minutes and the starting lineup. Then there is the final 13 game stretch of the season (10 road games) beginning with a game at Oklahoma City on March 13th that will likely decide the Nets playoff fate. They will need LeVert playing to his pre-injury potential to navigate that gauntlet.
Following the game, LeVert spoke to the media about being back on the floor with his teammates.
5. Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine are good
If the Bulls weren’t such a dumpster fire of an organization, the future would look bright. The 21-year-old Markkaen finished with 31 points, 18 rebounds and was a +17. He was a terror all night. The Nets had no answer for him on the boards and on the block. He also hit on 4-7 from three. The 23-year-old LaVine was just as effective, finishing with 26 points, 5 assists, and a +12 rating. When the Nets made it somewhat close (9 points) in the fourth, LaVine took over. He attacked the Nets defense off the dribble and got to the rim at will.
Building a team around LaVine, Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr (rookie, who is injured) seems to make a lot of sense. If the Bulls can somehow manage to get out of their own way, this could be a team to reckon with in the future.
Here are five thoughts from the Nets’ 135-130 win over the Nuggets at Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
1. A much-needed win…
The Nets came into Wednesday’s game losers of 4 of their previous 5 games. The injury bug has really depleted this squad and they were limping into next week’s all-star break. Last night’s win was a much-needed shot in the arm as they head into the last three games before they break.
It wasn’t a pretty game, defensively, for the Nets but they made a ton of shots and broke out of their recent shooting slump. They scored 135 points and needed every single one of them to secure the win. This team is void of true top-end talent, but the collective is really good and the camaraderie and chemistry are undeniable. The Nets believe they are a playoff team and sweeping the season series against the #2 team in the western conference has this team in good spirits.
2. Second quarter spurt
It really started late in the first quarter, the Nuggets were up 33-22 with 2:11 to go and the Nets looked like they were headed down a bad road. But they closed the quarter on an 8-2 run and that carried over into the second.
The Nets outscored the Nuggets 42-25 in the second. They shot 13-22 from the field and 7-9 from three. They were rolling. The ball was moving, players were cutting and screening, and this led to easy and wide open baskets.
Their offense gets the credit for this second quarter push, but their defense was key. Holding the Nuggets to one shot per possession and leaking out on the fast break for easy transition baskets.
3. Double-doubles and assists
The Nets had three players record double-doubles last night. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 27 points and 11 assists (he also had 6 rebounds). DeMarre Carroll had 18 points and 10 rebounds (he also had 6 assists), and Shabazz Napier had 10 points and 11 assists.
This team plays its best when they move and share the ball. Coaches often say, “the ball has energy” and when it’s constantly moving and everyone touches, it unlocks a higher level of team play.
As a team, the Nets had a season-high 36 assists. This is the most assists they have registered at Barclays Center since the 2012-2013 season.
4. Brooklyn’s fourth-quarter defense was not good
As good as the Nets were in the second quarter, the Nuggets were equally as good in the fourth. The Nuggets outscored the Nets 43-27 in the final frame. Part of that is the Nuggets excellence on offense. They are the #3 team in the league in offensive rating. The way they move the ball and run action with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray is scary. But the Nets also contributed with slow rotations and closeouts to shooters, as well as failing to box out on some rebounds.
Poor execution and turnovers by the Nets on offense lead to runouts and a few fast break points for the Nuggets as they mounted their comeback. But in the end, the Nets did just enough in the closing possessions to secure the win.
5. Nikola Jokic is a terrific player, but not quite an MVP, yet…
The Nuggets big man finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists on Monday night. His 10th triple-double of the season. He is the “darling” of “NBA nerds” and writers (like me) who value efficiency and look beyond the box score when analyzing players. But this talk of him being an MVP candidate is a bit premature.
Yes, he is the best player on the most improved team in the league. His ability to pass, see the floor, read defenses and shoot are among the likes we’ve never seen from a big man. But the first time all-star still has a ways to go before we put him in the class of perennial MVP candidates like LeBron, KD, Steph, and Harden. He’s not even ready to be in the conversation with guys like Giannis and PG-13. But he’s coming…
He’s slow of foot and struggles at times defensively. His conditioning needs to improve and come playoff time, you can see how teams will attack him in spread pick and roll. But he’s only 23 and the Nuggets found a gem with the #41 pick in the 2014 draft.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s full postgame presser. He talks about his team’s shooting, sharing the ball, and coaching D’Angelo Russell.
Five Thoughts From The Nets’ 113-94 Loss to The Bucks, Including Eric Bledsoe And D’Angelo Russell Going at Each Other (Video)Read Now
Here are five thoughts from the Nets’ 113-94 loss to the Bucks on Monday night at Barclays Center.
1. Poor Shooting
This game was ugly from the start. The Nets offense looked all out of sorts, clunky, clumsy, and disjointed. The passes were off, ball movement wasn’t really there and shots were not falling. Let’s be clear. The Milwaukee Bucks are the best team in the NBA, record-wise. They are the only team in the top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating, 4th and 1st respectively, and they are #1 in net rating. All that is to say, the Bucks defense was responsible for some of the Nets struggles on Monday night. Their length and switchability is a real problem and can take you out of what you want to run. But the Nets were to blame as well. The Nets missed several easy shots at the rim and a lot of open looks. They finished 33-102 from the field, that’s 32%. They were 5-42 from deep, 11.9%.
Following the game, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson talked about the team’s struggle on offense.
2. The Nets have exhausted their current roster
Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, Jared Dudley, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris are all injured. That’s a lot of defense, three-point shooting, veteran savvy, and shot creation missing from the lineup. Shabazz Napier, Theo Pinson, Treveon Graham, Mitchell Creek, and Dzanan Musa are nice players to fill in and use for spot duty. But, when they are thrust into the lineup and have to play major meaningful minutes, that’s not a recipe for success.
The secret to winning basketball is chemistry, cohesion and every player knowing their role. The problem with injuries is it causes people to fill roles they are not equipped to handle. Coaches and player always preach “next man up” philosophy, and to a certain extent that is true. But there are levels to this. There is a reason some players start, and others come off the bench. There is a reason some players are on an NBA roster and others are in the G league. Players need to be put in positions to succeed, and if that doesn’t happen it could negatively impact confidence and more.
3. The Nets really need the all-star break to get some rest and reset
Three losses in a row and four of their last five. This has not been a good stretch for this undermanned Nets team. Their net rating has dipped back on the negative side, they are only 1 game above .500, and the #7 through #9 seeds are gaining ground.
From now until the beginning of the all-star break (February 14) the Nets play just about every other day. They have games against the Nuggets, Bulls, Raptors, and Cavaliers. At a minimum, they need to go 2-2. It would be helpful if they could steal one of the games against the Nuggets or Raptors. The Nuggets game is at home on Wednesday night, that’s their best chance. Although, these aren’t your father’s Nuggets, or are they? #2 seed in the west, 3rd in offensive rating and 13th in defense, and they boast sleeper MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.
But there is good news on the horizon. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Caris LeVert is back to 5-on-5 practice, and he will ratchet up the scrimmages and contact, as well as get some time in the G league. There is a chance he could be back before the break or immediately after. LeVert was looking like an all-star before the injury and the Nets need him back in the worst way. That schedule coming out of the break and to end the season is brutal. We wrote about it here.
But Atkinson and GM Sean Marks have confidence and faith in the culture they have built in Brooklyn. Prior to the game, Atkinson talked about his performance staff and his confidence that they will be able to get their guys back healthy and get rolling.
More from Atkinson on getting right as they head into the break.
4. Eric Bledsoe took his matchup with D’Angelo Russell personally
This could have been the matchup of the all-star snubs, but as it turned out Dlo was selected as an all-star replacement for injured Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. In a league fueled by competitive fire, and slights you could tell Bledsoe wanted to show why he, should have been selected an all-star.
Early in the game with Dlo on him in an isolation situation, Bledsoe put Dlo in a blender with a cross and spin move. Not to be deterred, Dlo came right back down the floor and drained a triple right in Bledsoe’s face.
Neither player shot the ball particularly well, but the Bucks got the win and Bledsoe finished +13. These teams will meet again on April 1st.
Bledsoe shaking DLo
After the game, Giannis talked about Bledsoe taking his matchup with Dlo personally
5. The Bucks could be a special team
They are 39-13 (best record in the league) and #1 in net rating. The Milwaukee Bucks are good. Really good. Giannis grabs all the attention, as he should. He finished last nights game with 30 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. If there wasn’t a player in Houston by the name of James Harden, Giannis would be the runaway MVP. Regardless, what he’s doing this season can’t be denied. Giannis is averaging 27 ppg, 13 rpg, and 3 apg on 57% shooting this season. His PER is 29.5 and he has a TS% of .630. The scary part is, he could be even better. His jumper is not really reliable. Yet…
What head coach Mike Budenholzer has done is unlock this team’s ability with his “5 out” offense. There is constant motion and action, it allows Giannis to be a primary ball handler at times, creates mismatches all over the floor, and leads to wide open threes.
There is still a third of the season to go, but after 50 games “Bud” likes where his team is. The playoffs will be the true test. How will they adjust when team’s force Giannis to take jumpers and cutters and back screeners are bumped? Will Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Tony Snell shoot it well in the pressure cooker of April and May basketball? Time will tell. But this Bucks team looks the part right now.