It’s that time of year again for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
This is the moment where questions arise about Giannis ’game and the way coach Mike Budenholzer uses the 7-foot superstar. While the MVP twice had undoubtedly become a much better shooter over the years, it’s still not a strong enough food of his game to make him a threat from the outside.
And even though he had 34 points and 11 rebounds in Game 1 against the Nets, Giannis ’pick-and-roll action is still a problematic goal for the Bucks. It’s not something I just see – it’s something a three-time NBA Champion notes from his couch.
Warriors forward Draymond Green, who is known for his defensive ability and his basketball IQ, criticized the Bucks ’offensive strategy and how they used Giannis throughout his career. Many people, including myself, have said that Giannis carries too much of the primary responsibility of handling the team’s sphere, especially in the postseason. When a player who can’t shoot well dominates the ball as much as the Greek Freak, it makes all other aspects of the offense harder. Giannis is not able to drive so freely because of the defenders hanging in the driveways, and if Giannis fails to put two feet in the paint, it makes it harder for the shooters to open. Assistance defenders aren’t willing to help the most on a guy who has to take hard shots at two points instead of layup.
As Green and many other basketball players repeat continuously, playoff basketball is different from regular season ball in the NBA. You can escape with the Giannis pick-and-roll during the regular season when the attention to detail is not so high. But when teams have to force the ball to your fellow boys in the postseason, you can’t make it so easy to get the ball out of the hands of your best player. The Bucks may need to try to move Giannis further away from the ball and try to move him off the screens and let him cut to the basket. If he is able to capture it in the painting of a cut or a curl, the defense has no choice but to help hard on Giannis or he will score 60 on them every night. And when they sink the shooters will be blown away by the established blows with less pressure.
That said, there is no need for the Bucks to panic now. They probably won’t shoot badly (20 percent) by three points again as they did in Game 1. And the loss of James Harden’s Nets will likely have an impact later in this series.
However, allowing Giannis to cut, immerse and work in a casual move could be a beneficial adaptation.
Let’s see how Budenholzer and the Bucks respond in Game 2.