Saturday, November 7, 2009

As designed, the Bucks quietly have the most efficient defense in the NBA


“The Bucks are not only headed for another season of grinding mediocrity, but they profile as a boring team.”-Basketball Prospectus 2009-10
With the exception of Brandon Jennings’ electric debut, Milwaukee’s team is exactly as prescribed: lock-down defense, no scoring, and little flair.  The Milwaukee Bucks lost three of last year’s top four scorers to free agency but coach Scott Skiles won’t let the offensive void keep them out of the playoff hunt in the East.
The Celtics have garnered the most publicity for their defense but don’t overlook what Skiles has done defensively with this Bucks squad.  Milwaukee boasts the best defensive team to date as opponents score just 89.9 points per 100 possessions and they are the only team to hold every opponent below 100 points this season.  Granted, the Bucks have yet to face a high powered offense but Skiles’ track record suggests this style is here to stay.
They don’t boast any shot blockers but they force turnovers at an extremely high rate (19.2 per game, most in NBA) and frustrate shooters (second lowest opponent true shooting percentage).   With Michael Redd shelved for the next couple weeks, the defensive side of the ball becomes even more vital to their success.
It's way too early to say that the Bucks will continue being this stingy on defense but it's great to see such a youthful roster dedicated to Skiles' philosophy from the get-go.  Who says young players can’t buy into a defensive scheme?
H/T @hoopdata

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