Coach K getting his message through
When I do my Power Rankings, I do them based exclusively on Efficiency Differential. That is, the difference between each team's Offensive Efficiency (pts scored/100 possessions) minus that team's Defensive Efficiency (pts allowed/100 possessions).
Last season the Bucks finished near the bottom of my Power Rankings with a -5.0 Efficiency Differential. Their poor score was due to their poor Defensive Efficiency, which, at 109.7, was second worst in the Association.
Thus far in the preseason, the Bucks have turned that around. Their Defensive Efficiency is a sterling 96.4, which is better than the best DE mark posted last season (the Spurs and Bulls finished tied for the best DE mark for the 2006-07 season at 98.0). That's the good news.
The bad news is that the Bucks preseason Efficiency Differential (-4.5) is nearly as bad as it was last season, because their offense has dropped off badly. Their Offensive Efficiency currently stands at 91.9, which would be good if the Association still used peachbaskets instead of hoops and nets, but which would have been dead last by about 10 points last season (the worst team in the NBA by Offensive Efficiency in '06-'07 was the Indiana Pacers, who finished at 100.4).
That said, I take this primarily as good news. The offense will come. Defense is a mentality that has to be inculcated. And so far, it seems Coach K is getting that done.