Despite the results, the Bucks had a very good week
The Milwaukee Bucks went 2-2 last week, but their performance level was much better than their record indicates. What Scott Skiles has done in his short tenure to completely change the culture of the team, as well as its performance and effort level has been nothing short of astonishing.
According to "Point Value over Average" which measures the Bucks offensive and defensive performance per possession against the average performance per possession (adjusted by home and road) against the given opponent, the Bucks averaged +2.0 for the week. Using my overall PVOA power rankings as a yardstick, that average... if sustained... would land the Bucks in the top third of the NBA.
Here is how the Bucks performances broke down according to Point Value over Average. The Bucks had one "plus" offensive game, and three "plus" defensive game. In total, the offense was -0.5 points below the NBA average for the week, but the defense averaged -2.5 points less than the NBA average. So the defense continues to carry the Milwaukee Bucks this season. However, for the season as a whole, the Bucks offensive average this week actually represents an improvement for the team, while the defensive average represents a slight decline.
The Bucks best game by far was their home game against the San Antonio Spurs. Their defense in that game was awesome. On the other hand the team's only bad game of the week, by PVOA standards, was last night against the Boston Celtics. The Bucks hung with the Celtics because of heart and determination... not performance.
What does the team's PVOA mean?
Point Value over Average essentially asks what a team's "efficiency differential" would be after accounting for the strength of their opposition. Theoretically, a team's PVOA at any point can be considered the equivalent of its "pure" efficiency differential... and that can then be used to project how the team would finish the season if they maintained that level of play.
So, using last season's efficiency differentials as a guide, if the Bucks were to play +2.0 basketball for an entire season, they would likely win 48 games (Golden State won that many with a +2.1 differential for the season). So you can fairly say the Bucks had an exceptional week last week.
The interesting speculation is this. The Bucks are playing exceptional defense, but mediocre offense. So what will happen when Michael Redd, the Bucks team's most efficient offensive player, returns? Can he shore up the offense... without harming the defense? If he can, the Milwaukee Bucks could be a playoff team.