Can you win with just defense? The Bucks are testing that theory
This Bucks season is turning into one of those stories where the jeanie grants your 3 wishes and you dont say them exactly right and you end up with a head made of gold.
For years we were rightfully bitching about the Bucks defense. They refused to play any.
Then Scott Skiles came to town and "Presto" the Bucks become a defensive machine. That's the good news.
The bad news is their offense is just terrible. The untold story last season was that the team's per court player offensive Win Score average (-1.1) was actually slightly worse than their per court player defensive Win Score average(-0.9). When I did my Win Splits at the end of the season, the Bucks offensive half wins were slightly lower than their defensive half wins. Meaning, while we all griped about the defense, the offense was actually worse.
Now, somehow, its gone completely in the toilet. And that's after we added Richard Jefferson to the mix.
Tonight's road game against the Sixers was a perfect example of the Bucks dilemma. The Bucks played AWESOME defense (except at the point guard position where they are suffering for some reason... I'll explore that weakness in another post). The current NBA team Win Score average per 48 minutes is 43.8 (its skyrocketing). Tonight, in Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Bucks held the Sixers to a miniscule Win Score of 35.1. That's championship defense. The problem is the Bucks cashed in with their own puny Win Score of 31.5. And, if you think that's bad, think about this. That's close to their average for the season.
For the season, the Bucks team Win Score average is 34.5 (worse than last season... ugh, that's what I feared would be the Skiles trade-off). If you subtract that from the NBA average, and divide by five, you get a per court player Win Score average per 48 minutes of playing time of -1.8. That's horrible. If you run that through the formula, the Bucks offense has created 5.3 half wins. Meaning, if the Bucks defense matched their offense, the team would be about 5-22 or 6-21.
Luckily, the defensive average is 40.7 (a major improvement from last season's 48.0, but they almost have to get it down into the 30s given their offense). Anyway, that translates into a defensive Win Score per court player per 48 minutes of court time of +0.6. Run that above average score through the formula, you get 16.4 half wins.
So, if the Bucks offense matched their defense, the team would be about 16-11 or 15-12. Headed toward a record that would make Pressey23 smile. Unfortunately, the defensive effort only counts for half.
You put the two together and divide by two, and you almost get an exact translation of the Bucks win count: 10.8 (the Bucks have 11 wins).
So either we have to almost ratchet our defense up to late 80s Piston levels, or we have to somehow get some offense brewing.
I'm going to have a TWC boxscore that will break down the Bucks play in about a half hour. Tomorrow I'm doing a breakdown of the two key offensive categories: Net Possessions and Points per Possession. By doing that, I will try to expose the Bucks offensive weak spots. Or at least I'll do my best to see what's there.
Hang in there Bucks fans. I'm still convinced that better days are coming... if we can get the lid off that GD rim! Someone got an industrial sized can opener?!