When I switched on NBATV earlier this evening and saw the the Milwaukee Bucks were down 39-66 to the Boston Celtics, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. It’s hard to be shocked when a team as offensively inept doesn’t score the ball, especially against one of the better defensive teams in the league like Boston. It was only a matter of time before the Bucks had a night like this and, to be quite honest, this game was not all that different than the majority of Milwaukee’s games so far this season.
The Bucks ended up losing 87-56, setting a franchise record for the lowest point total ever while the Celtics broke their franchise record for fewest points allowed in a game in the shot clock era. The 56-point output tied Milwaukee for the fifth worst offensive performance in NBA history in the shot clock era.
Milwaukee has been the worst offensive team in the league this season, scoring a horrid 98.3 points per 100 possessions. They have the lowest true shooting and regular field goal percentage in the league while also making three-pointers at the third worst rate. They have the fourth lowest assist rate in the league, which means they have the fourth lowest percentage of assisted baskets in the NBA. The Bucks take the eighth most 16-23 footers in the league and shoot the eighth worst percentage from that distance. Milwaukee does manage to shoot the eighth most shots at the rim per game in the league, but they convert those looks at a league worst 57.4%.
There are a laundry list of things wrong with the Bucks’ offense with the scheme to the players they have running the plays. A lack of shooting or a low-post threat makes Milwaukee a team with no strength on that end of the floor.
Andrew Bogut, when healthy, is a great scorer on the block but he won’t be fully healthy until next season. Brandon Jennings showed so much potential last season but he’s been a disaster this season, shooting just 38% from the floor and 34% from three point range while taking 15 shots a game to score 16 points. John Salmon and Corey Maggette are the only quality offensive players the Bucks have but they are just about average and are way too prone to shoot mid-range jumpers for them to improve their team’s offensive efficiency in any way.
The crazy part about the Bucks is that they are just a game and a half back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with an outside shot of actually capturing that spot. It is a chore to watch the Bucks at this point because of their atrocious offense, but their team defense is just good enough to keep them in games.
Last season it was fun to see the Bucks in the post-season because of the swagger that Jennings had but at this point, I’d much rather not see a team like Milwaukee go into the playoffs. Just like last season, they are not at full strength (Bogut is clearly still limited) and the Pacers are a fast-paced team that has just as many fun-to-watch players as the Bucks did last year if not more.
Milwaukee is another year away from being a playoff contender. Right now, they’re a pitiful offensive team that is quite capable of scoring in the sixties or seventies on any given night.