Set to meet in the second round, in a series that many are calling “the real NBA Finals,” the matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks is due to be one for the ages. Milwaukee is coming off a convincing sweep against the Miami Heat; Brooklyn took down the Boston Celtics in 5 games.
These two squads met up 3 times in the regular season, the first being a 125-123 Nets victory in January and the second two games going Milwaukee’s way in a May mini-series.
Cracking Milwaukee’s defense will be a big ask for Brooklyn and it’s something I covered in an earlier video, which I absolutely recommend (re?)watching as it serves as preview material for the upcoming Bucks-Nets series.
But on the other end of the floor, the Nets will be forced to tangle with Milwaukee’s two-time MVP, Giannis Antetonkoumpo. In this video, I go through each of Brooklyn’s options to defend Giannis and touch on their respective pluses and minuses.
1:05 Blake Griffin - Though Blake hasn’t looked great per se in the postseason, the matchup against Milwaukee — and hopefully Giannis — could be better suited for Blake’s defensive skillset. A solid 72nd percentile post-up defender, per Synergy, and someone who held Antetokounmpo to 13-of-35 shooting in the regular season, Blake Griffin may be Brooklyn’s best shot at defending Giannis.
2:39 DeAndre Jordan - Much like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan presents intriguing possibilities as a post-up defender (89th percentile), though he doesn’t offer the same level of versatility as a movable big man. Because of this, Giannis shot 20-of-44 during the regular season against Jordan on a diet of jump shots.
3:31 Nicolas Claxton - Clax is basically Brooklyn’s unknown X-Factor for guarding Giannis. Thanks to his time on the league’s health & safety protocols list, Claxton only played 5 total minutes against Milwaukee in the regular season.
3:54 Kevin Durant + General Schemes - It is unlikely that Kevin Durant handles much (if any) of the Giannis duties, but his work as an individual defender in the playoffs thus far makes him deserving of a mention. The Nets as a team can make things tough for the Bucks’ best player with low-post digs and by “building a wall” when the 26-year-old streaks down the court in transition.
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