The Milwaukee Bucks Gaming team continued to struggle, as they were comfortably beaten by Grizz Gaming on Friday night.
Bucks Gaming dropped to 3-6 on the regular season, having been beaten start to finish by Grizz Gaming on Friday night. Memphis jumped out to an early lead, 20-13 at the quarter, and stretched it to 42-22 at the half. It was never really contested from there, with the lead ballooning to over 25 at one point.
This one had much of the same story as Bucks Gaming’s loss to Pacers Gaming last week — too many turnovers at key moments, not much creation offensively, and little contribution from the shooting guard spot.
Big Meek was moved to SG for some reason, and his production dropped dramatically: five points, one assist, no boards, no steals, no blocks, on 2-of-5 shooting. Procision returned to the starting lineup and had a respectable seven points and five boards at the four spot in his place, but it still wasn’t close to an improvement from Meek’s recent production at that spot. oLarry played his matchup about evenly, posting 15 points and five rebounds to DDouble2k’s 14 points and nine rebounds, which is all you can ask from the bigs at this point in the 2K League’s development.
Moreover, whatever strong defense the Bucks were playing early in the season appears to have vanished. Grizz Gaming average around 60 points per game, but had 42 in the first half. A consistent refrain with the announcers during Bucks games in the latter stage of the season has been: “Wow, [opposing team] sure is over-performing offensively!” Variations of this can only be said so many times before we wonder if these unending series of outliers can be consolidated into a meaningful trend.
The real problem for the Bucks continues to be at the point guard position. Drake put up 19 points and seven assists, which is fine in a vacuum, but going 6-of-14 from the floor and 5-of-12 from three isn’t really going to cut it. Drake’s shooting numbers have been inconsistent all year, which hurts the team when three other guys are all shooting over 50 percent.
It seems Drake hasn’t yet mastered the position: he passes when he’s all alone in the paint and his target is smothered, but shoots or dribbles in traffic. It can be perplexing to watch, particularly considering the quality of some of his play at the shooting guard position.
After 12 games (counting mid-season tournaments and such), it’s a good time to take a look at some statistical trends. For example, Drake’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.32, which doesn’t compare very favorably to the lead guards on some of the league’s best teams with winning records.
Sixers guard, Radiant: 7.4
Celtics guard, oFab: 4.5
Mavs guard, Dimez: 3.7
Blazers guard, Mama Im Dat Man: 3.4
Jazz guard, Yeah I Compete: 3.4
Radiant is the clear standout there (and that’s no fluke — he’s played in 17 games, every minute of them), but the best point guards on the best teams all have ratios well over 3:1. That’s no accident. The Cavs and Wizards are basically the only good teams without a guard of comparable ratio, and they each have 25 points per game scorers, which the Bucks don’t.
There’s a lot of talent on the Bucks roster, don’t get me wrong — we’ve seen flashes of dominance from everyone, and Big Meek has been consistently really good outside of Friday’s performance — but they need someone to lead and tie it all together, and outside of finally cracking a winning formula in terms of positions, it’s starting to look like next year’s draft might be the only place to find that.
That’s by no means a knock on Drake’s ability, but it’s become clear that shooting guard was his best position, and the Bucks should not continue to force him to run point. His skills are arguably better suited to him being an off-ball scorer than the dominant play-making force who needs to drive the team forward.
Whether the Bucks further examine his positional fit, or make any other changes to their lineup remains to be seen. Up next is the second Midseason Tournament of the season, where the Bucks will be one of the lowest seeds when the competition gets underway next weekend.