The Milwaukee Bucks Need A Scoring Injection For Next Season
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The defending champions Milwaukee Bucks are out of the NBA Playoffs after the Boston Celtics took Game 7 on Sunday afternoon, meaning a new champion will be crowned in June.

Now the work begins for Milwaukee to solve one of their most glaring issues during these playoffs, which was a severe lack of point production with Khris Middleton out due to injury.

As phenomenal as Giannis Antetokounmpo was during the series, the Greek forward was forced to handle too big a chunk of the responsibility on both ends of the floor, receiving limited help from his teammates.

Locating reliable offense

While the Bucks as a team had no problems scoring during the regular season – ranking third in offensive efficiency – as well as in their first-round matchup against the Chicago Bulls, that picture quickly changed when they faced the Celtics. Some of that was Boston’s defense, which ranked second in the league during the regular season, but it wasn’t the whole story.

Grayson Allen hit 40.9% of his nightly 5.9 attempts from three-point range during the season, but shot just 5-for-24 on the series, most of which came with modest to little defensive attention. It even reached a point where Boston was trying to force the ball into Allen’s hands, and allowing him just enough space to get motivated enough to fire away.

With Allen out of commission, and Middleton sidelined, it was up to Antetokounmpo to handle most of their possessions, looking to both attract defensive attention, and also having the burden to set up teammates. Outside of Jrue Holiday, who was 56-for-154 shooting in the series, no one else could create their own offense.

As such, that now becomes a priority. While Middleton will be back next year, hopefully putting the Bucks in a situation where they won’t have to rely on the depth of their roster, it’s painfully obvious that team could use more shot-creation off the bench.

Given the financial limitations the Bucks are working under, they need to target players who could either be keen on being part of a potential championship team, or guys who simply gets priced out by the lack of available money on the market this summer.

Or maybe both, which could be the case with veteran scoring guard Dennis Schröder.

The 28-year-old turned $84 million in 2021 from the Lakers, and quickly realized the error of his ways, as he had to settle for the Tax MLE of $5.9 million from Boston. After not fitting in with the Celtics, Schröder was moved to Houston, and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, looking to create himself a market.

However, he might find that not working out in Boston, and playing in basketball purgatory for the second half of the season, has done little to help him recoup his losses. Maybe now is the perfect time for him to embrace a lesser, but tailored, role with an organization where his talents will be on big display.

Schröder, a nine-year veteran, has averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists for his career, and he’s even appeared in 52 playoff games, which is a helpful argument to a team looking to make a deep run next season.

Schröder is a speed demon, and would create a whole new look when subbing in for Holiday, who is more of a half-court player. Having a guy who can put a defense on its heels is crucial, as that should remove some unnecessary burden to Antetokounmpo. It would also allow the former MVP to play off of that speed and fill the lane in transition. As currently constructed, the Bucks aren’t overly athletic, and there isn’t a player quick enough to match Antetokounmpo in transition. Schröder can.

Need-to-have vs nice-to-have

Some might argue Schröder is a luxury. That the return of Middleton is more than enough for a Finals run. While overall a reasonable take, fact is the Bucks aren’t immune to injuries, as was evident this year. They simply can’t afford to get stuck in the mud again like they did against Boston. If that means more security off the bench, so be it.

One could make the argument that having Schröder, but not needing him, would be a great situation for the Bucks, so overall, what would the harm be in having him around? In that event, he’d be a great player to put into games during blowouts to maintain leads.

Realistically, however, Schröder is useful and will likely become an outright necessity in the playoffs where rotations tighten and you need production. With Allen entirely unreliable, and George Hill not much better, the Bucks are in no position to label anything a luxury, especially when factoring in the extent of how much they needed to use Antetokounmpo. The superstar was huffing and puffing by halftime in every single game of the Celtics series, which likely had the entirety of the Milwaukee medical staff holding their collective breath.

With the Celtics moving on to the next round, and armed with multiple players who can produce offensively, Boston is favored to represent the East in the Finals, adding more fuel to the fire for Milwaukee to get back there next season, and using some of Boston’s blueprint to do so.

The coming offseason will be nothing short of huge for the Bucks.

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