By Sam Sheehan
By now everyone is familiar with the mythos of the Milwaukee Bucks and their player personnel. You could almost hear the hushed tones as NBA fans far and wide discussed Jason Kidd’s famous hyper-aggressive, trapping schemes. These were designed to create turnovers and unleash their multi-armed fast break Kraken headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Normally, playing this aggressively will be beaten by ball rotation, but the Bucks bet big on their long players protecting the weak side by creating an appendage bramble patch that wouldn’t allow the ball to get there quickly. It would be too dangerous to fire a release pass through the middle of the floor with the big Bucks wings ready to snare it, so teams would have to sky these cross-court passes high above their grasp. This not only affects accuracy, possibly sailing the ball out of bounds, but gives the helpers time to return to their shooters.
However, it hasn’t worked out that way this year.
In the clip above you can see the Bucks show a lot of help on Jaylen Brown, prepared to trap and seal on the baseline for a charge. The Bucks can send three men at Jaylen, and (due to Antetokounmpo’s outrageous length) there is minimal threat of Brown getting the ball to a popping Horford, and if he tried, Antetokounmpo would come away with the steal. The safest thing would be to get the ball back to Kyrie Irving up top to reset the offense, but Eric Bledsoe is shaded that way and might be able to jump a lob pass for a steal....