Michael Carter-Williams has been increasingly active in the post since joining the Bucks. What does this mean for the team's offense?
When the Bucks traded for Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline, many wondered how the Bucks offense would function without Brandon Knight, the team’s leading scorer. In 2015, the Bucks’ offense with Knight on the floor was producing at a level near the league’s top five offenses.
With Knight out of the picture, the Bucks would be forced to create offense without one of their best outside shooters and instead rely on the playmaking abilities of Carter-Williams. Some suggested that the Bucks should try to have Carter-Williams work in the post to help the Bucks score points.
This was something that the Bucks have used on and off since Carter-Williams’ arrival, but Wednesday night was an example of what the Bucks offense could look like with a heavy dose of Carter-Williams’ post-ups. Let’s take a closer look at some of these possessions.
The Back Down
The Bucks are not particularly creative in getting their perimeter players into post-up situations. Jason Kidd will normally signal for a post up from the bench and the perimeter player, whether that is Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kendall Marshall, or now Michael Carter-Williams, will simply begin to back their defender down starting at the three-point line on a cleared-out side of the floor.
There is nothing quick-hitting about this type of post up and that is by design. The players the Bucks tend to post up are perimeter players with above-average ball-handling skills who don’t need to score in a few dribbles for fear of a turnover. They are players that can be trusted with the ball for large portions of a possession.
The Back Side
Though it may seem like the only action on any of these possessions is on the side of the ball, the back side is actually very important to the play. For the Bucks, the back side of a perimeter post-up is extremely important because there are normally only two shooters on the floor.
With just two shooters on the floor (most times) with Carter-Williams, motion is a necessity. Without active players on the back side, defenders can more willingly help off their assignments to double Carter-Williams and make shots tougher.
The Next Level
Carter-Williams scoring from the post like he did Wednesday night is a very welcome sight for Bucks fans, but the team’s offense could really flourish when Carter-Williams facilitates offense out of the post. This is what you can see in the final two possessions of the video.
On each possession, Antetokounmpo is active on the backside and opens up Ersan Ilyasova with a cut into the middle of the floor. With his size, Carter-Williams is able to see over the defense and deliver a great pass to Ilyasova.
It’s not quite LeBron James finding Mike Miller in the corner, but it is a major step in the right direction and a great way for the Bucks to create good looks moving forward.
What to Read
Bucks unveil new color scheme, “M” logo – Orange was the word in Milwaukee…until it turned into an April Fool’s joke from the Bucks organization. After revealing the April Fool’s joke, the Bucks unveiled a new logo and color scheme in a video and Brew Hoop’s Eric Buenning has all the details.
Giannis Antetokounmpo makes convincing leap forward – Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talked with Antetokounmpo about the development he’s made in his second year in Milwaukee.
Giannis Antetokounmpo shows off his improving jumper in Atlanta – Brew Hoop’s Frank Madden used Antetokounmpo’s hot shooting night in Atlanta as an opportunity to discuss and analyze Antetokounmpo’s improved mid-range shooting this season. Video and shot chart included!
Clip of the Week
Last Thursday, Ersan Ilyasova scored a career-high 34 points on the same night the Wisconsin Badgers barely beat North Carolina in a Sweet Sixteen matchup. Most people missed it and I’m not sure I can live with that.
Week in Review
Saturday – The Bucks’ defense couldn’t hold the league’s best offense down as the Golden State Warriors beat the Bucks 108-95.
Monday – After taking a loss against the best in the West, the Bucks were forced to take on the Eastern Conference’s best team and fell 101-88 to the Atlanta Hawks. Five Bucks scored in double digits, but it just couldn’t match the offensive firepower of the Hawks.
Wednesday – The Bucks were able to get themselves out of a bit of a rut with a tough 95-91 victory over one of their potential playoff opponents, the Chicago Bulls. Michael Carter-Williams led the way with his first double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) as a Buck.
Next Week’s Preview
Friday – The Bucks will travel to Boston for a game that could have a significant impact on Eastern Conference playoff seeding. The Celtics are currently just outside of the playoffs at the ninth spot in the East.
Saturday – The second game of the Bucks’ weekend back-to-back will be in Milwaukee against the Orlando Magic. Two of the teams’ three meetings have gone in the Bucks favor this season with the Bucks most recently defeating the Magic 97-91 on March 11.
Wednesday – After a long rest, the Bucks will welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to Milwaukee in a possible playoff matchup if the Bucks were to fall to the East’s seventh spot.
Stats of the Week
13.5 – As a Buck, Michael Carter-Williams is getting to the free throw line on 13.5 percent of possessions as the ball handler in pick and rolls. This is the league’s 11th highest rate. (via NBA Stats)
42.7 – Khris Middleton is the league’s 21st best shooter from the three point line in catch-and-shoot situations at 42.7 percent. (via NBA Stats)
49.8 – 49.8 percent of John Henson’s rebounds have been contested this season. That is the ninth highest percentage in the NBA. Zaza Pachulia is 22nd on the list. (via NBA Stats)
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine‘s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can yell at Eric or calmly describe O.J. Mayo’s current hairstyle in five words or less on Twitter @eric_nehm.