Giannis Antetokounmpo says it’s not time to panic.
But it is time to take stock of where the Bucks stand.
And where they stand is definitively behind a handful of other legitimate NBA title contenders.
While their currently 4-game skid is nothing to blow up the team over, there are signs for concern. Some internal, some external.
The internal concerns are tied together: Jrue Holiday’s health and defense. Holiday has now missed 5 straight games while abiding by the league’s health and safety protocols. He’s one of the best on-ball defenders in the league. You can expect the defense to improve upon his return.
But as a team, the Bucks are giving up 113 points per game, good enough for 21st in the league.
On most nights, Giannis and company can hang because of their prolific, 2nd ranked offense.
The problem is that the goal isn’t to reach the conference finals again.
The goal is to win a championship.
And the teams standing in the way are spectacular on offense, too.
Brooklyn boasts the only scoring output higher than Milwaukee’s. The Nets put up 128 points last night without Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. They are officially a threat.
But even if the Bucks get through Brooklyn, Utah’s 4th ranked O and 2nd ranked D will likely be waiting in The Finals.
The Jazz completely outclassed the Bucks just last week.
We haven’t even mentioned East-leading Philly, scrappy Boston, improving and explosive Golden State, or The King.
This 4-game losing streak is not the end of the world. There’s plenty of basketball to be played.
But there are a lot of great teams this year. More than normal.
And right now, the Bucks aren’t one of them.