The Milwaukee Bucks may currently hold the best record in the 2019-20 season, but most people believe that they still need to step up their game to be successful in the upcoming NBA Playoffs. In order to boost their chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Bucks could use the strategy that helped the Golden State Warriors make five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and win three championship titles.
According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Bucks already have their version of a “Death Lineup” featuring Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, and Wesley Matthews. The lineup has reportedly posted a net rating of plus-19.1 in the 408 minutes that they played together. However, Swartz believes that the Bucks could still improve their “Death Lineup.”
To emulate the Warriors, Swartz suggested that Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer could make Antetokounmpo his starting center, swap Matthews with Donte DiVincenzo, and give the role as starting power forward to Marvin Williams.
“As good as the five have been together, better combinations have emerged, albeit in fewer minutes. Swapping out the 33-year-old Matthews for 23-year-old Donte DiVincenzo has resulted in a net rating of plus-22.0 in 40 minutes. Now with a floor-stretching big in Marvin Williams, the Bucks can experiment with lineups using the 6’11” Antetokounmpo at center and shooters all around him. With not much else to play for in the eight remaining regular-season games, the Bucks should get creative.”
There may only be a few games left in the regular season for the Bucks to try that experiment, but it would definitely be worth giving it a try if they believe it could strengthen their chances of winning a championship title. Antetokounmpo and the Bucks may currently be the heavy favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference, but capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy would be a different question. In order to have a better matchup against Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bucks should find a way to improve their “Death Lineup.”
The improvements that the Bucks make in the remaining games before the Playoffs would not only affect the outcome of the current season, but it could also determine Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee. If the Bucks find success with their own version of the “Death Lineup,” it would give them a better chance of convincing Antetokounmpo to sign a massive contract extension in the offseason. If they once again underperform in the upcoming postseason, rumors surrounding Antetokounmpo are expected to heat up this fall.