It’s been Opening Night since we saw Brook Lopez on the ballpark. But according to the latest news, the senior Bucks headquarters can be found as soon as he prepares to return to mass training. And that’s not good news for the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Brook Lopez isn’t Milwaukee’s Joel Embiid, they don’t call it that. But we know the importance of the man in Mike Budenholzer’s system, both in terms of his offensive prolongation and especially his defensive effect. Brook, who had back surgery in early December, misses the most this season in the Bucks’ own half. Because if the defending champions remain a formidable offensive machine with third NBA attack in points (113.8, tied with Memphis and Phoenix) and sixth in efficiency (113 points per 100 positions), At the same time, they had their worst defensive season under Budenholzer. Coincidence? probably not. The Bucks placed first in this category in 2019 and 2020, while currently 12th in defensive efficiency. Last year Milwaukee had definitely dropped to ninth, but that was largely explained by changes made by Bud (especially many more changes) to better prepare for the Playoffs. It’s worked out better since Milwaukee went all the way. Other than looking back, Lopez’s presence will be crucial, even if Serge Ibaka makes it to trade deadline. In essence, the latter has similar qualities to the Brook in terms of clearance and rim protection, the only difference being that we are quite far from the best version of Serge today.
Hearing that Brook Lopez is returning to collective training is really good news for Bucks fans. According to this ESPNThe 33-year-old center – who has so far been limited to individual sessions – must “make five-to-five with contact” often representing the last big step in long-term rehabilitation. He could also take a detour through the G League to slowly regain his legs. Do we have a recovery date? Not yet, but the Bucks will be optimistic about a comeback before the regular season ends., this would clearly be an ideal scenario for the Playoffs. We love the energy and production that Bobby Portis brings, we know Giannis can play 5, but Lopez’s presence in internal rotation can support the Bucks in championship defence. Budenholzer’s men had two big wins against Eastern leaders Miami and the Bulls last night, putting them back on the conference podium with an overall record of 39-25. For Milwaukee today, the goal is pretty clear: Use the last twenty games to increase your power and thus reach the Playoffs with the best possible dynamics. The mission isn’t always clear when you know that the Bucks have on paper the toughest schedule in the NBA (combined with their next opponent’s 54.8% win) at the end of the season, but it’s a mission at the pinnacle of the franchise’s grand ambitions.
The Bucks and their fans will have to wait a little longer, but the news about Brook Lopez is pretty good. We still remember that at some point we may doubt the man’s return because back injuries are always annoying. Obviously, the center is on the right track and hopes he can improve at his top level when he gets back on the field.
Text source: ESPN