Despite winning only 35 games this year the Milwaukee Bucks were a tremendous defensive team. In fact they were well above average at 3 of the critical “Four Factors”.
- Andrew Bogut’s NBA leading 2.6 BPG helped hold opponents to an Effective Field Goal Pct of .48 compared to a league average of .50.
- Thanks to all those missed shots the Bucks had 9 more defensive rebound opportunities/game than expected. They capitalized by receiving efficient rebounding from all five positions and ranking 8th in team Defensive Rebound Pct.
- In addition to quality boarding Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino specialized in harassing opposing ball-handlers. Only three teams forced turnovers at a higher rate than the green team from Wisconsin.
In the last decade only one other “D” has been so ferocious without producing even 40 wins*. Can you guess who coached this team??? Who get’s the blame for the slow-down pace of the late ’90s??? Hint: He coached the greatest fast-break offense of all-time. Surely the name Pat Riley crossed your mind. Riles’ 2002 Heat missed the playoffs for the first time since the Kevin Loughery era. This was quite frustrating for the seven Heat fans in existence at the time. See Miami was on par defensively with the Nets and Spurs who each lost to the champion Lakers in the playoffs.
Like the Bucks, Riley had an absolute dominant presence in the center, Alonzo Mourning (’99 & ’00 DPOY), and a lock-down guard in Eddie Jones (3 time All-Defense). Their scoring wouldn’t prove adequate until they drafted that kid from Marqutte. Wait a minute, in what city is Marqutte?
*Honorable mention to the 2003 Denver Nuggets who were tied for the worst record in the league (17-65) yet finished 6th in “D”. Nene was already holding his own at age 20 leading the team in steals (127) and blocks (65).