The Miami Heat are moving on to the second round, which will most likely be against the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee has struggled with Miami all season, for a multitude of reasons. But who will need to step up to beat this Bucks team 4 out of 7 times?
Many think the reason Milwaukee struggles with Miami is that the Heat have so many bodies to throw at Giannis, which consequently led to some of Giannis’ worst games of the season. Jae Crowder will most likely get the first shot at Giannis early on the defensive side. Although Bam Adebayo has proved to be Giannis’ kryptonite, there is no need to risk getting Bam in foul trouble early, which has been a problem during some games in the bubble.
This means that Bam will most likely guard Giannis in the fourth quarters throughout the series. And Miami still has guys like Andre Iguodala and Derrick Jones Jr to try and stop Giannis. But is Derrick Jones Jr’s offensive package good enough to play extended minutes against the Bucks?
Since Milwaukee’s defense revolves around a drop scheme which allows a bunch of threes, it favors Miami. But with DJJ’s inability to stretch the floor, this may mean that Kendrick Nunn replaces him in the 9 man rotation in this series. Kendrick Nunn clearly isn’t the most efficient three point shooter, but he definitely is a threat.
This leads right into Miami’s true key pieces for the series. Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Kelly Olynyk can all play major roles in this series with their ability to stretch the floor, but the true X-factor is Miami’s second year man Duncan Robinson.
A hand in his face can’t even slow him down at times, which is why teams have continued to try and blanket Duncan and let other players on this Heat team beat them. This is something the Bucks won’t do. They will continue to use their defensive sets, which will mean even more Duncan and Bam dribble hand offs. Duncan went 11-21 from beyond the arc in their three regular season games this year against Milwaukee. And since they pack the paint, it will limit Bam’s offensive numbers some. But since he does so many other things well, this won’t hurt their offense one bit.
Although it’s evident that Duncan is pretty much the x-factor in every game they play, since their offense basically revolves around him, it’s even more true in this series. If the Bucks continue to allow this to happen in this series, Miami will make them pay, which makes this series so interesting.