What is Going Wrong for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks this Season?

Published 02/19/2021, 3:09 AM EST
Jan 4, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis (9) reacts with guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) after dunking against the Detroit Pistons at the Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Monroe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports


The Milwaukee Bucks have been struggling this season. After having two consecutive seasons where they had the best record in the NBA, the Bucks have started this season very poorly. They currently have a 16-13 record in the NBA and are the third in the Eastern Conference standings. So what is going wrong for Giannis Antetokounmpo and company?

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Why are Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks struggling?

The Milwaukee Bucks lost their 13th game of the season tonight against the Toronto Raptors. This is in stark contrast to their last season. Last year, the Bucks suffered their 13th loss only at the 67 game mark, in the Orlando bubble. Currently, they have lost five games straight for the first time since 2017. Many have wondered why the Bucks have struggled this season.

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The Bucks have 13 losses in 29 games this season.

They didn't record their 13th loss until game 67 last season, which occurred in the bubble. pic.twitter.com/Iig5uE6Ah3

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 19, 2021

The Bucks have lost 5 straight games for the first time under Mike Budenholzer.

It’s their longest losing streak since 2017. pic.twitter.com/JNgib6T06g

— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 19, 2021

In the off-season, the Bucks acquired Jrue Holiday in order to provide more options for Giannis. They were close to acquiring Bogdan Bogdanovic, but the deal fell through toward the end. This year, the Bucks are not looking as strong as several other teams in the NBA since many teams improved their roster during the off-season.

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The Eastern Conference has become a lot tougher this season compared to last year. The return of Kevin Durant and the acquisition of James Harden have made the Nets even stronger. Even the Philadelphia 76ers are looking like a fantastic team, with Doc Rivers having transformed the team into a title contender.

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From the rest of the NBA, teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Jazz are looking even stronger since they have been able to improve on their already excellent rosters. Currently, the Jazz have the best record in the NBA, with Donovan Mitchell playing some of the best basketball of his career.

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Feb 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dunks against Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) and center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For Giannis, the biggest problem has been his defense. While Antetokounmpo is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, many have complained that he doesn’t take the toughest defensive assignment during games. Even during the series against Miami last season, Giannis didn’t take on the assignment to guard Jimmy Butler during the series, as the Heat knocked off Milwaukee.

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Can Giannis help the Bucks bounce back this season? The two-time MVP has his work cut out for him, as the Bucks enter the second half of the season with a significant struggle. But Giannis has proven that he is talented enough to lead his team to the playoffs. It’s what he does during the playoffs that will be important for the Bucks.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1044 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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