The Milwaukee Bucks won the offseason when they acquired Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers and paired him alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo to form one of the best duos in the league. However, despite sporting a 4-2 record, the Bucks are off to a rather underwhelming start to the 2023-24 NBA season.

They haven't particularly blown away teams or had signature wins. In addition, the two losses were downright terrible and are telling of the flaws this Bucks team currently has. Their most glaring flaw has been on the defensive side of the floor.

Bucks biggest disappointment this season: Defense

Everybody knew there would be a defense-to-offense trade-off the moment the Milwaukee Bucks traded Jrue Holiday for Damian Lillard. But we did not know the defense would be this horrendous. Here are some stats to prove it.

As it stands, the Bucks rank 24th in defensive rating this season. They were 4th in the league last season and finished in the top 10 in four of the last five years. They are also 24th in opposing field goal percentage, in the bottom 10 in opposing three-point percentage, and 25th in opponent points per game (119.7 points). Milwaukee is the third-worst team in securing defensive rebounds and is the worst team in the league in giving up fastbreak points.

New coach, new scheme

As convenient it is to put the blame on Dame, Milwaukee's defensive drop-off can't be solely on Lillard's shoulders. New head coach Adrian Griffin deserves some flak for that as well. Griffin has instilled a new defensive scheme for the Bucks in his first season as a head coach in the NBA.

He has instructed Brook Lopez to come up higher in defending pick-and-roll instead of going in drop coverage. Griffin likely thought this scheme was a way for the Bucks to compensate for their lack of a true point-of-attack defender. But it has actually allowed opposing teams to exploit them on that side of the floor. Moreover, putting Lopez away from the basket has only negated his strength of protecting the rim. This has essentially taken away Milwaukee's last line of defense.

In addition, getting him on the perimeter defensively exposes his slow feet. As such, opposing guards have been able to find ways to go around the big man. That became very evident following their eye-opening loss to the Raptors, where they gave up 66 points in the paint.

Griffin has since made the adjustment to play into Lopez's strength when they played the New York Knicks the next game thanks to some suggestions from some of his players.

“Sometimes as coaches we are too smart for our own selves,” Griffin admitted after their In-Season Tournament win over the Knicks last Friday. “A couple players came to me — I won't disclose — but they wanted Brook deeper in the drop and I was smart enough to listen to them. It paid off tonight.”

More to work on

Simply making that adjustment certainly won't make the Bucks a defensive gem once again overnight. There are a lot of things they need to work on, particularly with which defensive combinations work best.

Finding the right defensive scheme should take quite a while for Griffin to figure out since he is working with a rather limited defensive backcourt. It's tough going from having one of the best perimeter players in the league in Jrue Holiday to a minus-defender in the Damian Lillard. Moreover, they also let go of Grayson Allen, who isn't afraid to ruffle some feathers, and replaced him with Malik Beasley, who isn't particularly known for his defense as well.

It's only a small sample size, but the Lopez-Antetokounmpo-Lillard-Connaughton-Beasley five-man unit has been a net positive for them in their 12 minutes on the floor together this season. Perhaps Griffin could explore that combination more considering that's a pretty potent offensive unit as well.

Damian Lillard needs to be better on defense

Having said all that, Damian Lillard needs to be better defensively. The Bucks point guard is playing arguably the worst defense of his career and it's getting more magnified now that he is actually playing on a team with championship aspirations.

Sure, defense has never been the superstar guard's strong suit. Opposing teams are well aware of that too with how they are constantly hunting him. But regardless, he needs to show more resolve and effort on that end of the floor.

CBS Sports' Brad Botkin went off on Lillard's defensive efforts and detailed just how bad the seven-time All-Star has looked.

Nonetheless, Lillard did come through during their win over the Knicks. He made three key plays down the stretch that won them the game, including a stop on Jalen Brunson, who had 45 points that evening.

Lillard is still one of the leaders of this team, regardless of his defensive flaws. If he is able to lock in and just play with more effort and energy on that end of the floor, that should trickle down across the roster.