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Bucks PG Eric Bledsoe calls team’s offense as its ‘best defense’

Eric Bledsoe

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe is fond of the Milwaukee Bucks’ increasing their emphasis on the long-ball.

According to Bledsoe, “sometimes our offense is our best defense. When you make threes like that it’s draining…last season when we played teams that shot the three ball well it drained us all game.”

Bledsoe’s point holds plenty of weight.

The strains of trying not to fall behind high-octane teams who can light it up from the arc can often cause teams to play faster, taking ill-advised shots in a game of catch-up that ultimately make it harder to keep up with the opposition. The mental and physical fatigue are almost surefire side effects.

Look no further than the Golden State Warriors for evidence of how excellent outside shooting can make the thought of defeating a team an exercise in itself.

Under the direction of head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks offense looks completely different.

Per NBA Advanced Stats, with Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty at the helm, the Bucks took 24.7 three-point attempts per game last season (ranked 25th in the NBA) and made 35.5 percent of their attempts (ranked 22nd in the NBA).

This preseason, the Bucks took 40.3 three-point attempts per game (ranked fourth in the NBA), converting 40.1 percent of those attempts (ranked fourth in the NBA). The only major addition for the Bucks this season has been Donte DiVincenzo, the 17th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft but with the loss of Jabari Parker, DiVincenzo’s affinity for three-point shots is less of a difference-maker.

However, Giannis Antekounmpo took 3.7 three-point attempts per game in the preseason, nearly twice as many as he averaged last season (1.9). Though not an elite three-point threat himself, with a career three-point shooting percentage of 33.7, Eric Bledsoe has been a major reason for the Bucks three-point turnaround as well.

He made 54.5 percent of his three-point attempts and though he won’t be that efficient over the course of an 82-game season, he looks like he’ll be a bigger three-point threat than in years past, at the least.

With their offense aiding their defense, they could be one of the better defensive teams in the NBA next year. They have a myriad of above-average individual defenders and after posting a defensive rating of 98.6 in the preseason (10th in the NBA), they’re already showing improvement from last season (defensive rating of 110.1).