With Dwyane Wade suspended and Ray Allen freshly returning from injury, there were concerns about who would carry the offensive load for Miami against the Pistons. In fact, Miami scored quite easily, with an effective field goal percentage of 56.5% and an offensive efficiency of 112.5 points per 100 possessions. However, they were unable to contain Detroit’s offense. Led by Will Bynum’s 25 points, Detroit was able to shoot a 66.2% effective field goal percentage and take the game.
The offensive performance of the Bucks has been pathetic this year. They have the fourth worst offensive rating of any team in the league. They have been able to keep a winning record (15- 12) in spite of this due to their solid defensive performance. They are the fourth ranked team in both effective field goal percentage allowed (47.3%) and opponent turnover percentage (15.1%). Even going against an offensive juggernaut like the Heat, who have the second ranked offensive efficiency in the league at 111.7 points per 100 possessions, this Bucks defense could make life difficult.
While the Milwaukee backcourt does most of the scoring for this squad, their true strength is one of their bigs. In fact, with nERD ratings of -1.3 and -5.2, respectively, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis have both performed at a level below that of a league average player so far this season. The highest rated Bucks player by nERD is Larry Sanders with 5.3. Not only does Sanders have the highest effective field goal percentage of anyone who plays as many minutes on the bucks with 53.0%, but he is also extremely valuable defensively. A true stat sheet stuffer - he has the highest defensive rebounding percentage on the team with 28.1%, the most blocks on the team with 4.4 per 36 minutes and also chips in 1.6 steals per 36 minutes.
This impact shows up not just in his personal stat line, but also in the team’s defensive performance. In minutes where Sanders is on the bench, the Bucks have allowed scoring at a rate of 107.4 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would put them among the worst in the league. When Sanders plays, they allow scoring at 96.8 points per 100 possessions, which would be better than any other team in the league. Sanders will be the main player Miami has to gameplan for if they expect to to score as easily as they normally do.