The Bucks are aiming to do a better job closing out on shooters this season, particularly at the 3-point line, coach Mike Budenholzer said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
“I think it’s just, the league is certainly trending this way,” Budenholzer said of emphasizing limiting opponent’s threes, via Nehm. “It feels like some of the better teams are trending this way. Certainly, I think Boston, it was a big part of — I mean, you look at the box score, you look at the math, it was hard for us to win.
“So, I think, historically, we’ve been a very good defensive team and still allowed a lot of 3s, which isn’t something we liked, but you kind of lived with it. But we backslid to a very average defensive team and still giving up a lot of 3s, so we’d like to get back to an elite-level team and part of that hopefully is something where we’ll see how we can do it. But we’d like to try and be better everywhere defensively, including 3s.”
“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator … but I need him to be James Harden too,” Rivers said. “If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know … but that’s what I want him to be,” Rivers said on ESPN’s NBA Today, via Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report.
“I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”
- Rivers said he will use a combination of Montrezl Harrell, Paul Reed and even P.J. Tucker to back up Joel Embiid at center, via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Coach Dwane Casey said small forward Bojan Bogdanovic has been a “godsend” in terms of leadership, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Bogdanovic was acquired in a trade with the Jazz on Sept. 26.
- Casey said he intends to start different lineups throughout the preseason to gauge the best five on opening night, via Bontemps. The Pistons started Bogdanovic, Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart in their preseason opener.
- Casey added that the goal this year is simply to “take a step forward” from last season. but he politely declined to get into specifics, per Bontemps.