Paul Pierce slams Bucks’ identity crisis ahead of NBA playoffs

Paul Pierce doesn’t believe in the Bucks.

Paul Pierce, Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doc Rivers, Celtics

The Milwaukee Bucks are currently in a state of mini-crisis as the NBA playoffs approach, having just lost superstar power forward and league MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo for the duration of the regular season due to a calf strain sustained in a recent impressive home win vs the league-best Boston Celtics. The Bucks currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture but have several teams, most notably the upstart New York Knicks, on their tail, and the health and availability of Antetokounmpo come postseason time is one of the biggest storylines in the entire NBA landscape at the current juncture.

One person who is very worried about the Bucks is none other than former NBA champion Paul Pierce, who recently took to the KG Certified podcast with his former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett to relay his concerns about Milwaukee.

“I’m more confident in the Knicks than them. They play with a grit, they got an identity. Miami, they got an identity. These are teams that are lower seeds than y’all, how are we talking about a number two team and we don’t know what their identity is,” said Pierce, via ALL THE SMOKE on YouTube.

Pierce went on to level a bit of criticism in the direction of his former head coach Doc Rivers, whom he won a championship with in 2008 with the Celtics and who is now the head coach of the Bucks.

“They’re barely .500 since Doc Rivers,” noted Pierce.

A strange season in Milwaukee

To Pierce’s point, the Bucks have indeed lacked a clear identity so far this season, as the team’s usually strong defense has all but evaporated following the trade of former ace on that end of the floor Jrue Holiday in exchange for former Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Of course, the flip side to that coin was supposed to be the clutch late-game shot making ability that Lillard brings to the table, which has manifested itself on more than one occasion, most notably in a home win vs the Sacramento Kings in which Lillard nailed a game-winner from over 30 feet away from the basket.

Still, the lack of perimeter defensive talent in the Bucks’ locker room, combined with an overall statistical regression from Lillard in terms of both volume and efficiency, has made this one a relatively disappointing and undeniably bizarre season for the Bucks, one that saw the team fire their newly minted head coach Adrian Griffin just a few months into the season despite being around 20 games over the .500 mark at that point.

The Bucks, as previously mentioned, currently occupy number two in the East, but there is some speculation that they might be trying to drop to the three seed in order to avoid a first round matchup with either the Miami Heat or the Philadelphia 76ers, who are likely to play for the seventh seed in next week’s Play-In tournament.

In any case, none of this will matter if Antetokounmpo is not healthy come postseason time.

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