Orlando Magic Playoff Preview: Meet the Milwaukee Bucks with Behind the Buck Pass

All eyes are on Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks. It can be easy to forget Khris Middleton. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
All eyes are on Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks. It can be easy to forget Khris Middleton. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee bucks, Gary Clark, Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic slowed down Giannis Antetokounmpo, but could not slow down the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic have a tall order ahead of them in facing the Milwaukee Bucks. The challenge is a great one so we asked the experts about them.

There is one name the Orlando Magic and everyone needs to know when it comes to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The league’s 2019 MVP and presumptive 2020 MVP has become a tour de force around the league. It goes without saying that everything revolving around the Bucks — and everything defending the Bucks — starts and stops with Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo is likely to win the MVP award and finished the season averaging 29.5 points per game, 13.6 rebounds per game and 5.6 assists per game with an astounding 58.9-percent effective field goal percentage.

Sure, the Bucks struggled since the season resumed, going 3-5 just like the Magic. But the comparison likely ends there. Milwaukee probably let its focus wonder as it had already wrapped up the top seed.

Still, Antetokounmpo was good enough to make the All-Seeding Round Second Team, averaging 27.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. The only thing that could slow him down was his coach choosing to rest him and the head butt that suspended him for a game.

The Bucks are a lot more than Antetokounmpo. As terrifying as Antetokounmpo might be on offense, it is their defense that really charges him and their entire system.

Milwaukee uses an aggressive drop coverage to try to protect the paint. The Bucks led the league giving up the fewest points in the paint per game this season at 38.7 per game. That is nearly three points per game better than the next best team.

It is hard to break into the interior of this defense. And that is obviously where a lot of teams get their easiest shots and set up their 3-pointers.

The Bucks do a good job forcing difficult shots and turning turnovers into fast-break points.

It is not just Antetokounmpo either.

Khris Middleton is one of the best shooters in the entire league. He averaged 20.9 points per game and nearly completed a 50/40/90 season. He shot 49.7-percent from the floor overall. But he can hit from everywhere.

Eric Bledsoe is one of the strongest and toughest defensive point guards in the league. And he can score and force his way to the basket. He averaged 14.9 points per game and 5.4 assists per game.

They can boast solid role players who play hard and precise. Brook Lopez has transformed himself into both a strong shooter and a strong defender. And guys like Ersan Ilyasova, Donte DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton and Wesley Matthews all play their roles perfectly, providing a strong sense of shooting and defense.

Nobody seems to play outside their role.

But, again, it all starts with Antetokounmpo and the stress he puts on the defense.

To say the least, this is going to be a difficult matchup for the Magic. They are going to have to be nearly perfect to find holes in this defense and they have to make shots against one of the best defenses in the league.

Orlando has its work cut out for it. But everyone starts at 0-0 and you still have to play the games. The Magic certainly feel capable of competing in this series.

They will have to let things play out.

To get an inside look at the Bucks and where they stand as this series begins, we chatted with Adam McGee and Jordan Treske of Behind the Buck Pass. You can see our answers about the Magic with them too.