4. Become a Top-10 Defense
The Bucks ranked 17th this season in defensive rating, but, with their combination of length and athleticism, there is no reason that they can’t rank at least 10th in the league. Giannis, Khris Middleton and the aforementioned Maker are a trio with size and switchability that make for a great defensive core. However, Middleton has never been strong on the defensive end, but Budenholzer’s system could change that.
Under Budenholzer, the Atlanta Hawks ranked seventh, second and fourth in defense between 2014 through 2016 seasons. Budenholzer comes from the Greg Popovich coaching tree where defense is a priority over the offense. The San Antonio Spurs last ranked outside the top five in 2011.
Under Budenholzer, it may take a season or so for the team to completely gel in his complex defensive system, but it would lead to immediate improvements. Giannis will be tasked with guarding the team’s best wing player, with Maker tasked with protecting the rim and Eric Bledsoe checking the opposing team’s ball-handler. Those three makeup three of the top five on the team in DBPM per Basketball-Reference and would lead the charge up the rankings.