Between the “Very Tall Ball” of the Cavs, the presence of Joel Embiid at the Sixers, that of Andre Drummond at the Nets or even Robert Williams III at the Celtics, without forgetting Bam Adebayo at the Heat, the battle should be lively at post 5 during of the next playoffs, especially since Brook Lopez is still on the sidelines in Wisconsin.
Defending champions, the Bucks therefore wanted to secure their backs and strengthen their racket by getting their hands on veteran Serge Ibaka, as explained by Jon Horst.
“If you look at the game-ups and the way some teams have built around us for the playoffs, I think there are great teams in the Eastern Conference. In particular, with Cleveland, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia… great teams that also have size. Some also excel in other areas, but always with this ability to play big,” he explainedrecalling that Milwaukee has often bet on its interior sector with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Portis-Lopez pair. “I don’t know if it’s directly in response to the way we’ve played in recent years. We’ve always been a pretty big team, even though we only had maybe three interiors. We also have size in the rear positions, on the wing, in the important positions. So I think it’s going to give us a chance to compete against those teams.”
The same effect as the arrival of PJ Tucker last year?
With PJ Tucker and Bobby Portis (without forgetting Brook Lopez), Milwaukee had bet on interiors capable of stretching the game. With Serge Ibaka, Mike Budenholzer will have a different profile, also capable of shooting from afar but whose is not the primary force, and which mainly brings intimidation in defense.
“Last year we did it with PJ Tucker and this year with Serge Ibaka. I consider it to be a similar move to PJ’s, and has a chance of having a similar impact. I don’t know if Serge will defend from the back the same way as PJ Tucker, but I also think that Serge can defend inside in a different way than PJ Tucker.added Jon Horst. “So it’s just versatility. We want to find the top seven, eight, nine guys who can play big playoff minutes. With the versatility of our roster, we can do this in different ways.”
The adjustment may not be trivial as the battle in the playoffs in the East promises to be epic. Better to put all the chances on his side while there was still time.
“It’s so tight, the top five or six in our conference. I think it will all come down to talent, health, that bit of luck, and playing well at the right time. So we are doing everything we can to be ready, but I think the conference was already hot before the trade deadline and it is just as hot now. Some faces and names have changed on several teams, but the overall talent is really good in our conference. We are one of those teams that will have a chance. “
As a reminder, the playoffs will begin in two months, from April 16.