The Milwaukee Bucks are the last undefeated team in the NBA after they beat the Kawhi Leonard-less Toronto Raptors on Monday night in a game that Giannis Antetokounmpo also missed. At 7-0, the Bucks have exceeded even the loftiest expectations for the start of the season, and they’re doing so thanks to MVP-caliber play from Antetokounmpo (which was expected) and a complete buy-in to new coach Mike Budenholzer’s system.
Anyone who saw what Budenholzer did in Atlanta figured the Bucks would be improve on offense due to an emphasis on pace and space (one of Bud’s favorite phrases), but the Bucks have gone through a more dramatic change in play style than most could’ve reasonably expected this early on.
Like so many other teams in the league, Milwaukee has placed an emphasis on playing with more tempo. The Bucks are taking 8.6 more field goal attempts per game this season than last year, when they were 28th in the league in shot attempts per game (17th this year, illustrating the insane shooting output of teams early this season). More important than getting up more shots is that Milwaukee is getting up more good shots from the most valuable areas of the floor: three-pointers and shots at the rim.
On the season, they’ve attempted 282 three-pointers (just over 40 per game) and 229 shots in the restricted area, which makes up 79.8 percent of their shot attempts for the season. Last year, threes and restricted area shots accounted for 64.4 percent of their shot, and you can see the difference in shot selection on the shot charts between the two years.