With a solid finish to the week with back-to-back wins, the Bucks are back to .500 at 8-8 on the year.
Although it’s early, if the team can keep the record around .500, they will certainly be in competition for a playoff spot this season. And if I’m one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, I would not like to see any of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round.
I’m not saying that the Bucks could make a huge upset in the playoffs, but this team makes each opponent work very hard to get a win, and that is a testament to many different aspects of the squad.
As for the overall team performance, the Bucks are coming off their best performance of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They had the upper hand for much of that game and when going up against one of the top-tier teams in the league, that is impressive.
Michael Beasley and Greg Monroe are anchoring what is turning out to be a pretty solid bench unit that can not only put points up in a hurry, but play some good defense on the other side of the floor.
Starting .500 through the first 16 games of the year is quite respectable for the Bucks and with the team starting to click, that record could see an increase in the coming weeks, even with a tough stretch of games approaching.
Biggest Riser: Greg Monroe ↑ 7
Fastest Faller: Tony Snell/John Henson/Jason Terry ↓ 2
Last week: 3 GP: 8.0 mins/1.7 pts/1.0 rebs/0.7 asts Last rank: 10
Despite playing in all three games this week, Plumlee has definitely fallen into the role of the #3 center on the roster. In eight minutes per game, it is hard for anyone to truly make a big impact on the game, but Plumlee is making about as little as possible. The talent he showcased at the end of last season is still there, but both Henson and Monroe are just too many steps ahead of him right now.
On the bright side, he isn’t exactly showcasing a tremendously high usage rate. In 24 total minutes, he attempted just three shots (while connecting on two) for what was a fairly efficient week. But even with this, he will continue to find himself buried at the end of the bench if he doesn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Last week: 2 GP: 14.0 mins/6.0 pts/1.5 rebs/0.5 asts Last rank: 9
After a rough start to the season for Telly, he rounded out the week by receiving a DNP-CD in a 17-point win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Teletovic was brought into Milwaukee to be a knockdown shooter and that is what he is doing. Telly only attempted three-point shots this week, of which he was 4/9, but his skills were on showcase to the best of their abilities when the Bucks went small ball.
With these small ball lineups, Coach Kidd is able to run Point Center Giannis and leave Teletovic with a rim protector in the Greek Freak behind him. This not only makes up for his poor defense, but it also allows for the Bucks to spread the floor tremendously well with penetrators and shooters.
Last week: 3 GP: 20.0 min/1.0 pts/1.3 rebs/1.7 asts Last rank: 7
Jason Terry brings a lot of energy and a veteran presence to the Bucks, but statistically he barely brings anything. It is impressive that a player who plays around 20 minutes per game cannot average over two points, rebounds, or assists per game during that stretch.
To me, the best thing that he did this week was distract J.R. Smith. I mean, c’mon, most mainstream media are making a bigger deal out of that singular play than they are about the Bucks defeating the defending NBA Champions anyway. As for his play on the court, it is far from perfect. He does not take many shots, and with his FG% , that is a good thing for the team right now. Terry has always been known as a shooter, so it should just be a matter of time before he starts to turn that part of his game around.
Last week: 2 GP: 24.5 mins/13.5 pts/8.0 rebs/1.5 asts Last rank: 6
On the whole, J-Hook was pretty good in this week. He started all three of the Bucks’ contests and had his breakout game against the Magic. He was clearly outstanding in that match-up (20 points and seven rebounds), but his overall play for the week was solid as well. He played just over a complete game (49 total minutes) and was able to swat five shots in that period.
And, I might add, he was the only Bucks’ starter to NOT commit a turnover during those three games. In fact, Mirza Teletovic and Henson were the only two Bucks to play more than three minutes over the course of the week without turning it over once.
Last week: 3 GP: 20.7 mins/10.0 pts/1.3 rebs/2.0 asts Last rank: 8
Brogdon has had better all-around weeks throughout the year, but this was one of his best from a scoring point of view. He averaged one point for every two minutes he was on the floor and was quite efficient in doing so. Several people, myself included (although I’ve always been high on Malcolm), were skeptical of his ability to shoot the NBA three coming out of college, but he started to the find the stroke this week.
The Commander-in-Chief was a SCORCHING 6/7 from behind the arc and if he starts to become dead-eye shooter on top of his overall solid play on both sides of the ball, it’s danger time for the rest of the NBA. Putting Giannis and Brogdon on the floor together has already proven to be a solid duo, so just imagine when Brogdon starts hitting all of his open threes.
Last week: 3 GP: 31.0 mins/10.3 pts/4.7 rebs/0.3 asts Last rank: 4
In opposite fashion of Brogdon, Snell continues to struggle from three for the Bucks. He has clearly shown lots of confidence in his own shot, as he attempted 20 threes this week, but he was only able to connect on five. What is interesting about Snell’s week from a statistical standpoint, however, is that despite his misses from deep, he was 7/7 from inside the arc.
Combining this reasonable scoring output with his defense and solid rebounding for the shooting guard position, Snell had a pretty good week. Not great, but he was pretty good.
Last week: 3 GP: 28.7 pts/7.3 pts/2.3 rebs/7.7 asts Last rank: 5
Highly touted as a shooter both out of Saint Mary’s and then out of Cleveland, Outback Jesus continues to show that his passing has gone tremendously underrated in his first few years in the league. For yet another week he dished out more assists than he scored points, and that is okay. He is called upon to do much of the point guard duties on the team and has shown great vision when surveying the court.
He was also able to limit his turnovers this week to just five, settling down what had been a struggling number for him. And although fans are still wondering where Delly’s shot has gone, he did stroke the three at a 38.5% rate this week, which is just about what the team expected entering the year.
Last week: 3 GP: 20.3 mins/11.0 pts/7.7 rebs/2.0 asts Last rank: 11
Greg Monroe is certainly a different player this season than he was last year. He has shown outstanding defensive improvement and dedication, and that is helping the team become more cohesive and gives Monroe a more consistent role. He is still great in his low-post offense and averaged a double-double in his per-36 minute numbers for this week.
As always, these small sample sizes are nothing to draw definitive conclusions from, but Monroe and Beasley are making the Bucks bench not only deep, but formidable.
Last week: 3 GP: 31.0 mins/13.7 pts/5.0 rebs/1.7 asts Last rank: 2
Despite being the clear #2 option for the Bucks, Jabari struggled during a week when the team went 2-1. He was not great from the field and continues to show that he has plenty of learning to do on defense. A lot of his points came in transition and on open-court dunks this week, which is not a good sign for the Bucks’ second leading scorer. Still, one week is just one week. There is no reason to panic and that is why he finds himself sticking in the top-3 for this week.
The scoring will come. Major Cat is born to get buckets, and that average will shoot back up to where it belongs soon. As for his ball security, it is slightly concerning that he turned the ball over four times this week while only handing out five assists. Yes, he plays the forward position, but he needs to take better care of the ball than that.
Last week: 3 GP: 19.3 mins/10.7 pts/5.3 rebs/1.7 asts Last rank: 3
Yet again, I say it: One does not simply stop Michael Beasley from scoring. It’s just that simple. Beasley is having an outstanding season for the Bucks and is showing the entire NBA that Milwaukee was the clear winner of the Beas/Ennis trade in the preseason. B-Easy was third on the team in points this week and did so on a very efficient 53.8%.
He also tallied more total rebounds than Jabari Parker this week, despite playing 35 (!!!) less minutes. It might not seem like a good sign that a bench player is at #2 in this week’s Player Rankings, but Beasley definitely has earned it. In fact, he has even looked pretty solid on the defensive end of the floor, making several nice plays against LeBron James.
Last week: 3 GP: 33.3 mins/27.0 pts/9.0 rebs/6.7 asts Last rank: 1
Giannis is an All-Star. This should no longer be a question. He shows up to play every single night, even if his shot is not falling. For somebody to be putting up the type of numbers he is without a competent three-point shot is outstanding and the league is starting take notice of his greatness. Yet, he continues to turn the ball over at a pretty alarming rate. The Greek Freak is called upon to do so much for Milwaukee’s offense, but 16 turnovers over three games is way too many.
He’ll figure it out though. The kid just always seems to get better. Other than finishing second behind Delly in assists, Giannis once again led the team in every single other statistical category. The team runs through Giannis, and he is ready to lead the team forward.
Check back next week for another edition of the Bucks’ Player Power Rankings!