Through the first seven games, the Milwaukee Bucks have seen some outstanding performances as well as some lackluster ones. In my first installment of the Bucks’ Player Power Rankings, let’s see where each player ranks on the roster.
Nov 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts after a basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the fourth quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Bucks defeated the Pelicans 117-113. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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The Milwaukee Bucks are 4-3 and, not surprisingly, there has been a lot of shifting in terms of rotations by head coach Jason Kidd.
With this constant changing, it is sometimes hard for players to feel comfortable in their roles. Still, the team is seven games into the season and things look to be coming together as a team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is clearly the focal point of the team, both offensively and defensively, but he has plenty of help behind him.
Jabari Parker has been solid as a scorer and the new additions are all off to solid starts. Matthew Dellavedova and Tony Snell have fit seamlessly into the starting lineup and both rookies have proven themselves to either be quality role players or incredible projects for the future.
With this being said, however, some players have definitely performed better than others.
Let’s take a closer look at the roster and how things have shaken out to this point.
Feb 25, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives to the hoop against Milwaukee Bucks forward Steve Novak (6) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 1 GP: 4.0 min/0.0 pts/0.0 rebs/0.0 asts Last rank: NR
Novak hasn’t done much to this point on the team. He ranks last on the team in total minutes and is yet to produce any stats to this point in the season. His lone attempted shot was a three-pointer, but it missed. As long as Novak stays glued to the bench, the more likely the Bucks are competing night in and night out. This crowd favorite is a solid veteran presence to keep the bench energized, but he hasn’t done any more than that to this point.
Nov 3, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis (11) grabs a loose ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry (3) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3 GP: 20.0 min/4.0 pts/1.7 rebs/1.3 asts Last rank: NR
Although Terry missed four games due to personal reasons, he has not been impressive in his minutes. The Jet, although well past his prime, was still supposed to add some shooting to the Bucks’ roster. However, he is just 1-for-6 to start the season from deep. His lack of defensive quickness and prowess also hurts the team during his time. Terry is definitely a nice guy to have on the team, but he seems to just be swallowing up minutes during the first couple weeks of the year.
While touting a horrendous Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 3.7, it would be no surprise to see his numbers start to diminish in the near future, especially with Rashad Vaughn and Malcolm Brogdon playing well at the guard position.
Nov 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Tim Frazier (2) shoots over Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Bucks defeated the Pelicans 117-113. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 6 GP: 13.5 min/2.5 pts/4.8 rebs/1.2 asts Last rank: NR
Despite the 3-man pileup at center for the Bucks this season, Henson is the one receiving the least amount of minutes. And this lack of minutes is with good reason. Henson has always been a high-energy shot blocker off the bench, but he is not even doing his duties as a rim protector. In comparison to the last two seasons, where John averaged over four blocks per 36 minutes, he is down to just 1.3 right now. When Henson is not bringing the kind of defense that is expected out of him, his weaknesses on the offensive end become even more glaring.
He still has his deadly left hook, but not much aside from that. On the plus side, Henson looks to have improved his rebounding, where he is ranked 2nd in the team among eligible players with 12.9 per 36 minutes. Hopefully Henson can return to his usual defensive form, or it could be a long season for the talented role player.
Nov 3, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) tries to steal ball from Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) in the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 14.7 min/3.7 pts/2.9 rebs/1.1 asts Last rank: NR
After signing that monster contract in the offseason, Miles Plumlee has definitely not lived up to the expectations. Many people expected to see him become a more high volume scorer who would be an outstanding rim protector. Despite having a steady role as the starting center for the Bucks, Plumlee has seen inconsistent minutes as a result of his poor play.
As a matter of fact, Plumlee’s per 36 minute statistics are mainly down across the board. There has been a significant improvement in his assist numbers from 0.9 to 1.7 in per 36, but not much aside from that. His rough stretch of play to start the season is one thing, but the haircut that he is currently touting, that is what really needs to change. Yeesh.
Oct 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jerian Grant (2) takes a shot against Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker (7) in the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 3 GP: 4.0 min/3.0 pts/2.3 rebs/0.0 asts Last rank: NR
After being selected 10th overall by the team a few months ago, Bucks’ fans are yet to see much of Thon Maker. To this point, Maker has only reached the floor for a grand total of 12 minutes whilst appearing in just three games. However, it is clear that Thon has taken advantage of the opportunities that he has been given. In the span of less than a minute, Maker recorded his first six NBA points on back-to-back three-pointers.
But it has not just been his scoring. In just limited minutes, Thon showed his relentless motor in grabbing seven rebounds. Maker clearly is off to a good start for the team, so it will be interesting to see whether or not he will start to see a larger role on the team.
Nov 5, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Michael Beasley (9) drives for the basket against Sacramento Kings center Georgios Papagiannis (13) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 13.7 mins/6.6 pts/1.9 rebs/0.6 asts Last rank: NR
Despite being brought into Milwaukee to be an elite bench scorer, Beasley has not had the impact that some fans were anticipating. However, this can be largely attributed to his lack of minutes. In contrast to getting 18.2 minutes per game last year with Houston, Kidd has only been giving his new acquisition 13.7 minutes per game through the first seven games. When looking at the per 36 numbers for Beasley, his 17.2 points per game are definitely adequate.
It is concerning to see Beas continuing to attempt step-in deep two-point jump shots. This shot is constantly labelled as the least efficient shot in basketball, so it would be nice to see Michael either shoot the three or attack the basket with more ferocity. It is surprising to see that Beasley is receiving such few minutes, but his integration into the full scheme of the team might take a little longer.
Nov 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Tony Snell (21) dribbles as Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 6 GP: 28.0 mins/7.5 pts/4.2 rebs/1.2 asts Last rank: NR
After being traded to the Bucks just a few weeks ago, it has been exciting to see the way that Snell has integrated himself into the Bucks’ franchise mold. With Middleton being out for such an extended period of time, Snell has been called upon to be the starting shooting guard. Snell is off to a rough start from the floor, just 22.6 percent from three, but he is likely to return to his usual status of 34.4 percent sometime in the near future. Still, his play to this point has been just enough to land himself at the #8 spot in this Power Rankings.
His main strength lies in his defensive instincts and length, which has already proven to be a good fit next to the rest of the long Bucks’ lineup. If Snell can develop into a true three-and-D wing, then the Bucks will be in good hands for a consistent starting lineup.
Apr 1, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Rashad Vaughn (20) during the game against the Orlando Magic at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 113-110. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 6 GP: 16.7 mins/8.0 pts/1.3 rebs/0.3 asts Last rank: NR
Arguably the biggest surprise for the Bucks so far this season, it seems like Rashad Vaughn has started to find his footing in the NBA. He has played in six of the team’s first seven outings and averaged 16.7 minutes per game in those appearances. Vaughn seems to be finally gaining his NBA footing. His field goal percentage has increased from 30.5 percent last season to 43.9 percent this time around, and his three-point percentage has increased from 29.3 percent to 42.9 percent. He is also shooting the ball with incredible confidence. Not only is he always looking to shoot, but his confidence is making defenses take note of him wherever he is on the floor. With RaSplash starting to open up the lane for the rest of the offense, Vaughn is developing into a fine asset for the Bucks.
Nov 5, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Mirza Teletovic (35) reacts after scoring a 3-point basket in the second quarter during the game against the Sacramento Kings at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Teletovic scored 22 points to help the Bucks beat the Kings 117-91. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 18.7 mins/8.3 pts/1.9 rebs/0.7 asts Last rank: NR
Sure, Mirza hasn’t been great on defense. And sure, Mirza hasn’t been a super consistent shooter for the Bucks so far, but his reputation has been enough to have an impact on defenses facing the Bucks. Given Telly’s quick trigger and accuracy from behind the arc, a defender has to be latched onto Mirza to prevent a three-point bomb from splashing through.
Obviously three-pointing shooting is Teletovic’s claim to fame, but there are two main aspects to that part of his game that go overlooked in the box score. First of all, he does an outstanding job spotting up in transition. He has his “go-to-spot” on the floor and each ball handler knows exactly where to find him on the break. Also, the man has range. Like “downtown, Charlie Brown, need a binocular to see the rim” kind of range. That ability to stretch the floor cannot be understated on a team that possesses such talented drivers.
Oct 30, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) falls on the court during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons won 98-83. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 29.0 mins/9.0 pts/3.6 rebs/5.6 asts Last rank: NR
Dellavedova certainly looked like the perfect fit to join the Bucks this offseason, but it is hard to say anyone would have thought him to play this well. In his first time without LeBron James at his side, Delly is proving himself to be a legitimate NBA starter as both a primary and secondary ball handler. This versatility is great when considering the abilities of Point Giannis in the same lineup as him. Through seven games, Delly is having his worst season from behind the arc, but this is bound to increase in the future. Some of these shooting struggles can be attributed to a higher rate of difficult three-point attempts, but not all.
But putting three-point shooting behind, he is currently shooting 51.4 percent from inside the arc, which is 11.3 percent higher than last season. With his scrappy defensive play and well-rounded game, it is no surprise to see Delly crack the top-5 in these Power Rankings in the first installment.
Oct 30, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon (13) dribbles by Detroit Pistons guard Ish Smith (14) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 20.9 mins/7.4 pts/2.6 rebs/3.0 asts Last rank: NR
Maybe a little high to put Brogdon at #4, but he has done far more than what most people expected out of him. For a rookie to be playing with such control for nearly 21 minutes per game is truly remarkable, regardless of his age or experience. As a primary ball handler off the bench, Malcolm has been great in spreading the ball to the other members of the team while also making the most of his shooting opportunities. It was clear that “The President” was struggling from beyond the arc to begin his NBA career, but it seems as though he has started to find the range.
In terms of where he ranks among rookies in the NBA, Uncle Malcolm has been outstanding. Brogdon is 6th in total scoring, 10th in rebounding, 5th in assists, and 2nd in steals (Statistics are found through NBA.com/stats). Also, he is currently 8th in entire NBA in steal percentage. Clearly his defensive acumen has translated from college to the pros, which is a great sign for his future.
Nov 6, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) looks to shoot as Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 31.4 mins/17.6 pts/6.1 rebs/2.0 asts Last rank: NR
So Jabari is currently hitting 38.5 percent from three-point land. That’s, umm, pretty good. And with the way the Bucks know that Jabari can attack the rack, this new found attribute shooting the deep ball, he looks to be destined for a great scoring season. Clearly Giannis is the all-around star that the Bucks are planning to build around, but Jabari is the running mate that he needs in order to bring a future championship contender to Milwaukee.
Currently, Jabari has been less aggressive than most would have expected out of him. If, however, he keeps knocking down the three with consistency, defenses will have to start closing out on him quicker. This would definitely allow him to attack the basket easier and he could be rising up the Power Rankings soon.
Oct 30, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) takes a shot over Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 21.7 mins/11.1 pts/8.6 rebs/3.0 asts Last rank: NR
Many will probably be surprised to see Monroe so high on this list, but the job he has done off the bench this season has been admirable. Clearly Greg has the talent to be a starting center in the league, but he has embraced being the go-to-guy off the bench. Also, it is obvious that he put in lots of work during the offseason to fix his defensive flaws. This kind of effort on both sides of the floor is commendable and needs to be taken into account when discussing his potential fit for the future with Milwaukee.
He is playing eight less minutes per game in comparison to last season, but he has still managed to increase his assist numbers. You can still rely on Moose for the “and-one” calls every game, but he is becoming a much more selfless player and taking advantage of his skills as an above average passing big man.
Nov 5, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) hangs onto the rim after dunking for a basket in the third quarter during the game against the Sacramento Kings at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks beat the Kings 117-91. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 7 GP: 32.6 mins/21.1 pts/8.4 rebs/6.0 asts Last rank: NR
Was there any question that Giannis would be #1 on this list? The Greek Freak is off to an unbelievable start to the season, and despite his somewhat lackluster performance against the Dallas Mavericks, is making an early case for his All-Star bid. Not only has Antetokounmpo increased his scoring, but his assist and rebounding numbers are up as well. The Bucks are yet to see their first triple-double out of the 21-year-old this season, but it is bound to happen eventually.
He has started to lengthen his range out past the arc, but he needs to be in rhythm in order to knock down those shots. On a few occasions already this season, if Giannis is called up to shoot a wide-open three when out of rhythm, it can easily end up drawing nothing but air.
Still, Giannis continues to improve every single night and is 100% worthy of the #1 spot on this list.