Bucks’ Bledsoe goes off, gets new contract

Welcome to the 2018-19 edition of the Young Bucks Tracker. Each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Bucks in the future from the Wisconsin Herd or a current member of the Milwaukee roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.

This is the 17th edition of the 2018-19 Young Bucks Tracker.

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Guard Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe got paid last week, agreeing to a four-year, $70 million extension with the Bucks. Then he went out and showed why Milwaukee gave him a new contract.

Coming off his first triple-double as a Buck and sending Milwaukee’s Feb. 27 game at Sacramento to overtime with a clutch steal as time wound down in regulation, Bledsoe posted 31 points, nine rebounds, five assists and a block Friday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. He also extended his streak of making at least half of his field-goal attempts to four straight games.

Bledsoe sat out Milwaukee’s next game with a back injury. He returned Monday at Phoenix and had 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.

At first glance, Bledsoe’s numbers might seem down this year — he’s averaging 15.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

But he’s also only averaging 29.2 minutes per game (which bodes well for a healthy, rested Bledsoe in the playoffs). Bledsoe’s per-36 minute averages are in line with his career totals, if not better. His 6.7 assists per 36 is the second-highest of his career while his 5.8 rebounds is at the top (previous high: 5.4 in 2014-15).

Bledsoe is also shooting 48.6 percent from the field, which includes making 60.6 percent of his 2-point attempts — both of which are career highs. The latter is also 13th in the NBA, not bad for a guy listed 6-foot-1. With the exception of one player, everyone else in the top 20 is 6-8 or taller, with the majority at least 6-10 (Denver’s Malik Beasley, who ranked 20th, is 6-5).

Now that’s getting a lot of bang for your buck.


— This week in Antetokounmpo: Giannis had double-doubles in all three games and also had six, eight and six assists. Against Utah he poured in 43 points in 32 minutes. It was his fourth game of 40+ points this season. He also had four such games last season. Antetokounmpo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only Bucks players to have four 40+ games in any season (Kareem did it in five different seasons). Giannis now has nine career 40+-point games. Only Abdul-Jabbar (55) and Michael Redd (11) have more.

— Like Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon missed the game at Utah on March 2. He had 21 points and four assists against the Lakers and 19 points and seven rebounds vs. the Suns, making 15 of 25 shots (60.0 percent), including 6 of 7 from 3. He actually missed one free-throw attempt at Phoenix, but still leads the NBA with a 93.6 free-throw percentage.

Pat Connaughton has played at least 21 minutes in five straight games. In three games last week he had a 125 offensive rating. Against the Lakers he had nine points, five rebounds and four assists and was a plus-13 in just under 26 minutes.