Williams quickly establishes himself as a ‘plus’ for Bucks

Welcome to the 2019-20 edition of the Bucks Weekly Spotlight. Each Thursday we’ll track the progress of the players who are trying to help Milwaukee make a championship run, give updates on other players from the previous week and sometimes take a look at who is lighting it up for the Wisconsin Herd.

This is the 14th edition of the 2019-20 Bucks Weekly Spotlight (note: the spotlight will return in two weeks).


Forward Marvin Williams

The Boston Celtics thought they were going to get Williams. Or at least Kemba Walker did.

Williams and Walker are friends and the pair talked often leading up to and after Williams’ buyout by Charlotte. Able to sign anywhere, Walker made his pitch for that team to be the Celtics. All teams offer the minimum in such a situation, so it came down to where Williams wanted to go. And, much to the surprise of Walker, Williams chose the Cream City over Beantown.

Celtics president of operations Danny Ainge was asked about why he thought Williams would choose the Bucks over the Celtics.

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“Milwaukee is a very attractive team. They have arguably the best player in the NBA, who happens to play the same position as Marvin,” Ainge said on a show on Boston radio station 98.5 FM.

“Maybe he didn’t want to guard him, the Greek Freak, I don’t know,” he added while chuckling.

“They have the best record by a significant margin in the NBA. I think there’s a lot of reasons someone could choose Milwaukee.”

It didn’t take long for Milwaukee fans to see what Williams can add to the team.

Making his debut with the Bucks on Wednesday, Williams had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting (making 1 of 2 3-point attempts) with four rebounds in 19 1/2 minutes.

Incredibly in a game the Bucks lost 118-111, Williams had a plus-20 box score +/-. That was the highest for anyone on either team.

The Pacers’ Myles Turner and Justin Holiday had a plus-10. Only three Bucks had a positive plus/minus – Donte DiVincenzo (+5), Ersan Ilyasova (+5) and Khris Middleton (+1). Sterling Brown was even, with a 0.

Williams was averaging 6.8 points for Charlotte over 19.7 minutes, making 45.3% of his shots, including 37.8% from 3. Over his career, which started in Atlanta in 2005-06 as a 19-year-old, Williams has averaged 10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds while making 36.2% of his 3-point attempts.

That’s the resume of someone who can be a positive addition for the Bucks down the stretch.

It was only one game, but the Bucks quickly found out that Williams is a “plus” addition.


— This week in Giannis: Antetokounmpo missed Milwaukee’s last two games after the birth of his child but in the two other games the Bucks played in the last week he had a career-high 20 rebounds (along with 36 points) in a win at Orlando and nearly posted a triple-double (18 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists) in a victory at home over Sacramento. Entering the All-Star break, Giannis has nine straight double-doubles. Over that span, he’s averaging 29.8 points, 16.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists.

— All-Star Khris Middleton continues to score – he averaged 21.5 points and made 41.9% of his 3-point shots last week – but he also has been strong on the boards. Middleton averaged 9.0 rebounds in four games last week, which included games with 13 and 11. It was only the third time in Middleton’s career he’s had 13+ rebounds in a game and first in nearly a year (Feb. 21, 2019 vs. Boston). His career high is 14 at Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 2018. Middleton is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and 7.5 per 36 minutes, and also has a 10.2% total rebounding percentage – all of which would be career highs.

— Brook Lopez block watch: Lopez had two games with three blocks and another with four this past week. He now has 23 games with 3+ blocks this season. Lopez leads the NBA in block percentage (8.4%) and is second in blocks (135) and blocks per game (2.6).

– Sterling Brown had seen his playing time dwindle and then he missed a pair of games earlier in the week. But he played in the last two contests and had 11 points and six rebounds and then a season-high 14 and eight rebounds while shooting a combined 9-for-17 from the field (52.9%).