Young Bucks Tracker: Jan. 15 edition

 

With two-thirds of the roster born after 1990, the Bucks are a young, growing team trying to develop an identity and a franchise that has to figure out which players have a future in Milwaukee. Every Wednesday for the rest of the season, FOX Sports Wisconsin’s James Carlton takes a closer look at the players that are still on their rookie contracts, measuring, highlighting and evaluating their progress.

This is the sixth edition of Young Bucks Tracker.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO (age 20, second season)

Statistical averages, past week (season): 23.3 minutes (28.1), 7.0 points (11.7), 5.3 rebounds (6.2), 1.7 assists (2.1), 0.7 blocks (1.0), 1.0 steals (0.7), 41.7 FG% (49.7), 0.0 3PT% (20.0).

Advanced stats, season: 15.4 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 55.4 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 19.0 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Trending: Down

Quoted: "We’re playing four (games) in five (days) and five in seven. You have to try to find times to give guys a rest and that was a good time to give him a rest." — Head coach Jaosn Kidd on Antetokounmpo playing just 15 minutes in the Bucks’ rout of Philadelphia.

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Noted: Antetokounmpo’s play was tepid during a week that, for the Bucks, was more subdued than usual, due to the schedule, opponents and run of play of the games. He wasn’t needed in the second half against the 76ers, played a productive-if-unspectacular 29 minutes in the easy win over the Timberwolves, and then didn’t make much of an impact in 26 minutes during the loss to the Chicago Pau Gasols. In the two games prior to this week’s Tracker, Antetokounmpo recorded back-to-back double-doubles of 16 points and 12 rebounds; his inconsistency, shaky outside shooting and tendency to get into foul trouble have kept him from becoming a productive player night in and night out.

JOHN HENSON (age 24, third season)

Statistical averages, past week (season): 18.3 minutes (15.3), 7.3 points (5.8), 3.7 rebounds (3.6), 1.3 assists (0.8), 3.3 blocks (1.7), 0.3 steals (0.3), 47.1 FG% (56.3), 0.0 3PT% (0.0).

Advanced stats, season: 17.9 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 59.1 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 16.3 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Quoted: "Minutes are high, he’s getting consistent time on the floor and taking full advantage of it. We missed John when he was out. He’s playing at a high level since he’s been back. Everybody trusts good things are going to happen when John comes in the game." — Kidd on Henson’s performance since returning from a foot injury that caused him to miss nearly a month.

Noted: Henson has the second-highest PER on the team (behind Brandon Knight), largely because of his high field-goal percentage and 1.71 blocks per game, which would rank in the league’s top 10 if he’d played enough games to be eligible. His minutes had started to tick up, thanks to injuries and issues with center Larry Sanders, and Henson was showing the promise he’s displayed in glimpses. But Milwaukee signed veteran power forward Kenyon Martin last week and Sanders could be back on the court soon, which would affect Henson’s playing time. His rim protection remains as good as ever, but Henson is averaging three-year career lows in points and rebounds per 40 minutes, as well as a rebounding rate (13.8) that is 1.5 boards fewer than he was at last year.  

BRANDON KNIGHT (age 23, fourth season)

Statistical averages, past week (season): 29.7 minutes (32.1), 17.3 points (18.2), 2.7 rebounds (4.2), 4.7 assists (5.1), 0.0 blocks (0.1), 1.0 steals (1.4), 48.8 FG% (45.1), 50.0 3PT% (40.0).

Advanced stats, season: 18.6 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 57.2 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 26.0 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Trending: Up

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KENDALL MARSHALL (age 23, third season, *not on rookie contract)

Statistical averages, past week (season): 13.5 minutes (15.3), 4.0 points (4.4), 0.0 rebounds (1.0), 5.0 assists (3.2), 0.0 blocks (0.0), 1.0 steals (0.7), 100.0 FG% (45.5), 100.0 3PT% (39.1).

Advanced stats, season: 12.4 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 56.2 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 16.3 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Noted: Friday’s game against the Timberwolves was exactly the type of performance the Bucks want from Marshall, who optimized his minutes one game after not seeing the floor at all against Philadelphia and was brilliant as a playmaker. Marshall was nearly flawless: He made both of his field-goal attempts, a pair of 3-pointers, had two steals and dished out a season-high nine assists, while committing just one turnover in 20 minutes. Kidd continues to be capricious with playing time, though, giving Marshall just seven minutes the next night in a loss to Chicago, when Milwaukee shot only 27.3 percent on 3-pointers.

KHRIS MIDDLETON (age 23, third season)

Statistical averages, past week (season): 29.0 minutes (24.3), 13.0 points (9.7), 5.0 rebounds (3.8), 2.0 assists (1.5), 0.0 blocks (0.2), 3.0 steals (1.3), 55.6 FG% (43.5), 55.6 3PT% (39.4).

Advanced stats, season: 14.4 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 54.9 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 17.5 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Trending: Up

Noted: Middleton has settled back into his starting spot nicely, playing about the same number of minutes as backup shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who returned to his instant-offense role off the bench. Middleton continues to be one of the Bucks’ best outside shooters, a player who can stretch a defense from 3-point distance and also hit midrange and baseline jumpers consistently. At 6-foot-7, he’s a taller guard who’s having by far the best rebounding season of his career; he’s also pestering opponents and disrupting passing lanes with his long arms and active hands.

JOHNNY O’BRYANT (age 21, first season)

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Statistical averages, past week (season): 14.3 minutes (12.8), 4.0 points (4.1), 1.0 rebounds (1.4), 0.0 assists (0.5), 0.7 blocks (0.3), 0.3 steals (0.1), 46.2 FG% (40.7), 0.0 3PT% (0.0).

Advanced stats, season: 5.7 player efficiency rating (based on 15.0 league average), 42.9 true shooting percentage (accounting for free throws and 3-pointers), 17.8 usage rate (possessions used per 40 minutes).

Quoted: "We have to figure out this turnover thing. We can’t do this against a really good team. We can’t keep doing this against anybody because it is going to come back to get us." — Kidd after the Bucks committed 26 and 23 turnovers, respectively, in wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota.

Noted: O’Bryant’s minutes and productivity were down again, as the Bucks’ frontcourt grew more crowded and he struggled to make much of an impact during his time on the court. Still, the rookie second-rounder continues to start at power forward, so clearly Kidd feels he’s either getting something positive out of O’Bryant or giving him valuable minutes to develop. A three-rebound, five-turnover individual performance against the 76ers was sloppy; that was followed by an overall careless game by the Bucks as a team against the Timberwolves, which prompted Kidd to make his displeasure known regarding Milwaukee’s turnovers.

Did not play due to injury

DAMIEN INGLIS (age 19, first season)

JABARI PARKER (age 19, first season)

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