After starting the season off 7-8, it appears that the Bucks have improved from last year, but clearly have room for improvement.
This record is slightly deceiving, as the only win the Bucks have over a team above .500 is the Memphis Grizzlies. They also have losses to bottom-tier teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans and the Dallas Mavericks.
To summarize each players performance this year, here are their grades given to them, and the biggest takeaways from the season so far:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: A-
After recording his first triple-double of the season last week, Giannis proved that he is truly embracing his role as a leader of the team and a dominant player in the league. His stats have significantly increased, as he is averaging five points and two assists more than he did last season. His athletic dunks and impressive euro-step moves have put him in the spotlight, but with fame comes great responsibility, and Giannis clearly still lacks a jump shot that could truly elevate his game. He is still only shooting 18.8% from the three point line, which allows defenders to back off him. However, if Giannis can consistently play at this level, he should have no problem getting to his first All-Star game this season.
2. Michael Beasley: B
Michael Beasley was picked up by the Bucks to provide some much needed bench scoring. With that role in mind, Beasley has succeeded, putting up big scoring numbers in certain games. While he doesn’t shoot the from three much, his mid-range jump shot is consistent, and he brings an attitude to the team that cannot be matched. However, Beasley is hit-or-miss, as he has yet to record back-to-back double digit scoring performances, and is currently averaging nearly a career low in points. If he can become a more consistent threat off the bench, Beasley could begin to see more minutes.
3. Malcolm Brogdon: B+
Brogdon has embraced the role as backup point guard, and has played above expectations. It’s difficult to imagine how a player like Brogdon fell to the middle of the second round of the draft, as he is currently playing like a seasoned veteran. There are instances where Brogdon will lose the ball bringing it up the court, or where he will make classic rookie mistakes, but for the most part, the Bucks seem to have gotten a steal with a late draft pick. He is reliable on defense and is a floor general calling plays. If he continues to improve, Brogdon could sneak into the starting lineup.
4.Matthew Dellavedova: B
Similar to Beasley, Dellavedova was signed by the Bucks to play a specific role; in his case, it is to play defense and get the ball to Giannis and Jabari as often as possible. Delly is currently 12th in the league in assists, and is still regarded as a solid defensive guard, making his performance adequate. He is by no means a scoring threat, averaging just 7.9 points per game, but he is a consistent three point shooter, making 34% of his attempts from deep. This is Delly’s first year being the starting point guard for a team and also not being alongside LeBron James, so it will be interesting to see how much room Delly has to improve at this new role.
5. John Henson: C+
Between Henson, Plumlee and Monroe, the Bucks have used a variety of different lineups this year, but overall, the center spot seems to be the biggest problem for the Bucks. Henson hasn’t really had a stand-out performance this year until the Bucks last game against the Magic, where he scored 20 points to lead the team. Despite this, Henson is only averaging 5.8 points per game. He is still limited offensively to a left-handed hook shot and dunking. Henson is a liability at the free throw line, and can be simply awkward with the ball at times. However, throughout his career he has been seen as a dominant rim protector, but he isn’t even averaging the most blocks on the team (only 1.2 per game). Henson may be inserted in the starting lineup more frequently due to Plumlee’s struggles, so his grade may increase as the season goes on.
6. Thon Maker: C
It is difficult to give this rookie prospect a grade because he has only appeared in four games, but there is a reason for that. Thon is not NBA ready, as he is still young and skinny. It was evident in summer league that he has plenty of potential with an available jump shot and the ability to run the floor, but it was also apparent that he will need to adjust to the NBA as he gets pushed around in the paint. In his few appearances he has made it obvious that he can stretch the floor, but until Jason Kidd feels he is ready to play, he will continue to ride the bench.
7. Greg Monroe: C-
Monroe has averaged just 17.6 minutes per game, which is the main reason his stats are so dismal this year. When he has played, there have been a few bright spots for the Moose. In games where he has played more than 21 minutes, he has gotten double digit scoring, and has a double-double in almost every every game as well. Scoring hasn’t been the problem for Monroe – it is his lack of defensive presence. When the Bucks play teams like the Warriors who are dominant in fast break opportunities, Monroe does not play. It’s a shame that the Bucks are paying a talented big man $17 million a year to sit on the bench, but until they find the right offer for a trade he will continue to split minutes with Henson and Plumlee.
8. Jabari Parker: A-
Last season was a comeback year for Parker after suffering the ACL tear his rookie year. But this year, Parker is out to prove why he was the second overall pick his draft class. while his scoring numbers are up, averaging about 18.6 points per game, the most impressive part of his season has been his improved jump shot. Over the last two years Parker has been fantastic at slashing to the rim and using his quickness and strength to put down some impressive dunks, but he was never a threat from deep. Now he is shooting 37% from three, and has become a threat as an isolation scorer. If there is one aspect of Parker’s game that can be scrutinized, it would be his occasional passive play. By that I mean at times it seems he is not part of the offense even if he is dominating the game. For example, in the Bucks last game against the Magic, Parker only attempted eight shots. If Parker could be more aggressive at exploiting desirable matchups, such as big men attempting to guard him on the perimeter, he could get more shot attempts.
9. Miles Plumlee: D-
After a four year $52 million deal, there were high expectations for Plumlee this year, who took over the starting role for Monroe at the beginning of the season. While he is not regarded as a scorer, Plumlee is averaging just 3.2 points per game, the lowest of his career since his rookie season. He hasn’t logged more than 22 minutes in a game, despite starting 9/15 games this year for the Bucks. While he only attempts 2.3 shots per game, he is still shooting just 48.6% from the field, which is upsetting for a player who relies on dunks for points. He hasn’t had double digit scoring or rebounding yet this season and has failed to be a consistent rim protector. Overall, he looks frustrated on the court, and will continue to get limited minutes until his production picks up. This will be difficult as Henson is moving into the starting role, and Monroe also competes for minutes.
10. Tony Snell: B+
Snell has been attempting to fill the hole left behind by the Khris Middleton injury, and is doing better than expected. While his three point percentage has gone down from years past, he is averaging career highs in minutes and points. Snell has never started more than 33 games in a season, but he has been forced into the role for the Bucks, starting in every game he has played in. There is clearly room for improvement as Snell is shooting just around 30% from deep, but the move to get rid of Carter-Williams appears to have payed off, as Snell already has more threes made this year than MCW did all of last year.
11. Mirza Teletovic: C+
Outside of two games this season, Teletovic has been disappointing. He was signed to spread the court and make threes, which he does, just very inconsistently. While he has shot 39% from three so far, he has had numerous games where he simply hurts the Bucks by putting up quick and contested shots. He also has failed to hit open shots in the clutch to help the Bucks tie the game or pull away from a team. Teletovic is also a liability on defense, and in order to make up for that, he needs to be more of a consistent threat from three.
12. Jason Terry: B+
Terry is nearing the end of his career at the age of 39, but is playing a role for the Bucks that the team desperately needs. Much of last seasons failures were due to a lack of a veteran presence on the court to guide the countless young and growing players. Terry may not stuff the stat sheet, but he makes the players around him better and is a reliable player on the court.
13. Rashad Vaughn: D
Many people figured that Vaughn would not only get extended minutes this year, but could even be in the starting lineup for the Bucks this year. Vaughn appeared in nine games this season, and was then sent to the D-League. While there are still glimpses of hope for the young shooter, his inconsistency has led to a setback for now.