Milwaukee has a lot of capable NBA players this season and head coach Mike Budenholzer likes to go deep into his roster early and often. Of course, some play more than others and it can get tough to follow each player’s performance throughout the season. By grading players after each game, hopefully, we can get an idea of who deserves to see the court and who doesn’t come playoff time. Only players with 10+ minutes will be graded and in descending order by minutes played.
In the Bucks game against the Clippers, all eleven players that saw the court for Milwaukee played at least thirteen minutes. Because it came down to the wire, there was no garbage time for some of the young guys to play. As I’m sure we will be doing very often, we will start with Giannis.
Giannis led the Bucks in nearly every statistical category but most importantly he carried his team to a win in a close game where most of the roster couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. He became the first player t reach 200 points, 100 rebounds, and 50 assists through the first eight games of the season and only needed six rebounds and two points in the game to achieve that. Giannis is in a class of his own right now and is the reason Milwaukee finds themselves on a four-game win streak.
Yikes. I could end this assessment right now. Just a yikes performance from Khris all night. Somehow, he put thirteen points on the scoreboard but at no point was he an asset to the Bucks. He went 3-13 from the field and 1-5 from deep and the few fouls and turnovers he had were entirely unnecessary and unforced. His defense wasn’t terrible, but there were a number of times he just made the wrong decision around a screen and paid for it. A forgettable night for Milwaukee’s #2.
The starting big man wasn’t very effective on the offensive end all night but did rack up twelve boards and handled the majority of the floaters and drives the Clippers had fairly well. Shooting 4-12 isn’t great but compared to the overall performance some of his teammates had, it could’ve been worse.
Bledsoe has faced his fair share of criticism over the last few seasons about his ability to step up when he’s needed. In LA, he proved he has it in him by sparking the offense early with a shower of threes and staying close to the Clippers guards up and down the court. I’m pretty sure NBA.com has Bledsoe’s and Wes Matthew’s offensive and defensive rating stats mixed because I have a much easier time believing Bledsoe was the best defensive player on the court last night while Wes was, well… not.
Without the scoring of Hill, the Bucks don’t win this game, period. The man was on fire from the jump, making his first five attempts from beyond the arc. He was outright Milwaukee’s most effective scorer which is the biggest reason Hill found himself among the team’s leaders in minutes on the floor. Still, Milwaukee can’t count on the veteran point guard to make such an impact all the time.
Wes may have started the game but in no way, shape, or form was did he play or act as a starter. First, he played only eighteen minutes which by itself isn’t bad as he’s a veteran at a position where the Bucks have a lot of options. The issue was he shot 0-2 from the field all game and was one of four Bucks with a negative net rating. All he needs to do is hit threes and he didn’t Wednesday night.
This game showed exactly why Milwaukee made the move to sign Korver in free agency and why Korver thought the Bucks was the best option for him. He and Giannis are developing chemistry that is producing high percentage shots on most possessions when these two set screens for each other. Korver also posted the second-highest net rating for the Bucks on the night, just behind Bledsoe.
Pat has seen his minutes fluctuate this year. He and Donte DiVincenzo share similar minutes and Donte has been seeing the floor more recently. Pat didn’t help his case much by allowing the highest opponent EFG% and missing his only shot attempt on the night. He is still a great spark off the bench, but his play has taken a dip.
The league’s leader in charges taken didn’t see the same success on either end of the court that he had seen so far this season. Another player with no field goals on the night, Ersan couldn’t find his rhythm all night. Coach Bud had no choice but to reduce his minutes and live to see another day.
The Big Ragu didn’t get much floor time the first four or so games of the season but since then has been an important player off the bench for Milwaukee. In LA on Wednesday he just happened to be in the same funk the rest of the team was in. The only difference was that Donte is still inexperienced enough that experienced players can take advantage of him on the defensive end when he’s noticeably off. He had his worst game of the season but that’s going to happen when you haven’t been healthy for much of your career.
Last but not least (except in minutes), younger twin Robin was no exception to the funk. He did manage to hit the three paint attempts he took but was 0-3 from deep to remain ice cold on the season. He was also much less effective than his older brother in protecting the paint, allowing 9-15 in that area.
Team Grade: B
Look, the Clippers are no joke even without Kawhi and PG and this was the second game of a four-game road trip for Milwaukee. But the Bucks can look so much better than they did when their whole team is at least playing somewhat up to their personal standards. Nevertheless, they found a way to win and that’s all you can do in a single game.
Next game: Friday @ Utah 8:00 p.m. CT