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PODCAST: Talking about the rookies

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s episode of Locked on Bucks, Frank and I talked about a single topic: the Bucks’ rookies.

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We started with the Bucks’ second round pick, Malcolm Brogdon, who has been a revelation thus far this season. In the Bucks’ first nine games, Brogdon has averaged 8.2 points, 3 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game in 21.2 minutes per game. The Bucks also have recorded a +5.3 net rating with him on the floor.

But it’s not just the numbers; the eye test has been very kind to the Bucks’ guard as well. Every time you watch him play, it just seems like he is making the right play, whether that is making the extra pass, a smart cut on the baseline for an easy basket, or being in a proper spot defensively.

The numbers and the eye test are encouraging—especially for a second-round pick—but I can’t help but wonder if Bucks fans are putting a little bit too much faith in the Bucks backup point guard after just a few good months. Older second round point guard types are typically very easy to like because the skills they display - ball security, smart decision-making, poise, defensive positioning, shooting - are often the skills they were forced to master because of the very real size or athletic limitations that kept them from leaving school early in pursuit of a lottery selection. Yeah, I’m probably writing this while still spooked by the ghost of Nate Wolters, but I think taking a beat to examine this enthusiasm is fair and warranted.

While Brogdon has impressed throughout the season, Bucks’ first rounder Thon Maker has been limited to being able to impress in very short appearances. Maker has appeared in just three games this season and his only appearance longer than two minutes came in the Bucks’ blowout of the Sacramento Kings earlier this season.

Before the season, there did not appear to be an easy path to significant minutes for Maker with the logjam at center. Now, with Mirza Teletovic struggling to find minutes in recent games because of the emergence of Michael Beasley, it appears the logjam for Maker is even worse with minutes drying up at power forward. What would have to happen for the Bucks to find minutes for Maker? Are there positives to take away from Maker’s performance in the first nine games of the season?