Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, our staff takes on the role of “instructor,” and we head into the teacher’s lounge to hand out some grades.
It’s only been 14 games, but we’ve seen enough of the Milwaukee Bucks’ season to be able to dismiss any trends as a small sample size. The Bucks are moving ahead, and we want to grade how well everybody has performed thus far. Our scale is exactly what you’d expect: A’s are the best, F’s are the worst, with pluses and minuses and “incomplete” grades as needed.
Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn't need a jumper to dominate.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) November 13, 2017
The first PICTURES VIDEO of the year explains why. pic.twitter.com/cCC0rPwhaq
Mitchell: A+. In a recent thread, Brew Hoop frequent flyer oldresorter ran some basketball-reference comparisons for Giannis, and made a semi-credible case that the best parallel to use was LeBron James...but in Wilt Chamberlain’s body. Patently absurd (or is it?), but I couldn’t immediately dismiss the comp, which says something about Giannis’ season so far.
Dakota: A+. Honestly, I think giving Giannis an A+ is actually an understatement considering how good he’s doing. The sheer fact that a 22-year-old player is just putting up these kind of astronomical numbers in various categories is incredible. While he does need to lessen his turnovers and fouls, Giannis seems to be well on his way towards being an MVP.
Greg: A. If I were a teacher I would be one of the annoying ones that does not give out perfect overall scores. Giannis is still showing some problems in the turnover department with nearly three and a half per game, but he more than makes up for his minor shortcomings.
Kyle: A+. Before the season I said Giannis could get Top-3 in MVP while having a similar stat line with some modest increases in other categories. Well now he not only is going to get Top-3 but he is the odds on favorite to win the award. His impact is very obvious and even his “Poor” games are still 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Rachael: A+. Giannis continues to put up crazy stat lines every game. Like Kyle said, even in games where he doesn’t play his best, his “not that good” play is still better than many players’ averages.
Average Grade: A+ (c’mon, Greg...)
Dakota: C. With Parker out until February, I entered the season expecting Middleton to continue his progression as a player and hopefully establish himself as a strong #2 option for the Bucks. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened as he’s just been extremely inconsistent as a shooter. For someone that’s maintained a 40% three-point shooting percentage since he arrived, its disheartening to see Middleton just devolve into shooting 28% from beyond the arc. Honestly, the only real bright spot is that he’s been a pretty decent facilitator as he maintains a 2.14 Ast/TO ratio.
Greg: B-. Khash has been inconsistent to the point where it is just plain frustrating watching him on the court at times. His 43-point explosion against the Charlotte Hornets was great, but it came in a losing effort. He has shown a knack for finding himself get stuck within the offensive flow and has posted an offensive rating of 100 so far.
Kyle: C. With him being healthy and 100% to begin the season, Khris has not had the start to the season that he nor the fans have wanted. There have been moments like the first half of the season opener against Boston and his 43 point showing against the Hornets. Otherwise it feels like he can still hit another gear and the addition of Bledsoe “should” help. His shooting will revert to the mean at some point right?
Mitchell: C-. Call me harsh, but Khris simply hasn’t been his über-efficient self thus far this year. Perhaps it’s a slow start, or difficulty adjusting to a more ball-dominant guard (Bledsoe) on the roster, or something else, but there are too many tickets being punched on the Tough Shot Express for my liking.
Rachael: C. Echoing the key word the guys touched on: inconsistent. He hasn’t been able to provide any consistent scoring or production offensively. Take last night for example: he started off hitting three 3’s in the first 8 minutes of the game, then went almost completely silent until the 4th quarter.
Average Grade: C
I Dont wanna be here— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) October 22, 2017
Dakota: B+. From the time that he first put on a Bucks uniform, Eric Bledsoe’s presence seems to have changed the team’s identity. From the jump, he’s shown himself to be that blazing quick guard that can just slalom his way towards the rim in transition opportunities. In half-court, he can create scoring opportunities for his teammates through his incredible work as a drive-and-dish player. On the other end of the floor, his presence has pushed the Bucks from being a slightly below-average team to a unit that can force turnovers on any given possession.
Greg: Incomplete. I don’t think I have enough evidence to fully support a grade on Bledsoe, but the excitement and optimism his arrival has brought to the team has been worthy of a high mark.
Kyle: B. We have seen flashes of what Bledsoe can bring to this team. His speed and playmaking will be valuable but we haven’t seen enough yet. He seems to already gel with some teammates and just his presence alone has helped Milwaukee’s confidence.
Mitchell: B+. What, we haven’t seen enough? With Moose’s roster spot, the Bucks now have an athletic guard capable of getting into the lane off the dribble, pulling up for late-possession shots, and hounding opposing ball-handlers. He’s not without his blemishes, but Bledsoe has been most of what the doctor ordered so far.
Rachael: A-. Hear me out! Since Bledsoe’s addition, he’s reinvigorated the team with his energy and pacing both offensively and defensively. Sure, his jumper isn’t falling, but he’s both aggressively creating shots, as well as using his speed to blow by defenders in the paint. He also talks a lot on defense, and has even helped direct Thon and Snell. For him to come in and make an immediate impact on a team after only a few practices together... that’s “A” worthy material, folks!
Average Grade: B+
Dakota: B+. Before the Bucks traded for Eric Bledsoe last week, Brogdon was actually making a strong case to be the team’s #2 scoring weapon. Headlined by a phenomenal 62% true shooting percentage, it seemed like he was making strides in various areas from handles, perimeter shooting and even facilitating. While the addition of Bledsoe has pushed Brogdon to their 2nd unit, I still expect him to maintain those same traits to be a top bench weapon.
Greg: B. I had Brogdon pegged as a likely candidate for a sophomore slump and he has proven that wrong so far. He is getting more minutes which has led to an increase in scoring, but not to his assist and rebounding numbers. Bench Brogdon figures to be a key contributor for this team and I am very much here for it.
Kyle: A-. Brogdon has been the Bucks second best player this season and it hasn’t been close. He has still remained a steady presence and has even added some skills like the three off the dribble. Him coming off the bench will provide benefits and he is still part of the closing lineup.
Mitchell: A. He has been just as good as his rookie campaign, and his off-the-dribble three-point shot is a welcome addition to his already solid game. He’s not flashy, but he’s exactly what the team needs.
Rachael: A-. Before the Bledsoe trade, Brogdon was arguably the second best player on the Bucks. He was the most consistent and reliable guy on the court next to Giannis. Since the trade, he’s dealt with being booted to third string (for two games at least) and watching Delly come off the bench before him. I did knock him to an A- because he’s struggled finishing at the rim so far this season.
Average Grade: A-
Thon Maker just tucked his mouthguard under his tights on his ankle and I have no idea how to react pic.twitter.com/wUtCV08MMs— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 11, 2017
Dakota: D. I came into this season expecting some progression from Maker after his solid playoff series against the Raptors from last year. However, that hasn’t happened as Maker has trouble actually staying in games due to how quickly he gets into foul trouble. While he’s a solid perimeter threat and seems to becoming more aggressive on the offensive glass, its really tough to grade someone positively when they get into foul trouble before the 2nd unit is ready to come in.
Greg: D+. Thon has looked bad-to-below-average at this point in the season. He is averaging more fouls per game (3.1) than rebounds (2.8). That is not what you want out of your backup center. The spacing he brings onto the court is great, but that can only get him so far as he has not become an offensive threat.
Kyle: D. It’s been rough going for Thon. As Greg mentioned, he is fouling way too much and still struggling to rebound. He is still young and maybe a stint off the bench is a better fit for him.
Mitchell: D-. Thon has looked bad. He appears to be stronger, but he doesn’t play strong enough. Overall his trend is positive, and he should be treated with extreme patience, but his early season stretch has been one step forward and two steps back.
Rachael: C. I can’t find it in my heart to give him a D, although he obviously has been struggling. Good news: Kevin Garnett is training with him.
Average Grade: D
Jason Kidd (Head Coach)
Dakota: C+. In terms of being able to push young talent to improve on a month-by-month or year-by-year basis, Kidd has been awesome. Giannis is a favorite to win MVP, Brogdon has made huge strides, Middleton is truly a well-defined player, Bledsoe seems to fit the team like a glove and Henson can facilitate now?!?!? However, I have deduct him to a C+ due to the fact that our defense has just seemed out of sync for most of the season. While it has definitely improved with the additions of Bledsoe, I’m still unsure if Kidd is getting the best performance on both ends of the court with the talent that we have.
Mitchell: B. I want to be very specific on why my grade is this high. Giannis has made the jump to MVP candidate, Middleton has remained a positive contributor despite struggling, Brogdon has added something to his game, and Bledsoe has had the effect many of us hoped he’s had. I think the positives on the season outweigh the negatives enough to award a high enough grade, but the margin for error here is as razor-thin as it is for the defense (which remains problematic).
Greg: C-. I never really cared for Jason Kidd the player and have never been a fan of Jason Kidd the coach either. There are a lot of negatives to dissect with him (schemes, rotations, lack of having players’ backs with officiating) and very few positives (player development, basketball IQ).
Adam: C. Player growth is an always admirable but oftentimes difficult aspect to judge with coaches. How much is it an individual player’s drive or talent versus specific direction from those in charge? Whatever your stance, there has been a positive trend in that direction for a multitude of Bucks players, but the schematic stumblings remain stuck in my craw enough to knock this grade down relatively low.