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. Yesterday we graded out the Bucks “core” pieces and today, our staff again takes on the role of “instructor,” and we head back into the teacher’s lounge to hand out more grades for role players and Jon Horst’s performance.
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.
Bucks have 3 days of practice before facing the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday. Here's what John Henson thinks they'll work on tomorrow: pic.twitter.com/plI4d6HAH2— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) November 4, 2017
Dakota: B+. As has been the case since he was a rookie, Henson is putting up the kind of per-40 numbers that would make any basketball blush. In addition, he’s really evolved as a low-post facilitator as he’s averaging 1.8 assists in 22 minutes per game. Alongside that, he has shown some rare glimpses of being able to hit that 18-foot jumper.
Greg: B. J-Hook looks... good. He’s averaging nearly seven rebounds a game while showing flashes of solid post passing. His limitations are still there, but so far he has displayed actual improvement from previous seasons.
Mitchell: A-. Allow me to quote myself:
I will not get suckered into John Henson again. I will not get suckered into John Henson again. I will not get suckered into John Henson again. I will not get suckered into John Henson again. I will not get suckered into John Henson again. I will not get suckered into John Henso-— Mitchell Maurer (@WhalesLarry) November 14, 2017
All that said, Henson has been very good so far.
Kyle: B+. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but the Henson we currently see might actually be here for an extended period of time. He has gotten his trademark hook shot to fall and is showing to be an above-average playmaker.
Rachael: B+. Henson has done something this season that I haven’t seen him do in a long time: try, and try hard. I’m not sure what caused the switch to flip — but even before the Monroe trade, he came out this season playing with a passion that had been missing in the past few years. He also has been making some incredible passes and showing a court awareness and intelligence I, quite frankly, didn’t know he had.
Average Grade: B+
Why Tony Snell looking at the camera like that ? pic.twitter.com/BKR8kQkqg4— Wells P (@Wells_P) November 12, 2017
Dakota: A-. With Middleton struggling mightily from beyond the arc, the Bucks needed someone to step in and shine as the team’s perimeter marksman. Snell has been fantastic in that role as he’s shooting an unbelievable 49% from beyond the arc this season.
Greg: B+. Snell is posting an offensive rating of 132 while knocking down 49 percent of his three-point attempts. I will take this version of Tony Snell any day of the week. Whether or not he can continue to light it up one thing, but he has laid the foundation to a successful season.
Kyle: A-. He is showing last year wasn’t a fluke, which is better than anybody could have expected.
Mitchell: A. Few players in the league have filled their given role better than Tony Snell. His contract is palatable, his jumper is downright aquatic, and he plays his game the same in all situations.
Rachael: A. What’s better than a role player who effectively plays their role?
Average Grade: A-
Egg in a window, avocado, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, turmeric, olive oil https://t.co/QwKBxfy9Sf— Matthew Dellavedova (@matthewdelly) October 17, 2017
Dakota: D. I despise Delly with a seething passion. Yes, he’s shooting 38% from beyond the arc and is a somewhat decent passer. However, he’s a liability on the defensive end and a part of me whenever he throws up a floater when there’s a reasonable amount of time left on the clock. Sure, they might be fine if they actually go in but its just continuous bricks.
Greg: D. I tweeted out something along the lines of “Delly plays basketball the way remembering middle school feels,” and I stand by that statement.
Kyle: D-. He’s shooting 37% from three so that’s the only thing that prevents an F.
Mitchell: D+. Delly needs a red light on floaters just like Giannis and Jabari had red lights on threes. With Bledsoe in the fold, this grade should improve as the season goes on.
Rachael: F. Remember moments ago when I said I couldn’t find it in my heart to give Thon a D? Welp. I don’t think this grade even needs an explanation. Let me just say I cringe every time he steps on the court.
Average Grade: D
After hearing that Mirza Teletovic will wear protective glasses throughout the season, this is all I could think of... pic.twitter.com/YxIg6lamAn— Tim Wray (@TRW24) September 30, 2017
Dakota: B-. As someone that was signed to be a stretch 4, Teletovic is doing a terrific job in that role as he’s shooting 46% from beyond the arc, which stands as one of the more efficient shooting percentages in the NBA.
Greg: B-. Telly is knocking down three-pointers at a 46 percent clip which is exactly what he should be doing (thank you lasik!). He is old and he is slow which is not doing him any favors on the glass or on defense. I’ll take this version of Mirza though.
Kyle: C+. We don’t ask much out of Mirza. He is shooting the ball well and that’s really all we can ask.
Mitchell: B+. Mirza is doing his job (stretching the floor on offense) and doing it well (much more accurate than last year).
Rachael: B. Is it strange that it seems like he’s shooting a lot worse than 46% from 3? I don’t really expect much from Mirza at this point, but sure, he earned his B.
Average Grade: B-
DeAndre Liggins blocks Terry Rozier and then gets a technical for telling him about it. pic.twitter.com/gAj3oQaTgG— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) October 27, 2017
Dakota: A-. As a player on a non-guaranteed deal that we picked just days before the start of the season, Liggins has been a damn hero. His work on the defense has actually helped push the Bucks to some hard-fought victories. The dude is a menace as a perimeter defender and draws charges better than Bucks-era Ersan Ilyasova Alongside that, he’s been a pretty steady perimeter shooter, something that nobody expected when we picked him up. While there may be some games where he’s a DNP, his defensive grit is a huge blessing for the Bucks. Just don’t allow him to actually dribble the basketball.
Greg: B-. Liggins has been a nice little surprise and provides active energy coming off the bench. He legitimately hustles his butt off and I will forever love him for getting T-ed up for jawing at Terry Rozier after blocking him during the MECCA game.
Kyle: B. Liggins, in the right lineup, will be vital for the bucks as he can just annoy the living s*** out of the opponents. He won’t be needed every game, but that is ok. Him hitting threes has been big also and he has already walked in and done more than anybody could have expected.
Mitchell: B+. Call me generous, but Liggins has been exactly who we thought he should be, and while he’s getting more minutes than expected, he’s hitting threes and putting defensive pressure on opponents. I’m pleased with that outcome.
Rachael: B+. Come on guys, Liggins has replaced Delly in terms of grit! He is a hustle player if there ever was one. His strong suit is obviously defense, and it’s his tenacity on D that earned him his B+ from me. I have been absolutely loving his energy and his willingness to sacrifice his body diving for loose balls and taking charges.
Average Grade: B+
So many thoughts to put together. Big one coming to mind: DJ Wilson going to be a strong cheerleader from the bench this year. https://t.co/nCECp54XUu— Riley Feldmann (@RileyFeldmann) October 22, 2017
Dakota: Incomplete. Wilson has honestly been a tremendous bench cheerleader for us but that’s it. He’s played a total of 15 minutes this year and it just seems like the organization is waiting for the Herd to finish their road trip before they send Wilson off to Oshkosh.
Greg: C-. This isn’t lower because the rookie has been putting together an overall solid bench celebration game this season. This grade is a C- because that has been his impact so far in a Bucks uniform.
Kyle: Incomplete. Bench celebration aside, I don’t know how I am supposed to grade him. Like he’s there but he isn’t there.
Mitchell: Incomplete. He’s a cheerleader right now; we would have hoped to see more from him by now, but he’s not a critical rotation player.
Rachael: Incomplete. Dakota saved me the trouble of seeing how many minutes he’s played so far. I just simply haven’t seen enough of anything to give an informed grade. However, if I could grade his attitude and celebration on the bench, it would be an A+. That’s not being snarky by the way — I think bench celebrations and loudly supporting and cheering on your teammates is really important.
Average Grade: Incomplete (game), A+ (bench celebrations)
Giannis spitting facts on Sterling Brown’s Instagram post. pic.twitter.com/UlmfHqt60M— Bucks Schmucks (@BucksSchmucks) October 28, 2017
Dakota: Incomplete. Aside from like a two minute stretch in October where he made like two shots, Brown has been chilling on the sidelines with Wilson. Similar to the first round pick, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Brown eventually make his way to Oshkosh.
Greg: Incomplete. He is a second round pick that has only seen action in a handful of games. It’s tempting to think he should be doing more considering Brogdon was a second rounder, but expectations are wildly different for Brown than the Prez.
Kyle: Incomplete. See what I said with Wilson but without the bench celebration.
Mitchell: Incomplete. I should give him an “F” because he, unlike Wilson, has not set the Internet ablaze with his levels of hype. Your average NBA fan might know who D.J. Wilson is, but I almost guarantee you they won’t know who Sterling Brown is.
Rachael: Incomplete. Just not enough to go on here.
Average Grade: Incomplete
Currently on COOKIN’ WITH SHADDY: pic.twitter.com/rxhSODByjn— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) November 13, 2017
Dakota: C. Here’s the thing about Rashad Vaughn. the dude always has this two to three minute stretch where he hits a few 3’s and makes Bucks fans optimistic, and then he just goes away for a long time. That’s been happening this season as Vaughn had a really fun game against the Hawks and then he’s remained hidden since then. Will he return from his hiding? We may never know.
Greg: C-. My parents are teachers and they always talk about kids they like who make teaching easier, but sometimes those same kids get bad grades, so my parents would do their best to round grades in favor of those students. I’m doing the same and giving ‘Shad a barely passing grade because BASKETBALL IS A GAME AND GAMES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FUN AND HE HAS THE MOST FUN OUT OF ANYONE ELSE.
Mitchell: D-. The guy had his fourth-year option declined and he barely seems like he cares. APPLY YOURSELF, RASHAD.
Kyle: C-. IG live videos aside; the Hawks game showed exactly what Vaughn can do. He can hit threes and can play solid defense but we have been saying this for over two years at some point can needs to turn into will.
Rachael: C+. I do see improvement in Rashad’s defense in games he’s played so far this season. I do think playing with the Herd would be really beneficial for him.
Average Grade: C-
For the kids. #ThisIsWhyWePlay @jasonterry31 pic.twitter.com/sg3YXk7pkD— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 1, 2017
Dakota: C. Terry has played limited minutes for the Bucks this year, which is actually a good thing. While he was definitely decent last year, its better for the team’s future if Terry remains on the sidelines as an assistant coaching wearing b-ball shorts rather than someone that steals 10-15 minutes per game from another player.
Mitchell: C+. As long as he’s not playing, everything is going fine.
Greg: C. He’s old and fun and his intangibles are off the charts when it comes to coaching up the youngins. We were all excited that JET would be returning to Milwaukee and he is another likable personality on the roster. He’s like a fun uncle and wise older sibling wrapped into one.
Kyle: C. JET has to be taking Wilson under his wing as The Bench guy right?
Rachael: B. He is more vocal and animated than Kidd is a lot of the time, and is constantly coaching from the bench. So, this grade is based on his overall value to the team, I guess.
Average Grade: C
(Not graded: Gary Payton II, Joel Bolomboy, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe)
Jon Horst (General Manager)
(After the Embiid extension news surfaces, Jon Horst receives a call from Mark Bartelstein)— Jordan Treske (@JordanTreske) October 9, 2017
JH (deepens voice): New phone, who dis? pic.twitter.com/jEClbIClxn
Dakota: B. During the first few months of his stint as our GM, I wasn’t really delighted about the work of Horst. A lot of that anguish was due to his early utilization of the two-way contracts as both Bronson Koenig and Jalen Moore were out of the organization by the start of NBA training camp. However, I’ve definitely turned the page due to him actually realizing that you can sign NBA-ready talent to those two-way deals, which he did with Gary Payton Jr. and Joel Bolomboy. Alongside that, him trading Greg Monroe’s expiring and some protected picks for Eric Bledsoe was an absolute steal.
Mitchell: A-. Horst has maintained a relatively low profile, but he earned major points by striking on the Bledsoe trade when he did, bonus points for the protections applied to the picks attached to the return sent to Phoenix, and he certainly hasn’t put the team under any other significant cap stress. So far, so good.
Greg: B+. The Bledsoe trade was a thing of beauty and absolutely weighs heavily on my grade for Horst. His first draft was not great (so far!) but he also had almost no time to fully prep for it. The revolving door of two-way contract players was interesting, but the Bucks eventually filled those spots with good enough players. I’m cautiously optimistic about Horst.
Adam: B. The Bledsoe trade is really the only net-positive move I would grant Horst’s tenure to this point. There’s too many unknown factors still to come with his other minute moves whether it was his first year of draft selections (unremarkable to this point), two-way contract adjustments or the decision to free up immediate cap space by stretching Spencer Hawes rather than eating his salary this year. I will reserve judgment on the above, but big ups for the Bledsoe decision.
Rachael: B+. The Bledsoe trade was an absolute steal. I’m still so happy we didn’t have to give up any starters — hence the plus sign.