With training camp right around the corner, thankfully, the Mike Budenholzer era will finally begin in earnest for the Milwaukee Bucks. As always, there is a battle to see who will grab the last few spots on the roster, but that shouldn’t greatly impact the minutes rotation. With that being said, we will try and identify who plays, how many minutes and it will be just like our playoff rotation piece, which you can read here.
Just like last time we will sort out the rotation by separating the roster in different tiers. The number in parentheses will be an average number of minutes someone plays. They may play more some games, sometimes less, but it’s meant to be an average.
*Writer’s note: This was written prior to training camp, which is the roster we will be going with.
Update we have a change in the roster
Rotating door of Exhibit 10 contracts in Milwaukee: In: Robert Johnson and former first rd. pick James Young. Out: Jordan Barnett and Brandon McCoy. Bucks at 20 and still need to sign Shabazz Muhammad, Tim Frazier and Christian Wood.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 18, 2018
Tier 1: Make it through training camp first
- Tyler Zeller
- Trevon Duval
- Jaylen Morris
- Travis Trice
Brandon McCoyRobert Johnson
Jordan BarnettJames Young
- Tim Frazier???
Each of these players will need to make a great impression on the staff to make the roster. Duval, Morris and Trice will most likely be be sent to the Wisconsin Herd, James Young will once again be attempting to make an impression on Milwaukee after he was on the training camp roster last year and spent time with the Wisconsin Herd. Tyler Zeller’s fate still seems up in the air and Tim Frazier was one of the new editions and would be someone that could help the PG depth. He doesn’t shoot the three ball often or well (less than 3 attempts per game per 36 at 31%), but has been serivceable as an emergency guard in New Orleans.
Tier 2: The Jason Terry Hypeman Successor who will not be as good
D.J. Wilson (3)
As our site overlord Mitchell Maurer and BH Godfather Frank Madden have mentioned in the past, D.J. Wilson needs to show one NBA level skill this season. I wonder if hypeman was what they were looking for? Unless something changes, Wilson will spend more time on the bench cheering the team, than actually playing.
Tier 3: The Wildcard
Christian Wood (6)
Everybody’s new stan was a force in Summer League making the first team. Wood has bounced around a few NBA teams but he seems like someone who would be the buy-low high-ceiling player Milwaukee simply hasn’t had on their roster since Giannis reached his potential. He might not get as much playing time due to the players ahead of him, but Wood on the roster would be a plus.
Tier 4: Likely will not play much and that’s probably a good thing
Shabazz Muhammad (9)
Matthew Dellavedova (10)
Shabazz surprisingly had a hot hand for the Bucks, the issue was they rode the hot hand too long and you ended up losing 2 grand at the casino. I think a better coach will know when to quit while they’re ahead, if Shabazz even squeezes onto the roster this year. Delly will be the team’s 3rd PG and with other/better playmakers on the roster, the reliance on Delly decreases.
Tier 5: Bench wings
Sterling Brown (12)
Donte DiVincenzo (12)
Pat Connaughton (12)
We are not sure who out of these three will get the most or consistent playing time. It appears they will each have a chance to stake their claim early in the season. All three players look to be three point shooters with Brown offering more on the defensive end. Hopefully one of Donte and Sterling can make solid contribution to give Milwaukee another asset.
Tier 6: Break in case of Thonmergency
John Henson (13 if Thon struggles)
John Henson is a solid center who is an average rim protector and average passer at the high post. He can get the job done but we have seen what the ceiling is with him. With the arrival of Brook Lopez and Playoff Thon making an appearance, it seems Henson will be chilling on the bench unless Thon struggles again.
Tier 7: Valuable Bench players
Malcolm Brogdon (25)
Ersan Ilyasova (20)
Both Brogdon and Ilyasova are not flashy players but they bring contributions that are needed on the court. Brogdon might end up a starter, but if not, he and Ersan will likely be the first players to come off the bench.
Tier 8: X-Factors
Thon Maker (16 hopefully)
Brook Lopez (25)
Brook Lopez might be Milwaukee’s best starter at center since pre-injury Bogut. That can be viewed as encouraging or incredibly dispiriting, but his shooting and ability to get other teammates rebounds will help Giannis and the rest of the roster. If he can stay healthy, his addition will be viewed as one of the league’s best transactions. Thon is once again a frustrating player to figure out. As we have seen in the playoffs, he can be an impact player that can play the modern day NBA 5. The problem is that has only happened 6 games in his two seasons. Maybe a better coach will help, or Thon seems destined to remain the taxing project that doesn’t pay many dividends.
Tier 9: Image Rehab Starter
Eric Bledsoe (30)
Tony Snell (20)
Both of these starters had a solid (Snell he shot 40% from three) and good (Bledsoe) regular season for the Bucks. However, bad showings in the playoffs has changed the public image for each of them. I personally believe in bounce back performances from both players, but it will take time for fans to turn around.
Tier 10: Dynamic Duo
Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
Khris Middleton (33)
These two have and will be getting the majority of the minutes. After nearly leading the league in minutes, Budenholzer will want to manage their minutes better this season to have fresh(er) legs later in the season.
We really won’t know who is going to play until the regular season. Budenholzer might have some tricks up his sleeve and the wing players might jump out and make the Bucks bench a low-rate version of Toronto’s bench from last year. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out this year and hopefully (or not??) this breakdown will be accurate. So leave in the comments who you think will get more playing time and who is stuck to the bench.