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Ranking the Bucks Positional Groups Against the Rest of the League

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Where does Milwaukee fall in a list of the league’s top guards, forwards and centers?

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There’s probably a bit of confusion with the title, or at least room for clarification.

The process of grading Milwaukee’s guards, forwards and centers began by categorizing every NBA roster into those three positions. From there, the groups of players were graded on an A-F scale (which was then converted to a 4.33 - 0 GPA to collect averages) where they would be ranked 1-30.

The grading scale looked at how talent within the three positions stacked up against the rest of the league. Wins, losses, or if two shooters could potentially create a mismatch were irrelevant factors.

Milwaukee’s roster was compartmentalized as follows:

Guards: Donte DiVincenzo, George Hill, Eric Bledsoe, Pat Connaughton, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Frank Mason, Cameron Reynolds

Forwards/Wings: Sterling Brown, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, D.J. Wilson

Centers: Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez, Dragan Bender

Below I provide a rationale as to why Milwaukee’s position grades fell where they did in the league standings.

Top Backcourts:

T1 - Golden State Warriors: A

T1 - Houston Rockets: A

T1 - Portland Trail Blazers: A

4 - Brooklyn Nets: A-

5 - Indiana Pacers: A-

6 - Utah Jazz: B+

7 - Sacramento Kings: B+

8 - Boston Celtics: B+

9 - Los Angeles Clippers: B

10 - Denver Nuggets: B

11 - San Antonio Spurs: B

12 - New Orleans Pelicans: B

T13 - Phoenix Suns: B

T13 - Washington Wizards: B

T15 - Milwaukee Bucks: B

T15 - Philadelphia 76ers: B

T17 - Oklahoma City Thunder: B-

T17 - Toronto Raptors: B-

19 - Dallas Mavericks: B-

20 - Miami Heat: B-

21 - Atlanta Hawks: B-

22 - Detroit Pistons: C+

T23 - Los Angeles Lakers: C

T23 - Orlando Magic: C

25 - Chicago Bulls: C

26 - New York Knicks: C-

27 - Memphis Grizzlies: C-

28 - Charlotte Hornets: C-

29 - Cleveland Cavaliers: C-

30 - Minnesota Timberwolves: D+

Milwaukee Guards - B (2.83)

For most of this grading process, I would’ve purposefully left out the mop-up rotation when placing players into positions. Frank Mason and Cam Reynolds will typically enter the game mop in hand, but as a whole Milwaukee boasts legitimate depth at the position.

Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews and George Hill are likely going to pick up the most minutes going into the year. Assuming we’re looking at everyone as their most productive selves, then Bledsoe and Hill will likely pair up in the starting lineup.

In his hundredth-ish season, Kyle Korver is hit or miss production-wise. In his first year with the team, it’s hard to know whether Coach Budenholzer will toss the last flakes of his shooting touch into the fire or use him as a veteran voice on the bench. Pat Connaughton is an explosive leaper — if that leads to as much production as it does Twitter clout, then he could be Milwaukee’s most vital bench piece.

Ultimately these three offer versatile skills and a variety of band-aids to stick on holes in the roster behind the core three. But, what’s a group of band-aids to an All-Star duo? Milwaukee’s backcourt doesn’t have that it factor. They don’t have the go-to player that they can bank on to rattle off 25 points in a big game, which is why they fall into the middle pack.

Top Forwards/Wings:

1 - Los Angeles Lakers: A+

2 - Los Angeles Clippers: A

3 - Milwaukee Bucks: A-

4 - Brooklyn Nets: B

5 - San Antonio Spurs: B

T6 - Denver Nuggets: B

T6 - Boston Celtics: B

T6 - Utah Jazz: B

T9 - Toronto Raptors: B-

T9 - Minnesota Timberwolves: B-

11 - Miami Heat: B-

T12 - New Orleans Pelicans: B-

T12 - Chicago Bulls: B-

14 - Philadelphia 76ers: B-

T15 - Detroit Pistons: B -

T15 - Indiana Pacers: B -

T15 - Golden State Warriors: B -

18 - Sacramento Kings: B -

T19 - Cleveland Cavaliers: C+

T19 - Dallas Mavericks: C+

21 - Orlando Magic: C+

22 - Phoenix Suns: C

23 - Houston Rockets: C

24 - New York Knicks: C

25 - Atlanta Hawks: C

26 - Memphis Grizzlies: C-

27 - Portland Trail Blazers: C-

28 - Charlotte Hornets: C-

29 - Oklahoma City Thunder: D+

30 - Washington Wizards: D+

Milwaukee Wings/Forwards - A- (3.83)

It is hard to say depth did much to alter this ranking. D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown get an up close and personal look from us, but the rest of the league may not be as fond of the steady development we’ve been able to cheerleader these past few seasons. Although there’s potential that comes with “6’8” and freakish athlete,“ Thanasis Antetokounmpo has yet to be dubbed a recruiting pawn for his brother or actual contributor.

Giannis and Khris Middleton’s prominence combined for the resounding A- in our grading. All-Star duos have become increasingly common, and off the bat, it throws that team into the title conversation.

Top Centers:

1 - Philadelphia 76ers: A

2 - Denver Nuggets: A-

3 - Minnesota Timberwolves: B+

4 - Utah Jazz: B+

5 - Brooklyn Nets: B

6 - Milwaukee Bucks: B

7 - Oklahoma City Thunder: B-

T8 - Orlando Magic: B-

T8 - Portland Trail Blazers: B-

10 - Indiana Pacers: B-

11 - Los Angeles Clippers: B-

T12 - Houston Rockets: B-

T12 - Toronto Raptors: B-

14 - New York Knicks: B-

15 - Memphis Grizzlies: C+

T16 - Miami Heat: C+

T16 - Phoenix Suns: C+

18 - Detroit Pistons: C+

19 - Los Angeles Clippers: C

T20 - Sacramento Kings: C

T20 - New Orleans Pelicans: C

22 - Boston Celtics: C

23 - Dallas Mavericks: C

24 - Golden State Warriors: C-

25 - Chicago Bulls: C-

26 - San Antonio Spurs: C-

27 - Cleveland Cavaliers: D+

28 - Charlotte Hornets: D+

29 - Washington Wizards: D+

30 - Atlanta: D

Milwaukee Centers - B (3.08)

The lack of depth and talent at center is a league-wide epidemic. So I lowered my standards going into this.

Apparently, I didn’t need to.

I started this center portion ready to dole out some bold takes, how Milwaukee’s centers and big men are the roster’s weakest position. But, no. Our staff has slotted them at sixth in the league, and in a lot of ways, that’s justifiable.

They have a guy in Brook Lopez who’s a perfect puzzle piece systematically. Behind that, Robin Lopez brings a physical presence that, if nothing else, will prevent Coach Budenholzer from shoving Giannis on guys like Joel Embiid when they match up, possibly in the postseason. Ersan Ilyasova is apparently the worst Buck per some dubious voting results on this site — like he didn’t drop 17 against the Raptors this postseason. Opinion or not, he scores consistently enough to contribute, Twitter hatred be damned. And Bender, as underwhelming his Phoenix tenure was, will come in on a clean slate. If he fits, he fits. If he doesn’t, the Bucks didn’t pour too much cash into that investment.

How would you rank Milwaukee’s positional groups compared to the league at large. Let us know in the comments below!