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Ranking The Roster 2019: Pat Connaughton Leaps Off the Board at #7

The Portland castoff made quite a splash last year

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

Planet Pat Connaughton arrived last season with few expectations following Portland’s decision not to retain the former Notre Dame product. With a minimum contract and a 2-guard rotation including Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown and stalwart Tony Snell, he seemed like someone more likely to stick on the bench and provide emotional support. Instead, we all saw what happened. He took advantage of injuries to DiVincenzo and was afforded early playing time by Mike Budenholzer where Connaughton’s athleticism popped on the offensive and defensive end.

Coming into last year, the stat that caused the most concern was whether his 35.2% 3-point percentage would carry over after his first season ever shooting them at a decent volume. Despite some off-and-on spurts any shooter goes through, that percentage largely transitioned into the green and cream unis. Nailing just 33% of triples is likely a few percentage points lower than Pat would like, but given an uptick in volume, it’s not all that surprising it dipped a bit. It was necessary as well to keep firing away to keep defenses honest and out of potential driving lanes for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe.

Pat isn’t a guy who will get to the free throw line, but his jump outta the gym ability lets him smash home some impressive dunks along the baseline and cutting to the basket. As Brian outlined last season, Connaughton has a preternatural ability to slink through defensive openings when their eyes are fixated on the Bucks’ star. He ranked in the 88th percentile for points per possession on cuts last season, and they made up a higher frequency of his plays (14%) than anyone else on the Bucks roster. That’s imperative for a team built around needing its star to have the ball. It also means Pat isn’t a guy who will necessary create for himself or others. He’s a complementary offensive piece, of which the Bucks have plenty, and he was massive in the Celtics series last year. You could also clearly see his limitations in the Raptors series.

He seems like a capable defender, not a spectacular one. He’s jump-happy, looking for the highlight block too often when recovering to players and is prone to get blown by afterwards. Given his prominence in the Bucks’ Playoff run, it’s no surprising to see him rank so highly or expect him to get decent minutes off the bench. His contract certainly helps him in this exercise as well. What criteria Bud uses to determine the guard rotation remains one of the more intriguing questions going into this season. He seemed happy to shuffle the deck, but I could see Pat getting buried a bit at different points if Bud leans on Korver or Sterling/Donte emerge with improved games and versatile skill sets Connaughton can’t provide. Here’s a link to yesterday’s full results.

Click here to vote for the next least valuable Buck

2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking

7. Pat Connaughton

8. Robin Lopez

9. Kyle Korver

10. Sterling Brown

11. D.J. Wilson

12. Ersan Ilyasova

13. Donte DiVincenzo

14. Dragan Bender

15. Thanasis Antetokounmpo