Reunions can be bittersweet or sugar sweet, and Milwaukee Bucks fans are surely hoping the one between Kyle Korver and Mike Budenholzer trends towards the latter this upcoming season. Despite their long history together back in Atlanta, Korver reunites with Bud in a much different place of his career, still sprinting around screens but with several more years of wear and tear on his legs. After sojourns in Utah and Cleveland, Korver is set to fill the same gunning role he cut his teeth on, except this time accepting passes from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rangy limbs.
His rapid release and storied training regimen have helped him survive well into his 30’s in the league. The ultimate question, and why he likely finished ninth in this exercise, is whether he can survive defensively or produce enough offensive impact to make his defensive deficiencies feel less impactful. The shooting positives are bountiful though.
Beyond the fact he’s a 42% career shooter from deep, he’s more than willing to fire away too. The 3-point revolution has turned his 3-point attempt rate up to 72% this prior season. The former element mean he may be able to knock down more shots than Giannis’ teammates occasionally were able to at points last season, especially in the postseason. The latter means any defender must respect his willingness to shoot at any time. If Bledsoe’s gravity is like Pluto, Korver’s is Jupiter. A flaming ball from behind the arc, that’s Korver’s primary purpose for still clinging to NBA rosters and fits well within the Bud Bucks aesthetic.
With anyone his age, the question about how much they can still offer is valid. Injuries haven’t plagued him much throughout his career, but Bud will surely manage his minutes in such a way to keep him fresh all season long. Amazingly, he was still pulling in 20 minutes per game last season in Utah. I’m fascinated to see what slot in Bud’s rotation he’ll hold. I could fully see him eating into Sterling’s minutes, but potentially getting quite a few load management nights.
Defensively, Korver will be an interesting test case when the games start to matter. He played fewer minutes for the Jazz in their Playoff series and even if his taller build is a boon guarding his position, he can’t chase defenders around the arc like he used to. I can see teams attacking him repeatedly trying to pummel him on off-screens, and for a team whose 2-guard depth was minimal when crunch time hit last year, that could be a big ask.
Then again, this team just needed someone off the bench (Mirotic, for example) to have their shot fall a bit more consistently and they could’ve punched their way to the NBA Finals. It seems Horst believes having more venerable shooters on the team will be just that. For just a veteran minimum deal, that seems like a pretty fine bit of business to have a player like that rated as the 9th most valuable. Here’s a link to the full voting results.
2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking
9. Kyle Korver
10. Sterling Brown
11. D.J. Wilson
12. Ersan Ilyasova
13. Donte DiVincenzo
14. Dragan Bender
15. Thanasis Antetokounmpo