We've played about 20 games, so figure it's as good a time as any to look at performance and roster make-up and suggest a few things:
- In a lot of ways, it's almost a fool's errand to assess this team after the first 19 games, because what the "team" has consisted of has been so fluid and inconsistent. Won't look up the stats, but you know as well as I do that we've had starters out for significant stretches at a time. In fact, starting center Lopez and last year's starting 2-guard DiVincenzo are still out. So proceed cautiously when making judgements about what this team is and what we need based on the first quarter of play alone....But....that might be a point worth considering. This team, particularly when it's missing Lopez, goes from an above average rebounding and defending team to something considerably worse. We really have pretty poor depth when Splash Mountain is out. In recent games, Portis has stepped up admirably into the starting 5 role, but he's a below average defender and rebounder, and it still leaves us with basically nothing after him. In fact, outside of Brook, Giannis, and Bobby, we don't have a single playable guy taller than 6'8 (Mamu is not playable). That's a bit concerning to me.
- PJ Tucker's departure doesn't really hurt us right now, but it might come playoff time. Even with all our starters at 100%, there is a hole on this roster, and it's your 3&D style stopper, a guy who is extremely switchable, plays lock down defense, and isn't a complete waste of space on offense. The kind of person who can at least challenge a Durant or a Leonard or a Lebron (Khris could do alright, but think we benefit from not forcing him to take that assignment). I don't think Tucker was that great, but he did play a valuable role, and I don't see his replacement on our team. Semi ***maybe*** could do something like it, and in limited minutes I've been impressed by his strength and his ability to guard taller guys, but at 109, he actually has one of the worst defensive ratings on the team--he looks like Tucker, but plays with nowhere near the same level of intensity, and I don't think any of us would remotely trust him to step up in the limelight of the NBA Playoffs.
- That being said, the Bucks have something like an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt. Grayson Allen is playing lights out, and he is clearly a starting caliber 2-guard. Conaughton continues to elevate his game, and although he's somewhat of a liability on defense, he is becoming lethal from 3, in addition to bringing that glue-guy kind of vibe. Hill is a serviceable backup PG. Nwora doesn't seem to be ready to seriously crack the play-off rotation, but his scoring ability remains intriguing. And we have yet to mention the typical starting backcourt, Jrue, Khris, and the injured Donte. Suffice it to say, we have more playable guys on the roster at the 2/3 spot then we have minutes to give out, especially when Donte comes back and when we get into the playoffs.
- TL:DR: we have a surplus of backcourt pieces, but some weaknesses in the frontcourt. We should be savvy and try to address this through free agency and trades. Donte/Nwora are definitely tradeable assets, and if one of them brings in a 3&D type who can fill that "Tucker" role, then make the move. A decent-enough veteran center (Boogie Cousins?) who can simply provide rebounding and an inside defensive presence could probably be found in free agency.