Hey guys, it's Jon here, and this is my fan post article prior to being officially inaugurated into the Brew Hoop writing community, so please give feedback on what I can do to improve (aside from my opinions on the PJ Tucker situation).
The word "semi" has many meanings, such as a semi-truck, a synonym of the word "partly" or "to some extent", and is also the first name of one of the new Bucks for the 2021-22 NBA season. Semi Ojeleye, a four-year veteran from the Boston Celtics, has joined the Milwaukee Bucks on an approximate $1.7 million deal just moments after PJ Tucker left the Bucks (or was sent away according to some fans). And while PJ Tucker was a part of the Bucks' championship and will be missed (only sentimentally for me), I think Semi Ojeleye, to some extent, can replace PJ Tucker. Perhaps even do just as much. That's why I'm calling him "Semi PJ", hence the name of the post.
Look, it's obvious PJ has a much bigger track record in both the regular and postseason, he has played more minutes, and started more games. But, the similarities between Semi and PJ are more than just their size. For instance, PJ is 6 foot 5, 245 pounds where Semi is 6 foot six and 240 pounds. Semi has nicknames that consist of "The Ox", "Thor", "Muscles Jesus", which definitely describe a grit and grind mentality that is similar to PJ. Semi is 10 years younger than PJ, but only has 6 less years of NBA experience. Heck, they were even drafted in nearly identical spots in the draft. PJ went 35th and Semi went 37th.
Now, let's compare stats. I'm not going to compare career totals, but let's look at per 36 minutes since PJ has more than double the amount of minutes played compared to Semi. The link to the stats via basketball reference will be posted at the end of the post. Let's dig in, though, with Semi's numbers coming first always.
Points were 8.5 to 8.8, field goal % was .394 to .419, 3 point % was .349 to .359. Turnovers and fouls favor Semi slightly (remember all of those big fouls against PJ?), where rebounds, assists, blocks and steals favored PJ. Per 100 possessions, offensive rating was 108 to 110, whereas defensive rating was 110 to 109. That's eerily close.
Here is the scouting report on Semi from sportsforecaster.com:
Brings a truly rare mix of explosive athleticism, a great physique, and a high skill level. Super-versatile and efficient, and a good defender: quick and explosive enough to guard most wings and strong enough to battle most big men. A very good shooter who can regularly nail the 3-ball. Also has a nice mid-range game and slashes well.
Doesn't that sound a lot like what PJ brought to the table from a skillset perspective? Celtics fans, who I admit may not be the brightest out there, called him the "Giannis stopper" because he actually contained Giannis somewhat in a few postseason games. He's good at defense, he shoots the three-ball, and will not foul as much as PJ.
I get it though, he doesn't have that leadership quality that PJ brought, he doesn't have anywhere near the NBA experience that PJ has, but he does have postseason experience, has been around the block already, and isn't a selfish player. Plus, the Bucks are returning there other seven best players aside from PJ, all whom now are champions, so I think they will be fine when it comes to leadership. And if not, they can find another veteran later.
On the court, Semi is essentially a "Semi-PJ", and off the court, Giannis will likely step up and take the leadership role to a further degree. The Bucks are covered, and not only that, but Semi is costing the Bucks under two million dollars, whereas PJ would be upwards of 20 and likely much more. With Giannis, Khris, Jrue and Brook easily putting the Bucks over the salary cap and vaulting them into the luxury tax without PJ, I think this solution is more than adequate, to an extent.