Happy Festivus to those who celebrate. Get the pole out of the crawlspace and join me for this airing of grievances (though several of our commenters need no holiday to air theirs at every opportunity!), but avoid bagels. Especially if you know whose hands were in the dough. I got a lot of problems with you Bucks, and now you’re gonna hear about it!
Giannis Antetokounmpo: A+ (last week: C+)
2 GP, 36.8 MPG, .659/.250/.737, 43.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 3.5 TPG, 0.5 SPG, 1.5 BPG
There was no Buck that concerned me more than Giannis after a truly down week. The efficiency is back and then some, with his true shooting rebounding from a mortal 58% to 66.7%. With a couple typical outings between today and Monday, he’s liable to pick up Eastern Conferene Player of the Week honors yet again. Quite a feat of strength. A note to Ben Simmons tonight: stop crying and fight your father!
Jrue Holiday: B (last week: A)
3 GP, 32.7 MPG, .450/.375/.857, 16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 9.0 APG, 3.7 TPG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Surprisingly, he nearly posted a triple-double in Cleveland, despite poor shot selection and rough decision making all evening. On the other hand, against Utah he was a fox, so you don’t know who’s showing up: the good, the bad, or the ugly. Is he a two-face? Guarding Zion Williamson on Monday meant he was in a schvitz for four quarters, though, so we’ll give him a break.
Brook Lopez: A (last week: C+)
3 GP, 29.6 MPG, .641/.467/.625, 20.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.7 TPG, 0.7 SPG, 1.7 BPG
There were two Bucks (that played extended minutes this week, at least) whose true shooting exceeded Giannis’ this week, and Lopez was one of them thanks to a surprisingly quiet 30 points effort in New Orleans that nearly matched Jonas Valanciunas. Assuming a bigger scoring load in Middleton’s absence, he wasn’t quite his usual defensive force this week, but he still has a very high strength-to-weight ratio.
Grayson Allen: B+ (last week: B)
3 GP, 29.0 MPG, .500/.375/.000, 8.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.7 TPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
While he couldn’t convert inside on the Cavs’ top-ranked defense, Allen was 13 of his previous 18 within 5 feet of the rim. In something that’s a little... out there, some still want him to knock off the driving and only take threes. They drove him out of Bayview! Don’t fool yourself, though, because this is one of two meaningful improvements he’s made to his game on the young season, the other being a marked defensive improvement.
Bobby Portis: B+ (last week: A-)
3 GP, 23.9 MPG, .500/.250/1.000, 10.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 TPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Portis came up big again off the bench against the Jazz for perhaps his most prolific double-double (22 and 14), buoying his numbers before two non-factor outings. In reduced minutes, he lacked his typical rebounding prowess or slickness on floaters and hooks. Those sure are pretty when they fall, but perhaps he finds tinsel distracting.
Jevon Carter: D+ (last week: A-)
3 GP, 19.9 MPG, .250/.250/1.000, 4.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 TPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Now more than ever, we’re seeing Carter’s offensive limitations. While I like his involvement as a shooter in the halfcourt, and occasionally he’ll make a fast break three where the massive leg swing of his jump generates enough forward momentum that the ball might sail over the backboard, he needs to stop dribbling so much. Also he's looking off teammates in transition too often. Though I’m becoming doubtful he can actually get the ball to them. He couldn’t make a smooth pass if he had a hot date with a babe... I lost my train of thought.
Pat Connaughton: A- (last week: D+)
3 GP, 19.3 MPG, .500/.545/.500, 8.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.0 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Finally, Connaughton is starting to approximate the production we became used to in recent seasons, especially from behind the arc. Last week, as he rained missed threes upon opponents, he realized there had to be another way. So he took things to the rim more often, and with his success there, found a bit more room to shoot from distance. The result was this shiny shooting line.
MarJon Beauchamp: A (last week: B)
3 GP, 18.5 MPG, .550/.563/1.000, 11.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 TPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.0 BPG
It’s a Festivus miracle! Taking over Middleton’s spot in the starting lineup, the rookie came up big on offense twice this week, while keeping his minutes in a range to where he wouldn’t be overexposed on the defensive end. He’s yet to show much value there, but somehow is now one of the Bucks more reliable shooters, though I’m not expecting this to keep up after entering Saturday’s game 1 of his previous 11 from deep. Mainly, it’s apparent he’s not hurting the Bucks while on the floor, in fact it’s been quite The Opposite.
Joe Ingles: C- (last week: injured)
2 GP, 15.9 MPG, .143/.143/.000, 1.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.5 TPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG
I’m being a bit lenient here with the grade since Ingles hasn’t appeared in an NBA game in nearly 11 months, is 35 years old, and coming off major knee surgery. Let’s give him at least another couple of weeks before making sweeping conclusions about him as a player, please. There might be some bad lighting on the porch.
Wesley Matthews: B (last week: B+)
2 GP, 11.3 MPG, .600/.600/.000, 3.0 PPG, 0.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.3 TPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Even a few defensive shifts in each game on opposing starters are always helpful, as are the threes he’s sinking in such limited playing time. Even if he’s racking up four personals dealing with Zion. In four minutes on Wednesday he recorded zero stats outside of a turnover... that means his line on the box score featured a lot of bagels. Festivus yes, bagels no!
Sandro Mamukelashvili: A (last week: incomplete)
1 GP, 24 MIN, .500/1.000/.000, 3 PTS. 8 REB, 6 AST, 0 TOV, 0 STL, 0 BLK
While it didn’t come via scoring, Mamu jumped into the rotation in Giannis and Middleton’s absence last Saturday with aplomb. The numbers spoke for themselves, but the eye test matched up too. Another Festivus miracle!
George Hill: A- (last week: B)
1 GP, 17 MIN, .750/.500/1.000, 9 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 3 TOV, 1 STL, 0 BLK
Entering Monday, Hill had appeared in literally every game the Bucks played to that point in the season. Before his well-earned night off, he turned in a nice effort off the bench. With Carter’s struggles and a few DNP-CDs, we might yet see him turn in some useful shifts on Christmas Day against Boston’s bigger wings or guards like Marcus Smart. I think you can take him, Georgie!
Mike Budenholzer: B+ (last week: B)
2-1 W-L, 119.4 ORtg (7th), 110.7 DRtg (11th), 8.7 NetRtg (7th)
With Beauchamp’s appearances this week, working around another Middleton absence and Ingles’ return, you won’t find many fans displeased with the rotation. You can forgive folks for being rankled for the Bucks’ ignorance towards Valanciunas in Monday’s first half as he rained down blows upon his opponent, but by golly did that start to pay off once the big Lithuanian became much more muted after half. Sure enough, Zion was a non-factor for much of that contest too. Bud, I find your belief system fascinating.
Incomplete: Serge Ibaka (1 GP, 11 MIN), A.J. Green (1 GP, 4 MIN), Jordan Nwora (1 GP, 4 MIN), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (1 GP, 3 MIN), Khris Middleton (injured)
Milwaukee is even steven two games into their longest road trip of the year, and through this gauntlet of high-profile opponents that began around December 9th in Dallas, they’re 4-3. Their highest-profile matchup of the year beckons at 4pm on Christmas Day at TD Garden, but the hopes of Khrismas are are in doubt, much like Middleton’s status on tonight’s injury report. We’ll wait another week to see what the team has in him and Ingles, at least in the near-term. Until then, can Beauchamp keep this up? Until he pins Kevin Durant, Festivus is not over.
How would you grade the Bucks’ performance this past week?
This poll is closed
What are your individual grades? Let me know in the comments below.