Joyfully, Khris Middleton is back in this column for the first time in over seven months, and the early verdict on his return is positive. While he’s playing a bit more than I anticipated, I suppose since he was recovering from a wrist injury, I should have known his conditioning would be fine. Last week I wondered how Carter would fare on the bench, and that early verdict isn’t as rosy. Some are calling for him to return to the starting lineup, which I don’t think is a bad idea at all, but I suspect those opinions come as much from lingering Allen disdain than genuine appreciation for Carter.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: A+ (last week: A+)
3 GP, 33.7 MPG, .635/.444/.781, 36.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.7 APG, 3.3 TPG, 0.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Since the game he missed was before last Monday, Giannis appears to be in good position to claim some more Eastern Conference Player of the Week hardware with this gaudy stat line... plus look at that shooting!
Khris Middleton: B+ (last week: injured)
3 GP, 27.2 MPG, .364/.313/.875, 12.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Both home games were quite solid, and I think a seven-month layoff warrants looking past Middleton’s stinker in his second game back. I don’t think it’s coincidental that Milwaukee set a new season-high scoring output in his return.
Jrue Holiday: A+ (last week: A)
3 GP, 36.3 MPG, .509/.409/.917, 25.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.3 APG, 3.0 TPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Easily the most prolific week of Holiday’s campaign thus far, taking full advantage of some defensively-lacking Lakers and Kings backcourts. Had a tough cover in the former in LeBron and probably sagged off him a bit too much, but I still think holding The King to under 30 points on 27 shots is worth a pat on the back.
Brook Lopez: A (last week: A)
3 GP, 32.6 MPG, .424/.471/1.000, 14.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 3.3 BPG
Appears to have settled into an ideal complementary role as the fourth option in this Bucks offense. Lopez had a huge individual rebounding week on top of his typical defensive wizardry... with one exception. Struggling to contain Anthony Davis in the drop knocks him down from an A+.
Grayson Allen: A (last week: A+)
3 GP, 27.3 MPG, .500/.417/.000, 8.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
This would be a pretty non-descript week for Allen with typical scoring and shooting numbers, but he gets a bonus for a very strong defensive game on Wednesday, hounding Sacramento’s guards from sideline to sideline. He also found a lot of success on the glass, as his several tip-outs were key to a massive 17-8 edge on the offensive boards in that tilt.
Bobby Portis: B+ (last week: A-)
4 GP, 25.0 MPG, .563/.273/.600, 15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.8 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Some pretty good moonlighting in the starting lineup on the quick southeast road trip, with continued success inside the arc. It might be time to start having some concerns about Portis’ drop in three-point shooting; note that he did not attempt any threes on Wednesday.
Pat Connaughton: C+ (last week: B-)
3 GP, 21.1 MPG, .303/.280/600., 7.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.3 TPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Connaughton’s been back for eight contests now and still has yet to find his stroke from the perimeter. As you’d guess, those shots are indeed making up most of his current diet. While he deserves plenty of leash, the Bucks sure could use some marksmanship off their bench.
Jevon Carter: B (last week: A+)
4 GP, 22.9 MPG, .286/.222/.833, 4.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.5 TPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Some fans—particularly the ones who still have beef with Allen for his Boston series—are alarmed by Carter’s downtick moving to the bench. While Carter was pretty great as a starter, he was overachieving a bit with all the focus on Milwaukee’s truer offensive threats. That doesn’t happen in reserve-heavy units, but the good news is: he still defends big-time.
George Hill: C+ (last week: B+)
4 GP, 16.9 MPG, .417/.250/.000, 2.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Solid in more earnest minutes in Charlotte, very little in similar PT in Orlando. Ended the week with some decent facilitation on Wednesday evening but got switched onto bigger opponents a few times and got beat. Keep him to 10–15 minutes tops and he’ll be fine.
Jordan Nwora: B (last week: D)
2 GP, 25.6 MPG, .643/.667/.333, 11.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.5 TPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Some really good work with the Bucks resting all three stars on Saturday, helping them steal a win from a somewhat equally-matched Hornets squad. Not much versus the Magic when a similar effort would have helped as things tightened up in the fourth.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo: C- (last week: incomplete)
2 GP, 9.6 MPG, .333/.000/.000, 1.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG
First-quarter minutes get you in this column almost by default, so here’s Thanasis with his three boards and a block. I guess he got a bucket too.
Sandro Mamukelashvili: B+ (last week: D+)
3 GP, 13.1 MPG, .417/.429/.500, 4.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.7 TPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Here’s someone who looked a lot more legit in those scrub-heavy matchups. Per-game stats are tough for guys like Mamu because if he didn’t appear for the last 1:18 Wednesday night, he’d have averaged 7 and 6 this week. Go off, big man.
A.J. Green: A (last week: incomplete)
3 GP, 8.4 MPG, .667/.714/1.000, 6.7 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.3 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Oh yes, it’s Green’s first appearance in this column on the heels of two sweet-shooting nights off the bench. I don’t care if the teams stink, he did great! And no, he’s not taking Allen’s spot in the rotation because I’ve seen several people actually suggesting this.
Mike Budenholzer: B+ (last week: A)
3-1 W-L, 116.4 ORtg (4th), 110.2 DRtg (13th), 5.9 NetRtg (7th)
Even before Middleton’s return, Milwaukee’s offense was heading in the right direction, benefitting from an increased focus on ball movement: only Golden State exceeded their 68.2% AST% last week. Drew up an absolute beauty of an ATO for Allen last Friday night—yes, he deserves the opportunity to take that shot after hitting a game-winner two days prior—despite a defensive dropoff in that one. Was not happy with his roster in light of that.
Incomplete: Wesley Matthews (1 GP, 10 MIN), Serge Ibaka (DNP), MarJon Beauchamp (DNP), Joe Ingles (injured)
While Ingles is putting up pre-game shots and practicing with the Herd, his return isn’t imminent enough to worry about rotational implications just yet. With a pretty solid starting unit plus two no-doubt guys off the bench in Portis and Carter (Connaughton isn’t there yet), the general idea seems to be finding a cohesive nine-man regular season group, which shrank from ten for Wednesday’s contest. No one is playing themselves into or out of a spot right now, but there’s little pressure to figure out an eight-man playoff rotation in early December.
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.