Let’s put a bow on the regular season with the final (somewhat) weekly edition of the report card. With games on this past Friday and Sunday, here’s a snapshot of how nearly every Buck concluded their successful quest of the East’s top seed over the five tilts that occurred in April. From here on, we’ll grade the Bucks on a round-by-round basis.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: A (last report card: A-)
2 GP, 32.3 MPG, .667/.000/.567, 30.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 8.0 APG, 6.0 TPG, 1.5 SPG, 2.0 BPG
A pretty nice way to end an MVP-worthy campaign, outdueling the Vegas favorite for the award and racking up one last triple-double. Giannis seems to be in as good a place as he can be health-wise, with up to two months ahead that will necessitate (continuing to be) being the best player alive in order to capture another chip.
Khris Middleton: B (last report card: B-)
2 GP, 20.1 MPG, .353/.333/1.000, 9.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Solid against the Sixers, Middleton checked out early versus the Bulls with what by all indications was a precautionary measure. He’s been limited in practice so far this week, but it seems likely he’ll be a go during the first round, if not from the jump on Sunday.
Jrue Holiday: A (last report card: B)
3 GP, 33.7 MPG, .551/.444/.667, 21.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 9.3 APG, 3.7 TPG, 2.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
A nominee for Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Holiday made one last push for an All-NBA spot with big two-way efforts on back-to-back nights. He completely shut down Zach LaVine while flirting with a triple-double just as he did the evening prior, and bottled up James Harden a few days prior. A facsimile of any of these performances will do just fine during the series to come.
Brook Lopez: A (last report card: B)
3 GP, 32.7 MPG, .628/.455/.800, 22.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.3 SPG, 2.0 BPG
Another huge two-way week from a Buck—in the frontcourt this time—Lopez just finished his highest-scoring season since his final year in Brooklyn back in 2017, with a career-best 37.4% from deep to boot. He helped keep Embiid pretty far from the rim and dialed it up on Nikola Vucevic after his hot start, earning a few days off with those key contributions to sealing the one seed.
Grayson Allen: C+ (last report card: B-)
1 GP, 20 MIN, .333/.000/.000, 2 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 TOV, 0 STL, 0 BLK
Not getting much outside of some early rebounds before spraining his ankle two Sundays ago, Allen is also limited in this week’s practices to date but should be on the floor in round one, and I won’t be shocked if it’s in the first game or two.
Bobby Portis: A (last report card: B)
4 GP, 28.4 MPG, .500/.600/.636, 20.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG
The reigning East Player of the Week, Portis upped his season three-point percentage over two points last week from 34.9% to 37%. He hasn’t shot the three-ball well in the postseason since the 2021 Finals, so this hot streak comes at a good time. With double-doubles number 37 and 38 on Tuesday and Wednesday, he finishes the year ninth in the league, one double-double behind Embiid.
Joe Ingles: A (last report card: C)
4 GP, 22.5 MPG, .526/.500/.000, 7.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.8 TPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Also getting back on a three-point binge is Ingles, whose stroke went out like a lamb in March, but still shot over 50% on the month. A career 39.2% outside shooter in the postseason, will he help Milwaukee break its years-long propensity to go cold from deep in the playoffs? Shooting won’t be what keeps Ingles in or out of the lineup, given his facilitation prowess, but it sure could go a long way.
Jae Crowder: A (last report card: D)
5 GP, 21.2 MPG, .489/.524/1.000, 11.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.4 TPG, 1.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Man, the role players really finished the year strong from downtown. Crowder is famously streaky with his shot, but Bucks fans know all too well just how scorching he can get over a series or two. We’ll see if that comes to pass, but the most encouraging part of these five contests isn’t his offense, despite that big third quarter in Washington. It’s how well he held up on the smaller and quicker James Harden, switching with Holiday to handcuff the Sixer star across 34 minutes. I didn’t expect this, thinking he always fares better with larger and more physical marks. Now I’m more confident with him seeing heavier playing time in matchups beyond the Celtics.
Jevon Carter: A- (last report card: B)
4 GP, 23.7 MPG, .393/.474/.000, 7.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 0.8 TPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Keeping the theme of great outside shooting going, Carter kept hitting his transition pull-ups while pitching in on the Philly and Chicago guards. He actually missed his first and only game of the season in Washington on Tuesday but turned in a great outing back home the following night. Carter played the Bulls very well the last two times out, so he might be licking his chops if they can play their way into the first round.
Wesley Matthews: A- (last report card: C)
5 GP, 18.0 MPG, .412/.333/.750, 4.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.2 TPG, 0.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
His lockdown of notorious Buck killer DeMar DeRozan was somewhat legendary, but Matthews also had some very nice and eyebrow-raising finishes around the rim in that one too. In the back-to-back, he played thirty minutes in each after not appearing to face the Sixers. This all makes me believe he’s ready for whatever action the Bucks will need him for between now and June.
Goran Dragic: B- (last report card: B+)
4 GP, 15.5 MPG, .393/.308/1.000, 7.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Alright, we’ve reached the deep bench, so let’s rip through these guys who are likely making their last appearance in the report card. Dragic shot it a little bit in those last two, that’s nice!
MarJon Beauchamp: B (last report card: B+)
5 GP, 17.7 MPG, .346/.375/1.000, 5.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 TPG, 0.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG
The rookie’s season ended with some heavy minutes—43 last Friday!—and serviceable offense. Beauchamp stuffed the stat sheet with a 13/6/4/2/2 line in that Memphis loss.
Meyers Leonard: B (last report card: injured)
3 GP, 21.0 MPG, .400/.250/1.000, 6.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 1.3 TPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG
With 10 and 12 on Friday, Leonard notched his first double-double since February 1, 2020. Anything of note happen since then?
Thanasis Antetokounmpo: A- (last report card: B)
4 GP, 17.1 MPG, .526/.000/.600, 6.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.3 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Hey look, Thanasis scored 26 points over the last two of the regular season! In 38 minutes on Friday, he was only whistled three times! That’s honestly huge, and bumps him up into the A range.
AJ Green: C+ (last report card: B)
2 GP, 12.4 MPG, .222/.250/.000, 3.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.0 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Too bad some foot soreness took him out of the Memphis contest and held him out on Sunday, I would have enjoyed seeing Green hit a few more triples this season. As a two-way player, we’ve seen the last of him on the court until summer league.
Lindell Wigginton: A (last report card: incomplete)
2 GP, 34.2 MPG, .551/.444/.667, 21.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.0 APG, 5.0 TPG, 0.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Love seeing Wigginton rack up a huge 25/11/5, matching or setting new career highs in all categories. His two-way deal covers two seasons, so this hopefully won’t be the last time we see him as a Buck in non-exhibition action.
Mike Budenholzer: A (last report card: B)
3-2 W-L, 115.7 ORtg (15th), 116.6 DRtg (20th), -0.9 NetRtg (19th)
Forget about the numbers above, here are their ratings last week before the top seed was secured: 121.1 (5th), 109.5 (4th), 11.6 (2nd). The ultimate test lies ahead, but Bud’s regular season will earn him some down-ballot support for Coach of the Year, and it would be well-deserved. He’s now helmed Milwaukee to the NBA’s best record in three of his five years, plus that title. A five-year mission even James T. Kirk would be proud of.
Incomplete: Pat Connaughton (2 GP, 7 MIN)
We’ll know in a little over 48 hours if the Heat, Bulls, or Raptors receive the honor of battling the Bucks in round one. While I’m not necessarily predicting a cakewalk series victory for Milwaukee, I don’t see any of them pushing the series beyond five. The stakes are low enough that Bud can ease the likes of Middleton, Allen, and Counnaughton back into the rotation as needed, plus keep the healthy guys’ minutes low. Overall, the Bucks are in good shape to be peaking late in the second round and into the conference finals, even with the injuries. Thanks to a favorable draw through the first two rounds, I don’t see myself panicking any time soon.
How would you grade the Bucks’ performance in their final five games?
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What are your individual grades? Let me know in the comments below.