I hope you all had a wonderful holiday time. Whether it was watching sports, spending time with family, or doing whatever was needed to survive, I hope you got to Yesterday in a solid mental space.
It’s a new year, but there hasn’t been much change for our Milwaukee Bucks since we last spoke. The team is still winning, having moments of frustration, and providing entertaining basketball. While the calendar turned, the Bucks end-goal remains the same: Win the whole damn thing.
Let’s sit down and wrap things up one last time this holiday season.
The Week That Was
- Bucks 144, Nets 122 (Clinical Bucks Cuts the Nets)
- Bucks 119, Cavs 111 (Ending the Year in Dramatic Fashion)
- Bucks 113, Pacers 122 (Indiana wins Ballgate Rematch)
I struggled to think of a noticeable trend the last week. We have probably covered the defense enough times to last the rest of the season. I’ve written about Dame and Giannis’ ability to get to the free-throw line and how Milwaukee has found a higher level of play in the clutch year-over-year. But after the loss to the Pacers, I did have one thing I was curious about. Milwaukee’s bench.
I was wondering how much a bench truly matters. In the regular season, reliance is at its highest as a team must rely more on rotation and minute management of starters to maintain long-term success. Once you hit the playoffs, the equilibrium shifts. The postseason isn’t primarily about depth, but rather the quality of the three to four bench players that may make the cut.
For those that have listened to Deer Diaries, fka The Brew Hoop Podcast, (editor’s note: fka The Milwaukee Area Basketball Podcast Hosted By Brew Hoop) you’ll know that Adam, Riley and I routinely think in terms of eight-man rotations. The exercise forces hard choices and tests the waters on the top-end bench players. Are you benching Bobby Portis? Can both Jae Crowder/Pat Connaughton make the cut? Would you gamble with MarJon Beauchamp, Andre Jackson Jr., or AJ Green? Fresh off a game in which the bench contributed a whopping 16 points to the cause, the formulation of who is in and who is out shifts constantly. We’ll be going through our eight-man rotations on the next episode of Deer Diaries and welcome your personal (current!) eight-man rotation in the comments below.
Andre v. MarJon v. The Dynamic Duo
One of the trends I have noticed with Adrian Griffin has been when he goes with his young wing players. In the youthful trio of Green, AJJ, and Beauchamp, Green is clearly the odd man out. For the other two, we have seen their runs wax and wane, often at the expense of the other. In some games, we see MarJon get the opportunity and AJJ primarily on the bench and vice versa. Occasionally, both get run out there together, but those moments are few and far between.
So far this season, AJJ and MarJon have shared the court in 15 games for 79 minutes. Not a huge sample size, and good for only a 108.9 ORTG and a 117.2 DRTG (-8.2 net). But when the two played with Giannis, Dame, and Brook (two games and 15 minutes), the Bucks registered an ORTG of 140.6 and a DRTG of 106.1 for a net rating of 34.6. So, could running the young dynamic wings be a key to unlocking the Bucks’ potential? Probably not, but it is interesting to consider as an option available to Griffin and a fan’s fever dream. Outside of duplicating efforts/fitting in the same rotation role, there hasn’t been a particular reason why AJJ/MJB don’t play on the court together. Perhaps it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
The Week’s Top Play
MarJon Poster?!?! All he needs to do now is dunk off one foot
Ope gonna sneak right past you and dunk it
I.....am still speechless
I feel like if Brook drives past you, that should warrant retirement.
What was the play of the week?
This poll is closed
Brook crossover to a Giannis Alley-oop
Brook drive and dunk
What’s the Vibe?
Me trying to figure out how to have AJJ, MarJon, and AJ Green on the court at the same time.