The Milwaukee Bucks have below-average starting caliber point guards and lots of wings and forwards. Could that lead to some strange lineups?
The Milwaukee Bucks have some pretty decent point guards in Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova. One of them, most likely Brogdon, will start the year as the starting point guard.
That’s all fine and well for a while. Brogdon can start next to Tony Snell, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Thon Maker. Until Jabari Parker comes back, that is. Then things get complicated.
If Jabari is to start games for the Bucks–which, considering how good he is, he likely will–somebody else then needs to leave the starting lineup. Giannis is obviously safe, as is the center, whether that’s Thon or Greg Monroe.
Khris Middleton will likely stay as well, which leaves Brogdon and Tony Snell. Snell has been a bench player in years past with the Chicago Bulls, but he never looked nearly as good then than he did last season with the Bucks, and Milwaukee has committed to pay him an awful lot of money over the next four years.
Conventional logic would be to place Snell on the bench, slide Middleton down to the two and start Jabari as the small forward. What if conventional logic doesn’t result in the best possible lineup here, though?
Brogdon and Monroe played really well together when they came off of the bench last season. What if those two could be reunited in a bench pairing while the Bucks start a lineup with, essentially, five players who are something close to a forward?
Snell, Middleton, Jabari, Giannis, and Thon would make one of the most interesting starting lineups in the NBA. That’s a group that can do everything–Giannis, Jabari and Khris can all serve as playmakers, the group could switch pretty much anything, and that unit shot a combined 37.1 percent from three-point range last season.
The bench would then have the strong combination of Brogdon and Monroe, plus the two rookies, D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown, Dellavedova, and Mirza Teletovic. The biggest problem with the idea is the lack of reserve wing players it’d leave the Bucks.
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Teletovic isn’t fast enough to defend most threes, so one of Wilson or Brown would have to guard those players in bench lineups. The addition of a reserve wing like Thabo Sefolosha or Justin Holiday would really make the Bucks solid if they decided to play a lineup like that one.
As the roster currently sits, it’d take quite a bit of rotation juggling to ensure the Bucks had enough wings to last through games. The smartest play would be to stagger the big three, most likely Giannis and Jabari, so that one of them was always on the floor.
That ensures the Bucks have one wing spot handled at all times, leaving Middleton, Snell, Wilson, and Teletovic to fit in around Giannis and Jabari. The addition of another wing to back up the group would help a lot, but that’s a lineup that might give a lot of teams fits on both ends.
Giannis would be required to step more into a point forward role again if that’s a group the Bucks wanted to experiment with. Considering how Brogdon and Dellavedova tend to be better off the ball than on it anyway, that should be something Milwaukee looks at regardless of the team’s thoughts on an all-wing lineup.