NBA

Ranking the Milwaukee Bucks roster: Our 7-9, role players

ADVERTISEMENT

The Milwaukee Bucks have the luxury of having a full roster of (mostly) proven veterans who can get the job done in the regular season and playoffs.

Some questions remain, especially with this trio of players who will play significant roles throughout the year.

Jevon Carter, Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton are next on our Bucks rankings and they enter the 2022-23 season with a wide variety of playoff experience under their belts. Let’s see how they plan for the upcoming season.

9: Jevon Carter

Jersey No. 5; 6-1, 200 pounds, guard

Jevon Carter was an emerging player after the Bucks signed him late in the season. His bulldog mentality stalked opposing point guards 94 feet from the basket and set the defensive tone that Mike Budenholzer wanted at the offensive end. He was also shooting enough from behind the arc – 55.8% (!) – to ensure he was useful in attack. Then George Hill came back and Budenholzer forgot about Carter, burying him on the bench.

The decision sparked intense anger from fans on social media and even inspired some to take out the “Fire Bud” hashtags a year after helping his team win the NBA Finals.

Spending an entire offseason with the Bucks will help Carter endear himself to Budenholzer better and get into his good graces. That and an aging, injured Hill coming off one of his worst professional seasons. If Carter can keep his three-point percentage in the 38-39 percent range, he’ll be useful enough on offense to keep his man from spending all of his time in the lane helping the defense. And you know his defense is going nowhere.

8: Grayson Allen

Jersey No. Seven; 6-4, 198 pounds, guard

Grayson Allen was acquired last summer as an insurance policy for an apparently still ill Donte DiVincenzo. And what a move it turned out to be!

Allen was by no means spectacular, but had a rock-marking career year and was a great fit for the Bucks’ starting lineup. He finished the 2021-22 season scoring 11.1 points per game, with an effective field goal percentage of 58.8% and 40.9% from downtown (all career highs). He was the starting unit’s fifth option, allowing him to orbit around the perimeter and knock down shots when his opponent helped too much. Milwaukee needed his ability to play with the ball considering how long Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo have spent with them.

Allen’s playoff run was more volatile, but that was due to his increased role when Middleton was injured in the first round. He doesn’t need to do so much on offense when everyone is healthy. Hopefully that’s the case this season, which should see him thrive as the No. 5 starter once again.

7: Pat Connaughton

Jersey No. 24; 6-5, 209 lbs, winger

The turn Pat Connaughton has made since arriving in Milwaukee from a heel to a fan favorite is nothing short of spectacular. And it’s all down to his hard work on the basketball court.

Over the years, he’s become a multi-position defender who can leverage his athleticism and size to defend a position up or down. Do not mistake yourself; he’s not an elite defender who can play three different positions. He can, however, pass on the fly and hold his own when guarding faster or stronger players.

His attack has also evolved over time. His identity was that of a race and dunk man; someone who would use their supreme athleticism to dart over the rim and throw one down. However, he transformed into an above-average three-point shooter and increased his accuracy every year in Milwaukee. He hit 39.5% last season (even adding a high-catch, high-release shot to his repertoire), and there’s no reason to think he can’t repeat that success. At this point in his career, Connaughton is a proven 82-game, 16-game player, locking his role on the Bucks.

ADVERTISEMENT