One Team, One Stat: Milwaukee Bucks leaning on NBA's biggest point guard
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the league’s biggest point guard.
The Milwaukee Bucks were almost six points per 100 possessions better with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing point guard last season than they were with Antetokounmpo on the floor with a more traditional point guard.
More traditional point guard = Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis or Greivis Vasquez.
The Bucks’ third most-used lineup was Antetokounmpo, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe, a unit which outscored its opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions. When four of those five guys were on the floor with one of the three point guards listed above, the Bucks were outscored by 5.7 points per 100 possessions, particularly worse defensively.
But the biggest difference in the minutes where Antetokounmpo played point guard vs. those with one of the other point guards on the floor was mostly on offense, where the Bucks shot better and more often from 3-point range. An extra wing was an extra shooter.
Jerryd Bayless was one of the Bucks’ two decent shooters last season and was on the floor for 59 percent of Antetokounmpo’s minutes at point guard, but for just 21 percent of Antetokounmpo’s other minutes. Middleton, the Bucks’ other decent shooter, was on the floor for 83 percent of Antetokounmpo’s minutes at point guard.
Note: Some may call Bayless a point guard. That’s up to interpretation. When they were on the floor together, Antetokounmpo assisted on a higher percentage of teammates’ buckets.
Antetokounmpo, himself, has made just 35 threes over the last two seasons. Playing him off the ball in half-court situations hurts your spacing. No matter where he plays, both he and Jabari Parker will have to improve from the perimeter for the Bucks to to not rank in the bottom five offensively this season.
They ranked last in 3-pointers made and attempted last season, Bayless is now in Philadelphia, and Middleton is out six months after tearing his hamstring in September.
The Bucks have added Mirza Teletovic, a stretch four who ranked second (behind Stephen Curry) in made threes per 36 minutes among players who logged at least 1,000 minutes last season. And the more important addition may be Matthew Dellavedova.
The former Cav is a nominal point guard and a solid pick-and-roll passer, but was also one of the league’s best 3-point shooters off the catch last season. Dellavedova was one of six players to shoot better than 45 percent on at least 150 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts. He had an effective field goal percentage of 69.0 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers and 38.1 percent on pull-up jumpers. That was the second biggest difference among players with at least 100 attempts of each.
Antetokounmpo and Dellavedova should complement each other well, with the Bucks’ new point guard allowing the 6-11 guy to continue to be a playmaker.
10 MORE BUCKS NOTES
Went from 29th in defensive efficiency in 2013-14 to second in ’14-15 (biggest improvement in 17 years). Then dropped from second to 22nd last season (league’s biggest regression).
Have been a below-average offensive team in eight of the last nine seasons, with the only exception being the 2011-12, lockout-shortened season.
40.1 percent of their shots came from the restricted area, the highest rate in the league.
36.4 percent of their opponents’ shots came from the restricted area, the highest opponent rate in the league.
According to SportVU, 61.6 percent of their opponent jump shots were catch-and-shoot, the highest rate in the league.
One good note on the Bucks defense: 18.1 percent of their opponent shots come in the final six seconds of the shot clock, the second highest rate in the league (behind only Houston). League-wide, effective field goal percentage was only 42.9 percent in the last six seconds of the clock.
Were a bottom-six defensive team in the first quarter (28th), the second quarter (25th) and the fourth quarter (25th), but ranked ninth defensively in the third quarter.
Were 14-6 (0.700) when their opponent was playing the second night of a back-to-back and 19-43 (0.306) when their opponent was rested. Only Phoenix had a bigger winning percentage differential in those situations.
They were 12.4 points per 100 possessions better with Middleton on the floor (minus-0.1) than with him on the bench (minus-12.6). That was the 10th biggest on-off NetRtg differential among 265 players who played at least 1,000 minutes last season.
Monroe ranked second in the league with 658 elbow touches, up from 372 in his last season in Detroit.
NBA TV’s Bucks preview premieres at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 15.