The regular season is complete. The Bucks failed to make the playoffs, but that will not keep us from handing out some awards for the season that was.
(Note: here are last season’s awards from back when the Bucks had red in their uniforms.)
The Skyhook Award (Best Play)
Last Year’s Winner: Khris Middleton Game-Winner vs. Heat
Shane Larkin is still looking for that pass…
Last year’s ballot for the Skyhook had a number of game-winners and plays that seemed to drastically affect the outcome of games, but this pass-fake-and-dunk from Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the Skyhook Award serves as a perfect illustration of this season.
The most positive memories from this season are not game winners or big plays in the team’s biggest games, but likely the highlights of either Antetokounmpo or Jabari Parker that you found most enjoyable.
This one seems like the most obvious choice because it was the moment Antetokounmpo announced that he IS a point guard and a player that should absolutely terrify the entire league.
The Double Headband Award (Best Performance in a Contract Year)
Last Year’s Winner: Brandon Knight
For much of this year, I thought there was only one candidate for the Double Headband, but a late push from Miles Plumlee made me rethink my position. Unfortunately, he didn’t do quite enough to wrestle the award from Jerryd Bayless.
In the first seven years of his career, Bayless was known as a spot starter who could score in bunches at times, but was never known as a knockdown shooter. In his eighth NBA season, Bayless shot a career-high 43.7 percent from the three point line on a career-high 4.4 three point attempts per game. It turns out Bayless is in the final season of his contract and there has never been a higher demand for three-point shooting leaguewide. Convenient.
The Charlie V Award (Most Egregious Defensive Play)
Last year, Michael Carter-Williams received the Skip to My Lou Award for the most egregious turnover of the season. This year, the focus has been shifted to the other side of the ball as we hand out the Charlie V Award for the most egregious defensive play of the season.
Jabari Parker or Greg Monroe were defending pick and rolls on a majority of the plays on the ballot for this award, but ultimately this clip of Jabari Parker overaggressively pressuring a sideline out of bounds play and ultimately giving up an easy layup is the first ever winner of the Charlie V Award. This is a mistake many players screw up once in sixth grade, get yelled at by their coach, and never screw up again. That hasn’t happened for Parker yet.
MVB (Most Valuable Buck)
Last Year’s Winner: Khris Middleton
There were two candidates for the award last season: Middleton and Antetokounmpo. And, unsurprisingly, those are the only two candidates for the award this season. Last year, I showed this table to help show the case for each player:
Just think about how small those numbers are within the context of players leaguewide and what that says about the success of last year’s team. Without any truly spectacular performances from their top players, last year’s team was able to eek out 41 wins. It was an incredible team effort.
Both players made major improvements this season, drastically increasing their point and assist totals, while also improving in various other areas.
The basic stats above show a very close race, but the advanced statistics once again give a major edge to Middleton. The Bucks scored .1 points per 100 possessions more than their opponents with Middleton on the floor this season and 12.1 points less than their opponents with Middleton off the floor. The Bucks were worse with Antetokounmpo off the floor, but to nowhere near the same extent.
While I would love to side with the statistics, Antetokounmpo’s incredible performance after the All-Star Break gives him the edge. There were certainly some less-inspiring performances among his five triple-doubles in just over 20 games as the Bucks’ point guard, but Antetokounmpo showed exactly what many have hoped for years after the break: His All-Star potential is real and this Bucks team is his for the taking.
What to Read
To own the future, Bucks must manage present – Brew Hoop’s Frank Madden takes a closer look at the roles of Jason Kidd and John Hammond in the the Bucks front office and attempts to understand each executive’s role now and going forward. A wonderful examination of many of the questions Bucks fans likely have for the team.
Subplots from this season, ranked – Bucksketball’s Jeremy Schmidt ranked 13 different subplots of this past season and explained why each one was interesting at one time or another. It’s a thoughtful look back on the season and the things that worried/relieved fans throughout the season.
Wisconsin Center District approves 30-year lease for Bucks’ new arena – This past week, the Bucks signed a 30-year lease on the new area with the Wisconsin District Center. Tom Daykin at the Journal Sentinel breaks down the specifics of the deal, including the harsh penalties for relocating the team during the next 30 years.
Week in Review
Friday – Khris Middleton missed his third straight game and the Boston Celtics easily dispatched Milwaukee in the Bucks’ 124-109 loss, which served as the team’s third straight loss. Tyler Zeller led the Celtics in scoring with 26 points and helped the Celtics blow the game open in the third quarter.
Sunday – After three consecutive losses, Philadelphia seemed like the perfect place to get some confidence and pick up a win, but the Bucks almost screwed that up late as they allowed the Sixers to force overtime. The Bucks held off the Sixers to pick up a 109-108 victory and Middleton returned from his three-game absence with 36 points and nine rebounds.
Monday – Little carried over from the Bucks’ victory over the Sixers the day before and the Bucks went down by 14 points against the Orlando Magic heading into halftime. Eventually, they fell 107-98 to the Magic, despite 23 points from Greg Monroe in just 27 minutes.
Wednesday – The Bucks failed to muster much effort in the final game of the season and lost 97-92 to a Pacers team sitting out George Hill, Paul George, Monta Ellis, and Ian Mahinmi. After one quarter, the Bucks trailed 37-20 and finished of the season with little more than a whimper.
Stats of the Week
.1 – In awarding MVB above, I mentioned Middleton’s .1 Net Rating on the season. He is the team’s only player to finish the season with a positive Net Rating.
23.4 – Before the season, I wrote about possible concerns with the fit of Greg Monroe and how his presence may keep the ball out of the hands of Parker and Antetokounmpo. Monroe ended up leading the team in usage rate at 23.4, but both Parker and Antetokounmpo were able to get their usage rate above 20.
22.2 – The Bucks’ biggest problem this season was defending the three point line. The Bucks gave up 22.2 catch-and-shoot three point attempts per 100 possessions, the league’s highest number (via Seth Partnow). The next closest team (Charlotte) gave up 20.9 attempts and the league-leading Warriors gave up just 15.4 of those attempts per 100 possessions.
Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine’s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can also find his work at SBNation’s Brew Hoop or you can find him on Twitter @eric_nehm and tell him what first round playoff matchup you find least appealing.