What Point Giannis Means for the Bucks’ Future

Coach Jason Kidd said Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the Bucks point guard next season — on offense, but not on defense. What does that mean for the team’s future?

Earlier this week, Jason Kidd announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as the Bucks’ point guard next season. The announcement sent shockwaves through the NBA as national pundits started dreaming up fantasy rosters featuring a seven foot tall point guard and wondering how Antetokounmpo would handle covering the Chris Pauls and Steph Currys of the world.

All of which made it clear that they had listened to the very first part of Kidd’s announcement, but nothing after that.

As Kidd went on, he reiterated something he has been saying for the last month just about anytime someone has put a microphone in his face: Despite handling point guard duties offensively, Antetokounmpo will not be covering point guards on defense.

With that in mind, here is the Bucks hypothetical starting lineup next season (offense/defense):

PG/PF: Antetokounmpo
SG/SF: Khris Middleton
SF/PG: ???
PF/SG: Jabari Parker
C/C: Greg Monroe/John Henson/Miles Plumlee (or other center, if you are adventurous)

Attempting to put positions to the Bucks starting lineup next season might be a bit of a fool’s errand as Jason Kidd has turned the Bucks into some sort of positionless mob of players, but identifying what the team needs from that fifth starter seems like an important exercise. Here are the criteria:

  1. Defend point guards – Kidd has made it clear that Antetokounmpo will not be defending point guards. It also seems fair to suggest that Middleton, Parker, and the Bucks center will also not be doing that next season, which means the Bucks’ fifth starter needs to defend opposing ball handlers.
  2. Effectively shoot threes – Unless the Bucks pull off a trade for some sort of three-point shooting center, there will be three non-shooters in the starting lineup. Thus, any potential fifth starter will also need to be able to shoot threes, an idea Kidd not-so-subtly hinted at when discussing Michael Carter-Williams’ potential role with the Bucks next season.
  3. Playmaking ability – Throughout this season, any time Kidd has discussed Antetokounmpo or Middleton taking on greater offensive responsibilities, he has always brought up the idea that the game becomes easier with more players on the floor that can make a play. So, while this announcement might prevent the Bucks from discussing any more potential deals involving Ricky Rubio, it would be surprising to see the Bucks simply look for a fifth starter that can just shoot threes and play defense.

Finding a player that can do two of those three things is relatively simple. Finding a player that can do two of those three things at an elite level is difficult. Finding a young player that fits in the organization’s timeline that can do two of those three things at an elite level is very difficult. And finding a young player that can do all three is nearly impossible.

So, the Bucks may very well know exactly what they need out of their fifth starter next season. They just might not be able to acquire it.

Clip of the Week

Greivis Vasquez has plenty of flaws as a basketball player, but plays like this one on Wednesday night just make me wonder what kind of impact he could have had on the team had he been healthy at any point this season.

What to Read

Bucks have big decisions ahead – like whether to take a run at Dwight Howard – Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post is writing a postmortem for every team as they get eliminated from the playoffs. This week, he tackled the Bucks season and attempted to figure out what the organization might be up to this offseason.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s jump shot may (or may not) be broken, but will it ever be fixed? – Over at Brew Hoop, I took part in a conversation with Brett Abramczyk about Antetokounmpo’s jump shot. We talked about the current state of his jumper, what we look for in a jumpshot, and ultimately whether or not he actually needs a consistent jumper.

Season Autopsy: Milwaukee Bucks – At BBall Breakdown, Jesse Blanchard dissects the Bucks season. He starts by breaking down the development of Antetokounmpo. Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton and ends with an evaluation of some of the other notable personnel decisions made by Milwaukee in the last year.

Week in Review

Friday – The Bucks were able to keep it close through three quarters, but eventually ended up losing 101-90 against the Hawks. Parker led the team in scoring with 19 points and John Henson added 17 points, ten rebounds, and three blocks in the Bucks’ fourth straight loss.

Saturday – It looked every bit like their fifth game in seven nights. Charlotte ran Milwaukee off the court and beat the Bucks 115-91 with Nicolas Batum lighting the Bucks up for 25 points and posting a +35 in the box score.

Wednesday – Behind some hot shooting from Khris Middleton, the Bucks were able to beat the Suns 105-94 in Brandon Knight’s first game back in Milwaukee since the mid-season trade that sent him to Phoenix.

Next Week’s Preview

Friday – The five-game homestand continues as the Bucks welcome the struggling Orlando Magic to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The reunions will continue as Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova, and Scott Skiles all return to Milwaukee.

Sunday – Things have not gone as planned in Chicago as the Bulls have fallen all the way out of the playoffs and down to the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. Chicago has won two of three games against the Bucks this season and will look to use their fourth matchup against the Bucks to try to stay in the playoff race.

Tuesday – Before heading on the road, the Bucks will play their penultimate home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are mired in controversy like the Bulls as the postseason approaches. The Bucks can split the season series with a win in the teams’ final meeting.

Stats of the Week

175.60 – Much has been made of Khris Middleton running the second greatest distance among all NBA players in games this season with 185.70 miles, but few mention that Giannis Antetokounmpo is just ten miles behind at 175.60 miles, which is good for the league’s 12th highest mark.

39.0 – Opponents have shot just 39 percent at the rim against John Henson since the All-Star Break. Among players that regularly defend shots at the rim, this is the second lowest shooting percentage.

124 – Greivis Vasquez entered Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at the start of the second quarter and quickly put up three assists and two rebounds in four minutes of action. It had been 124 days since he last saw the floor on November 27 against the Magic.

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 about the April Fools’ Day Sports Headline you loved most!