Bucks Lead

Maker and Brown Likely to See Increased Roles

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Bucks center John Henson has been dealing with a wrist ailment all season. It was just discovered that he has a torn ligament in his left wrist and will thus miss at least the next three months.

Bucks rookie Donte DiVincenzo is also set to miss at least the next two contests with a quad strain. Donte and John are both big pieces off of Milwaukee’s bench. Their injuries will make for a real test to their depth.

Their Impact

Chicago Tribune

DiVincenzo is averaging 18.1 minutes per game, only behind the starting five and Ersan Ilyasova. Donte is averaging 6.4 points (43% FG, 26% 3Pt, 82% FT), 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game thus far. He has been inconsistent, and has struggled somewhat defensively. Still, he has been a very valuable spark off the bench. He will be missed for at least the next couple games.

Photo: NBA.com

John Henson has really stepped his game up to start this season. He has made 11 three-pointers this season after making just one in his first six seasons. J-Hook is averaging just 13.4 minutes per game, but he has still provided the coveted bench spark. He has been a good shot blocker his whole career, and has been rebounding the ball well. His injury is a pretty big blow to the Bucks, who don’t have a ton of proven depth at the center position.

Who Needs to Step Up?

Without DiVincenzo and Henson, we knew the Bucks would need a big and a guard to step up in their place. For Donte, Pat Connaughton has played almost just as much as him off of the bench, so the options to replace Donte’s minutes if not given to Pat are Sterling Brown and/or Matthew Dellavedova. Two-way players Jaylen Morris and Trevon Duval may also see time in his absence.

Sterling Brown

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports

In the Bucks victory over the Bulls, Sterling played 10 minutes. Sterling is a very good defender. He plays with energy and toughness, and he has very quick hands to intercept passes. He is also a pretty solid all around offensive player. Good jumper, good ball handling, and can finish around the rim. The Jason Kidd/Joe Prunty tandem played him far more than Mike Budenholzer has so far, but expect him to see more minutes for the next few games.

Matthew Dellavedova & Jaylen Morris

Both Delly and Morris played three minutes of garbage time in Friday’s win, whereas Brown played in the rotation for 10 minutes. Still, with both Brogdon & Bledsoe starting still, Dellavedova is the only other point guard on the roster. Expect him to see some minutes over the next few games.

Pat Connaughton

Photo: Morry Gash, Associated Press

Pat Connaughton played five minutes more than he normally has on Friday. Connaughton and Brown are seeing increased minutes, and that is likely to continue. Pat has already been playing a good amount – almost the identical amount of minutes per game as Donte, but expect his playing time and impact to go up even more these next few games, and even after Donte is healthy.

For Henson

Henson’s injury is obviously much more severe and long term, so filling his void will be much harder. The Bucks also have less depth at the center position. The choices to fill this hole are obvious – Thon Maker and Christian Wood.

Thon Maker

In the game against the Bulls, Thon played 17 minutes– more than Henson’s per game average. He made a big impact with nine points, three blocks and a big block on Zach LaVine. He is likely going to take most if not all of John Henson’s minutes and will look to be a big energy boost off of the bench.

Christian Wood

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports

Wood played only at the end of the game with Dellavedova and Morris, so he doesn’t figure to be part of the rotation just yet. Because Henson is expected to miss at least three months, Wood will still likely have to see an increased amount of minutes if Thon and/or Brook have injuries, are in foul trouble or are just playing poorly. Look for Maker and Wood to make big impacts for the next few months.

Thon Maker’s Time to Shine

Because Henson’s injury is so much more severe, Thon will be the biggest beneficiary from the newly available playing time to the reserves. Thon has had so much potential coming these three years in the NBA, but hasn’t seemed to improved a lot; until this year. He is a prolific shot blocker, and very good 3-point shooter and is insanely quick for a man his size. He still certainly has some glaring flaws, however, which include rebounding, poor pass-catching ability, and he hasn’t seemed to fully grow into his body yet.

We have seen what he is capable of though, especially in the last to playoff series against Toronto and Boston.

Maker’s speed, athleticism and shooting ability is perfect for this system under Budenholzer. John Henson’s injury could have just opened a path for Thon Maker to finally have his breakout season as the primary bench center for the Bucks.

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About Nick Niles

I'm Nick Niles! I was born in Green Bay Wisconsin, raised in Appleton Wisconsin, and now I'm back in Green Bay at UW-GB studying Political Science and Public Administration. I have been a huge Bucks fan for as long as I have been alive, and I'm also passionate about writing. Twitter: @Bucks_Deluxe | @Nilesmania

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