Bucks Lead

Mirotic Brings Big Boost to Bucks’ Bench

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The Chicago Bulls had a problem. Dennis Krause observed on a broadcast last season that with the team trying to tank, Nikola Mirotic was playing too well. Thankfully, playing too well isn’t a problem for the Bucks this season (although it is for opponents). That’s why Milwaukee’s surrender of Thon Maker and four second-round picks is a small price for a solid player. The Bucks may have few issues now, but the addition of a solid role player will aid the franchise greatly when fatigue threatens in the playoffs.

NEEDED MIROTIC MINUTES

Mirotic’s numbers don’t seem extraordinary at first. He’s never had a season +/- over three (although he’s played for mostly poor teams). But he’s started 22 games this season and scores a solid 16.7 points in 28.9 minutes. Think: that’s easily 25 quality minutes Milwaukee can count on if injuries or poor play bedevil others. So hopefully we won’t have to worry about a 20-point setback to lowly Orlando should Giannis need a breather, or a sure loss if threes won’t fall in tough cities such as Indianapolis or Miami. Better still, Mirotic appears genuinely excited to play for a winner. His first action Thursday was giving “warmest thanks” to New Orleans, calling a trip to the second round “fantastic”. (Then just wait for June!)

Just 17 minutes later, his excellent time in Milwaukee began.

EXCITEMENT OF BETTER FRANCHISE

While Mirotic awaits a return from a calf injury his anticipation is continuously increasing. In an interview, he stated he’s “feeling very comfortable with my teammates and coaching staff” and says joining the Bucks “is just a blessing”.

A week before his injury, Mirotic proved he can play against the best. He scored 21 points in just 10 minutes in a near-miss in Oakland.

BUCKS TRADE BANDITS?

The true brilliance of the trade is Milwaukee gave up virtually nothing. Thon Maker wasn’t playing anyways, and the Bucks will gladly forsake several lower picks for one shot at finals immortality. So welcome to Milwaukee Mirotic, and hopefully the blessings extend through five months.

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About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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