Bucks Lead

Connaughton Due For Minutes Bump

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This past summer, Bucks General Manager Jon Horst had several decisions to make.

Should we re-sign Jabari Parker? Who should we take in the draft? Should we entertain any trade offers?

These, among many other things, highlight the daily operations of an NBA offseason.

For the 2018 offseason, Horst brought in several new faces, including head coach Mike Budenholzer, Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova (well, not exactly new, but you get the point), and Donte DiVincenzo.

These were all great additions to last year’s playoff team, but perhaps the most underrated one thus far  was sharpshooter Pat Connaughton.

Unexpected Changes

Inking a two-year contract on August 1st, — with the second year being non-guaranteed — we didn’t exactly expect Connaughton to be a regular contributor right away, especially with the uncertainty of how coach Bud planned to set up his rotations. Sterling Brown, Tony Snell and Matthew Dellavedova all held claims to past reserve rotational tick, but through the first wave of the season, none of that appears to be holding its precedent.

Sterling and Delly have seen their roles diminish almost entirely– and Snell’s minutes have been docked from 27 per contest to 16.

Pat’s Quick Emergence

Though Connaughton didn’t enter the rotation to start the year, he’s made his 16.5 MPG count, averaging 7.7 points (49% FG, 37% 3Pt, 62% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.7 blocks per contest.

His per-36? 16.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.

From the way things have transpired right away, Pat has been battling for minutes with rookie Donte DiVincenzo, who has also provided solid positive returns thus far. Donte has appeared in all 14 games this season, averaging 6.4 points (43% FG, 26% 3Pt, 82% FT), 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 18.1 minutes per game.

In Wednesday night’s game, Donte left the game with an unspecified knee injury and did not return. Because of this, Connaughton would see an extended run, logging 27 minutes. With this extended floor time, Pat posted a season-high 16 points (6-9 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 2-4 FT), six rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.

https://twitter.com/Bucks/status/1062919347314851841

These numbers look good on paper, but let’s break down exactly how effective Pat was.

This play sparked Milwaukee’s surge late in the 3rd quarter. After a Thon Maker rejection, Connaughton scoops up the rebound and immediately hits Eric Bledsoe on the outlet, who then later finds trailer Pat for an open three.

Plays like this really display Pat’s versatility. Both Connaughton and DiVincenzo are athletic and versatile, but Connaughton possesses the experience and basketball IQ that warrants more floor time. Even with a healthy DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton continues to make his case for regular minutes.

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About Eric Peterson

CEO and Content Manager of TLSM. Twitter: @EricTLSM

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