A Milwaukee Bucks rotation that utilizes two point guard sets has been somewhat of a wet dream for fans ever since Brandon Jennings dropped a double nickel and Luke Ridnour re-discovered his pull up jumper two years ago.
Now, with a plethora of point guards boasting a variety of skills and a dearth of wing depth (for now), those fantasies have a good chance of becoming reality once Game 1 comes around after Christmas. In the past, coach Scott Skiles has shown a willingness to experiment with a two point guard set, and this boost in overall talent should persuade him to re-hash that unconventional backcourt sometime the near future.
In 2010-11, you had a better chance of watching an Oscar-worthy Adam Sandler movie than seeing double point guard Milwaukee lineup. In fact, 82games.com tracks the top 20 floor units for every team throughout each season, and none of last year’s most-used lineups featured Jennings, Keyon Dooling, or Earl Boykins sharing the floor together.
Skiles spent most of last season managing injury-riddled rotations and trying every lineup combination possible in the hopes that it would break the team’s season long scoring illness, yet a dual point guard lineup never materialized as a stable option because of the players involved.
In 2009-10 Skiles arguably had the most talent to work with at his position in four years of coaching in Milwaukee, and pressed every button as needed throughout that season. A Jennings-Ridnour unit indeed ranks on Milwaukee’s list of its top 20 most used lineups, but both players’ skills, as well as John Salmons’ surging second half, kept them in separate lineups most of the time.
However, the Jennings-Ridnour-Mbah a Moute-Ilyasova-Bogut floor unit only logged a total of 31.1 minutes in total throughout the whole season. The list doesn’t catalog all 3,936 minutes played, but it’s clear Skiles felt Jennings and Ridnour were best utilized separate from each other, and their roles were defined accordingly.
Skiles did use Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour together at times in the 2008-09 season, as Sessions’ ability to create space off the ball complimented Ridnour’s long range. That establishes some precedent as the Bucks begin a season with a backup point guard well-versed in the concept of shared quarterbacking.
Beno Udrih was heavily used in sets featuring Tyreke Evans a season ago in Sacramento, and now he joins a team with a better facilitator and overall shooter in Brandon Jennings. Despite a career low usage rate (16.87) while averaging 30+ minutes, he registered career highs in points (13.7), effective field goal percentage (53.9%), assists (4.9), and assist-to-turnover ratios (2.74).
Udrih’s experience with Evans on the Kings, Skiles’ fearless (and sometimes strange) rotation combos, Milwaukee’s current lack of veteran wing players behind Carlos Delfino and Stephen Jackson, and the Bucks ever-present reputation for scoring least when they need it the most makes the possibility of a Jennings-Udrih backcourt pairing look all the more appetizing.