Milwaukee Bucks Preparing For Small Ball Off the Bench?


Training camp is one of the more interesting times of the summer for NBA fans. As excitement for the new season continues to ramp up, camp offers the chance to get a sense of what’s to come from teams in the weeks and months ahead. The only problem is that the work done in training camp can be notoriously difficult to get a look at.

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As teams shape up their strategies and playbooks for the new season, trade secrets are often more closely guarded than ever. Practices are often closed off even to the media, so as the team shapes up for the new season, fans are left to speculate. Luckily for Milwaukee Bucks fans, their team gave them a chance to peer behind the curtain earlier this week.

The Bucks have been hard at work at the University of Wisconsin’s training complex in Madison this week, and on Wednesday they opened up their doors to NBA TV’s cameras as part of the Real Training Camp series.

With the cameras rolling as coach Jason Kidd and his staff got to work, eagle eyed viewers were trying to spot trends or patterns that may indicate how the team sees the rotation shaking out this year, and it seems like they may have seen a clearer picture of it than some would have necessarily anticipated.

There’s little debate over what the starting lineup is going to look like, and with Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe lining up together in many of the drills the team were working on in practice, there’ll be no surprises in that regard.

What really caught the eye was the five players they were lining up against most often, a group who will likely make up the second unit: Greivis Vasquez, Jerryd Bayless, Rashad Vaughn, Chris Copeland and John Henson.

With OJ Mayo not arriving to camp until the following day due to an excused absence, it seems fair to say that the one change to that corps as the first five off the bench would be “Juice” taking the place of the rookie Vaughn.

What’s most striking about that group is that they are small. Particularly in the context of the starting five’s size too. On top of that, they’re not exactly a defensive-minded group either though, so that can create its own challenges.

In conversation with NBA TV’s David Aldridge and Dennis Scott, Coach Kidd revealed the aspirations he has for the roster as a whole, and something that will definitely factor in with a group like that.

"We’re trying to make them basketball players. And we’re trying to get away a little bit from just being a one, or just being a two. We want players who can make plays for one another and I think we have that in our make-up."

That doesn’t mean Kidd won’t occasionally mix it up, and allow some of the younger players to get some run though. In fact, Kidd seems keen to take a look at what his younger reserves can do, and eager for them to learn what the NBA is all about.

"At some point you have to turn to your younger players to step up. They’ve got to go through it, and we feel there’s no better time than now to go through the growing pains of learning what it takes to be a leader in this league."

A Vasquez and Bayless backcourt would certainly be creative and give the Bucks a chance to truly test their opponents defense, even when the starters take a seat.

Kidd loves that versatility, and utilizing two point guards along with OJ Mayo or Rashad Vaughn on the wing, and Chris Copeland stretching things out at the four will give Milwaukee a razor sharp offensive edge.

That will be a new dynamic if and when it plays out, now let’s just hope that group gets some solid work in on defense over the coming weeks.

Next: Milwaukee Bucks: All-Time Greatest 15 Man Roster

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