Is Jerryd Bayless the Point Guard the Milwaukee Bucks are Looking for?


Considering how inconsistent Michael Carter-Williams continues to be, could it really be worse to go with Jerryd Bayless in the starting point guard spot for a while?

The Milwaukee Bucks have a problem. Well, considering they’re 6-10, they have a lot of problems. But one in particular has been especially troubling–the often poor play of Michael Carter-Williams.

Without even focusing on his suspect shooting abilities, or the terrible defense the entire team has shown, it’s easy to see MCW has struggled. In five of his eleven played games this season, Carter-Williams has had more turnovers than assists.

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It’s possible to get past the shooting by thinking of it as just part of the growth process for MCW. But by this point, he needs to be a better passer. It’s that simple.

This may only be year three for Carter-Williams, but it’s not as though he’s just 20 like Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s 24. It’s supremely worrying that MCW still does not seem to play the game like a point guard–he doesn’t slow down to think nearly enough, and it hurts the Bucks.

Many calls have been made from all over on Bucks Twitter to either bench or outright trade Carter-Williams somewhere. The main argument against these heated cries is that he’s the best young point guard the Bucks have.

But what if that isn’t true? Tyler Ennis is around too, although he’s likely not quite ready to be a full-time starter just yet. He may be a better option than Michael Carter-Williams right now, but there’s an even better option on the Milwaukee Bucks to run the first unit–Jerryd Bayless.

Before we go into why Bayless should start, let’s play a little game. Guess the point guards based on their per 36 minutes numbers, sorted from youngest to oldest:


Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2015.

Got your guesses in? The answers are, from top to bottom: John Wall, Jerryd Bayless, Mike Conley and George Hill.

Bayless has out-scored Hill, out-shot everyone else on the list from both the field and beyond the arc, gotten more assists than Hill, more rebounds than Conley, and less turnovers than Wall. He’s forced more turnovers than Conley or Hill, and taken less shots than both Conley and Wall.

He may not be clearly better than any of them, but this season Jerryd Bayless has hung around with the likes of John Wall, Mike Conley and George Hill. He’s also younger than both Conley and Hill.

Bayless has had a miracle season that does not seem entirely sustainable. But some level of success would almost certainly come with starting Bayless. It shouldn’t be news to loyal BTBP readers that Jerryd Bayless gets significantly better the more he plays:

"Every single one of Bayless’ advanced stats gets better the more minutes he plays. (the basketball junkie’s easiest way to kill an hour or five) has splits for the minutes a player plays per game: 40+. 30-39, 20-29, 10-19 and 0-9.Bayless’ field goal percentage, three-point percentage, true shooting percentage and offensive rating all increase steadily as his minutes go up with no exceptions. He literally gets better as the game goes on, every time. Like clockwork."

It’s no coincidence that Jerryd Bayless is having a career year in the first season in his career he’s gotten to play 30 minutes per game or more. Bayless has consistently been better the more he’s played throughout his career–imagine what he could do with starter’s minutes.

In that piece from some 40 weeks ago, I also wrote that Bayless should finally get a chance to be a full-time starter, something that he’s never really had the opportunity to do. Mostly because his numbers get better when he starts, much as they do when he plays more minutes in general:

"In fact, the numbers support that Bayless is a much better starter than bench player. When starting, Bayless has a better PER, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, true shooting percentage, and offensive rating. So essentially every advanced stat possible indicates that Bayless plays better when he gets a starting opportunity.One other interesting note: although one would assume these better numbers come from more chances to shoot that’s actually not the case. Bayless’ usage rate (the number of possessions that end as a result of Bayless either shooting or committing a turnover) goes up just 1.1% when he starts….Bayless is a microwave: it’ll take a little time, but eventually he gets hot."

Jerryd “The Microwave” Bayless might actually be Milwaukee’s best option going forward at point guard. Although he’s almost never included in the Young Bucks, Bayless is just 27 years old. He may not be a spring chicken like Giannis or MCW, but Bayless isn’t exactly ancient.

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And considering just how great he’s been this season, why not reward Bayless and really give him something he’s never had before: a starting job. He’s certainly earned it, and lighting a fire under Michael Carter-Williams would be better than letting him go up in flames on the floor yet again.

Bayless might not work out as a starter, and it’s certainly not guaranteed that he’ll keep up this insane production. But he’s at least worth a shot.

Something needs to be done to wake up this Bucks team. Maybe that something is starting Jerryd Bayless