Milwaukee Bucks: What Is The Ideal Point Guard Style?


What is it that the Milwaukee Bucks really want from their ideal point guard?

It’s undoubtedly the biggest question facing the Milwaukee Bucks right now and it’s no secret to anyone following the team and/or the NBA. It constantly sparks debate among all of us Bucks fans on a nearly nightly basis and almost everyone’s answer is different.

The question: What is the perfect point guard style for this Bucks team?

It’s a question that feels all too familiar to Bucks fans as the point guard position has been a very uncertain one at many times throughout the life of the franchise.

Dec 9, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo (3) shoots during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Clippers won 109-95. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

What makes it feel even more familiar is the fact that the team has the necessary building blocks for the right type of point guard to thrive alongside.

Do they have a rangy, athletic forward that looks to be a jack of all trades-type player?  Check.

A solid two-way player who happens to be a dead-eye shooter from all areas of the court? Yep.

A promising forward who projects to be a very versatile scorer?  You betcha.

A bruising low post presence who’s also a double-double machine?  Got it.

On paper, you couldn’t ask for much more to work with if you’re a point guard in the traditional sense.  But do those type of point guards still exist in the modern NBA?

Much has been made about how we’re living in the golden age of the point guard and whether you agree with that or not, there’s no doubt that the point guard position has significantly changed over the last ten years.

Rarely, do you see many starting point guards around the league who are low-usage distributors. In fact, only seven point guards who start presently, and have started a majority of their team’s games have a usage rate below the average 20 percent mark, per

Yes, some of those players do still exist around the league but the responsibilities and necessary skills for a quality starting point guard have grown quite significantly.

Which is why the fact that the Bucks are trying to develop (or possibly find, if it eventually comes to that) a point guard who’s more of a throwback in terms of style is equally fascinating and terrifying.

And that leads to the lineup changes recently made by coach Jason Kidd.

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Every Bucks fan would agree that there’s been a distinct difference watching the Bucks operate with Jerryd Bayless and more recently, O.J. Mayo at the point than when Michael Carter-Williams is leading the team.

It’s hard to argue against the changes made since Carter-Williams’ play was pretty abysmal before he was benched, but Carter-Williams has been still playing the same amount of minutes as he was when he was starting.

However, while the change was largely made to get back to the defensive identity that the team built last year, how the offense has operated when Carter-Williams is off the floor has been revealing.

Neither Bayless nor Mayo have exceeded an average usage percentage mark (20 percent) in any of the recent games they’ve started and they’ve initiated the offense quite well, with the primary goal of keeping everyone involved to get their fair share of touches.

Although that sounds like an indictment on Carter-Williams (which some of it is), it’s becoming more and more clear that the ideal lineup heading into the season for the team isn’t at the place that the team is comfortable with moving forward.

That viewpoint was made clear by Kidd this week in a recent article written by the always great Zach Lowe, of

"An all-arms lineup of Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Greg Monroe sounds great, but it features only one reliable 3-point shooter. Can you play that lineup today?“As of right now, no,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd tells in response to that question. “On paper, you say, ‘Wow, that’s a long lineup.’ But who is gonna shoot?”"

Now what Kidd says and does are two very different things, but it’s hard to argue with that logic, even with the Bucks being a below-average perimeter shooting team.

After all, Carter-Williams’ offensive flaws only get more exaggerated in that lineup and if the defense was still producing the kind of results it was before the lineup change, it’d have been hard to justify rolling out that lineup for much more.

Dec 7, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams (5) passes the ball during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 90-88. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Therefore, how long this experiment lasts becomes a very curious thing.

Carter-Williams’ recent role has largely resembled the one Kidd carved out for Shaun Livingston in his lone year as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, but the same problems still exist (Carter-Williams’ passing problems/lack of spacing/defensive struggles) whether he comes off the bench or not.

And on the flip side, while Mayo and Bayless have done a nice job in the wake of this new role, the likeliness that they’re both long-term options is very much up in the air at this point, given they’re both on expiring deals (same goes for Greivis Vasquez).

All of this isn’t to say that it’s time to pull the plug on Carter-Williams as the long-term starting point guard for this team. Although his performances still fluctuate greatly on a nightly basis, there’s still plenty of time for him to develop into what we all hope is a nice distributing point guard who has plenty of options in his arsenal, and specializes in creating havoc on defense.

But it’s taking more time than the team originally envisioned when they acquired Carter-Williams and the recent developments make that much clearer.

Like prior Bucks teams long before this current one, the building blocks are in place moving forward for the right point guard to flourish.  But the question remains whether the team can find that player in this current age of the NBA.