Milwaukee Bucks: Trusting In Miles Plumlee Is Key To Success

Oct 23, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) celebrates a bucket at the end of the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) celebrates a bucket at the end of the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks want to be successful this season while developing their young core. The best way to do that will involve starting Miles Plumlee.

Three players are locked into the Milwaukee Bucks‘ starting lineup to begin this upcoming year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. That leaves two positions still in flux. One of those positions is the center spot, which will likely be occupied by either Greg Monroe or Miles Plumlee.

If you type ‘Milwaukee Bucks Depth Chart’ into Google it gives you about 528,000 results. If you just look at the first page of results you will see 10 links and six of those links will be for sites that you can easily find a depth chart on: ESPN, RealGM, CBS Sports, Rotoworld, Yahoo! Sports, and FOX Sports.

All six of these sites have slight variations in their depth charts. There does seem to be general agreement over the opening day starter at center, however. Greg Monroe is considered the starter by five of the six sites. Only ESPN has a different starter pegged for center, Miles Plumlee. Bucks fans should hope ESPN is right.

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The Bucks won a measly 40.2 percent of their games last year. But with the Plumlord starting they won just as many as they lost, going 7-7. His energy and effort along with his defensive abilities helped the Bucks in ways that Greg Monroe couldn’t. But it wasn’t just the win column where Plumlee benefited the Bucks, the team improved in multiple areas when he was on the floor.

If Plumlee starts then Milwaukee will be able to continue to do what they did so successfully in the final games of last season. Plumlee was a large part of the success of the Point Giannis experiment. Before the All-Star break Miles played in 21 of 54 games, starting three of them, and averaged 9.5 minutes per game. After the All Star break Miles played in all 28 games, starting 11 of them, and he averaged 19.9 minutes per game.

Monroe is known as an elite post scorer and effective rebounder but after the All-Star break when Plumlee was asked to shoulder the load of playing heavy center minutes the Bucks actually improved in points per game, going from 98.1 pre-ASB to 100.8 post-ASB, and stayed the same in rebounds per game, going from 41.7 to 41.6.

Additionally, other aspects of the game ameliorated with the Plumlee injection. Assists per game improved from 22.9 pre-ASB to 23.5 post-ASB, turnovers per game decreased from 15.4 to 14.9, steals per game rose from 7.8 to 9.0, and blocks per game increased from 5.6 to 6.2. While this was happening the team’s plus/minus climbed from -4.7 pre-ASB to -3.1 post-ASB.

It is challenging to parse out exactly what effect Miles had on the post-ASB Bucks and what effect Point Giannis had. It would make sense to claim that the improvement in assists is attributable to Giannis handling the ball but some of the other statistical improvements are up in the air. What can be said with certainty is that Plumlee did things on the court to help the Milwaukee Bucks perform better.

Miles Plumlee is a fantastic fit for Milwaukee’s core trio. Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and Parker are all going to be playmakers next season and beyond. As such, they need a center who can run the court with the young guys, run the pick-and-roll with Giannis, rebound, play defense, and provide energy from time to time. That kind of center will unlock their potential, and that’s the kind of center Miles is.

Here are some cool examples of what post-ASB Plumlee was able to do along with some quick explanations of why it is beneficial to the core’s development.

Giannis, Jabari and Khris are very well-rounded as a trio. They can run, pass, shoot (Khris is great and the other two are improving), handle the ball, and defend the perimeter (Jabari still needs to improve here). What they are not able to do collectively is defend the paint. Giannis can do some of it but he needs support. That’s where Miles comes in.

Here he is rejecting Kevin Durant.

Not letting LeBron James have the easy dunk.

Young players run more than older guys, that much goes without explanation. Milwaukee’s young stars need complementary pieces who will get out and join them during fastbreaks. Plumlee is a fast center who enjoys running the floor.

Look at his ability to get down the court in transition.

Giannis needs a center he can work with in the pick-and-roll. The Greek Freak is superbly dangerous when attacking, and the defense gets focused on him whenever he is moving towards the basket. He needs a pick-and-roll partner who can quickly take advantage of multiple players rotating to stop him. Miles has the know how and the springs to get easy alley-oops in these situations.

Monroe on the other hand is a subpar fit for the style in which the young core can be best utilized. He will steal offensive touches and slow down transition while not contributing much on the defensive end. Monroe is a very good basketball player and a much better all around player than Plumlee, but he is a much worse fit for the Bucks.

Fit is extremely important in the sports world today. It is what makes a lesser player a vital piece to a team’s plans. The Milwaukee Bucks have a young core in place that they think will own the future. They need to cultivate that group’s talents with players that will help them grow. As talented as Greg Monroe is he won’t do that in the same way that Miles Plumlee can.

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If Milwaukee chooses to bench Monroe then the team will play better. Bucks fans will rejoice and cast aside their false idols, gods, and worn out Michael Redd jerseys. Worshiping the Plumlord will restore everyone’s faith in the franchise.