Milwaukee Bucks: Kyle Korver’s career longevity defining 2019-20 season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 28: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As his shooting numbers have increasingly soared as the season has moved along, veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver has carved out a meaningful role for the Milwaukee Bucks this season.

There was much jubilation last July when the Bucks won the mini-Kyle Korver sweepstakes, a move that helped the Bucks continue their summer of veteran-laden additions in free agency.

Bringing on one of the most efficient and prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history to a team that had undergone an overdue 3-point awakening the previous season was a match made in heaven for the two parties.

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And having the link of reuniting with head coach Mike Budenholzer, whom Korver played under during their time with the Atlanta Hawks from 2013-2017, made the decision to come to Milwaukee easier, especially as the 38-year-old weighed retirement during the offseason as he explained during Media Day last September:

"“I think last year was just a challenging year for me and my family, with where we started out, midseason trade, and I think we were just really tired. But I think when it comes down to it, I still love the game a lot and I still feel like I can play. Coming here felt like it was not just a good situation for me to come here and play, be on a good team, but also for my family to be in a good situation.”"

Now, a little past the halfway mark in the 2019-20 season, Korver’s visions of playing in a good situation with Milwaukee have come to pass in his 17th NBA season. The Bucks own the best record at 39-6 and their identity as a quiet, ferocious steamroller mirrors that of the attitude of their extraordinary superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This Bucks team has spent plenty of time developing a cohesive supporting cast that can unlock Antetokounmpo and Korver’s deadeye shooting has made that a natural pairing to boost the already sky-high Bucks. Case in point, Antetokounmpo has assisted 20 of Korver’s 65 triples on the season and the Bucks have outscored their opponents by 5 points per 100 possessions in the 344 minutes they’ve shared the floor together, per

The influence that Korver has had on the Bucks has obviously been felt beyond playing alongside Antetokounmpo and as his shooting percentages have soared as the year has gone on, so has the impact he’s had on the Bucks as a whole.

The former Creighton Bluejay has fully rebounded from his early season shooting slump after he went 15-of-45 from three for the month of November, good for 33.3 percent. That has since ticked up to 43.1 percent on 58 attempts for December to now a blistering 55.6 percent on 27 attempts in January, all of which have brought his total 3-point percentage to 43.3 percent on the season.

As a result of Korver ironing out his shooting stroke, his effective field goal percentage (60.3 percent) for the season is nearing the realm of his peak efficiency, which coincidentally occurred during his first stint under Coach Bud in Atlanta. And Korver ranks in the 98th percentile of shooters in spot up situations where he’s averaging 1.44 points per possession on such opportunities (as a sidenote, fellow veteran and Bucks guard George Hill ranks in the 99th percentile on spot up possessions).

For the season, the Bucks have have outscored opponents by +10.1 points per 100 possessions in the 652 minutes Korver has been on the floor. In January, Korver has the highest offensive rating at 117.5 points per 100 possessions and the second highest net rating of all Bucks players, standing behind fourth-year big man Dragan Bender.

Unsurprisingly, the dynamic shooting threat that Korver has offered and continues to, even in his bit role, has increasingly brought a different dimension to the Bucks’ second-ranked offense by offensive efficiency. He’s doing that while averaging a career-high 78.9 3-point attempt rate, per

Not for nothing, too, but Korver’s hustle and work on the defensive end, through his team defending, has reinforced the idea that he still has plenty left in the tank and can potentially hold up on that side of the ball come playoff time. The Bucks are certainly hoping that’s the case as Korver’s been a crucial part in the Bucks’ wing rotation made up of Donte DiVincenzo, Wesley Matthews and the ever-revolving competition for minutes between Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton.

Between his on-court play and the palpable influence and sway Korver holds within the Bucks’ locker room, the seasoned marksman has checked all of the boxes that the team was hoping he’d bring upon bringing him into the mix on a one-year, veteran minimum deal last summer.

What the future holds beyond this season is a topic that Korver isn’t ready to make a definitive decision on yet, as he addressed in a Q&A with Scott Cacciola of the New York Times last month:

"“It’s a year-by-year thing. There are so many factors that go in to it now. You want to go out on your own terms. You don’t want to go out because your body quit on you or because you broke down and can’t play anymore. And that all sounds really good, but it’s another thing to say, “this is it” — to make that choice. Because that is a thing. This is something you’ve done your whole life. But I have young kids; it’s not like I’m going to stop playing basketball and think my glory days are done. I’m excited about the rest of my life.”"

Next. How Donte DiVincenzo won over Jon Horst pre-draft. dark

There’s still plenty of season left before Korver revisits that question, but his quiet resurgence with the Bucks this season may give him the last remaining honor missing from his lasting career: an NBA championship.