Milwaukee Bucks: Reserve trio making substantial impact off bench

Jan 11, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Several things have stood out for the Milwaukee Bucks early this season, but the impact that their bench has had is among the most apparent.

The Milwaukee Bucks have managed to earn a 7-4 record throughout the first 11 games, and their bench has been a hot topic of discussion.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer has not been shy about testing his depth, but several players have undoubtedly stood out, particularly three of the newest additions. This trio has been fantastic off the bench in the early going this season, and their numbers prove it.

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Bobby Portis has served as Milwaukee’s sixth man this season, and the big man has provided an immeasurable dose of intensity and the statistics to back it up.

In the team’s seven victories this season, Portis has averaged 13.9 points while shooting 60.3 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from behind the arc, providing an essential spark off the bench. However, he has been significantly worse in the Bucks’ four losses, averaging just 8.3 points on 13-for-28 from the field (46.4 percent) and is just 2-for-4 on shots from 3-point range.

He is not alone, as Bryn Forbes finds himself in the exact situation. For the most part, Forbes has been excellent when Milwaukee wins, averaging 10 points with a 47 percent field goal percentage while shooting an impressive 47.4 percent from deep.

The sharpshooter has been a snug fit in Budenholzer’s let it fly offense when he is knocking down shots, but that has not always been the case. In losses this season, Forbes is averaging just 3.8 points on 6-for-20 shooting from the field (30 percent) and 2-for-11 from three (18.2 percent).

Lastly, the differences between D.J. Augustin’s play has been highlighted throughout his first 10 games with the Bucks. The veteran point guard has averaged 7.9 points on 45.9 percent field goal shooting and 48 percent 3-point shooting in wins, which is still considered struggling for his typical standards. Conversely, Augustin has been a horrorshow in defeats as he’s averaging 1.7 points and is 1-for-15 from the field (6.7 percent) and 1-for-10 from downtown.

These numbers showcase how crucial the play of the second unit will be for the Milwaukee Bucks this season.

The Bucks spared no expense retooling their roster this offseason, and it was because of what players like Forbes, Augustin, and Portis can bring to the table. Early on, these three have shown the substantial impact that they can have on this team, both in the wins and losses Milwaukee has endured.

The most pertinent example of this comes from the Bucks’ 121-99 victory over the Orlando Magic Monday night. This trio scored a combined 42 points off the bench and showcased just how much they can impact a game offensively. These three are not going to score 42 points every night, but they have shown the potential to be special for this team.

Of course, they are not alone either, as Milwaukee’s entire second unit is solid as the team currently ranks 10th in bench points at 38.9 per game. Pat Connaughton, Jordan Nwora, Torrey Craig, and the rest of the reserves are all pieces that can help make this second unit a formidable one across the league, and they have started to become just that.

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Still, it all begins with the play of Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, and D.J. Augustin, who are making their presence felt early for the Milwaukee Bucks.