Milwaukee Bucks: 3 most surprising players from first month of the season

Jan 21, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Nick Monroe/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Nick Monroe/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Pat Connaughton
Jan 21, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Nick Monroe/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

One month into the 2020-21 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks have unquestionably endured their share of ups and downs early on.

Following consecutive losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, the Bucks are stuck focusing on the negatives at this point. These were two “measuring stick” games early in the season for this reshaped Milwaukee team, and it undoubtedly stings to have lost both in a matter of days.

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Still, despite losing back-to-back contests, they remain in third place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 9-6 overall record. Chemistry is still budding for this retooled roster, and it has been clear to see that players are still looking for their niche among the rest of the Bucks.

The starting lineup has lived up to expectations thus far, particularly Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, who look like the All-Star tandem that they are. That is not to discredit their new backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Donte DiVincenzo, who are putting on a two-way showcase nightly with their high-end play on both ends. Lastly, Brook Lopez has stumbled compared to his last two seasons, but he is still making a solid impact for this team with his shooting and defense.

There have been few surprises in the starting lineup, but the reserves have provided many, both welcoming and questioning. With that being said, here are three members of the Milwaukee Bucks that have been surprising one month into the season.

Milwaukee Bucks: 3 most surprising players – Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Thanasis Antetokounmpo rarely played for the Bucks last season and served as their designated high-energy guy on the sidelines and occasional fill-in when necessary. The swingman logged 129 minutes across just 20 appearances throughout the 2019-20 campaign and barely saw any on-court action when it mattered.

However, Thanasis has been a staple in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation in the early going this season. In fact, throughout the 13 games that he has played this year, Thanasis has already surpassed his total time on the court from last season that currently sits at 130 minutes. In his 10 minutes per game, the 28-year-old is averaging 2.6 points while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor, along with proving that energetic hustle that has been synonymous with his name.

While the stats are not the most eye-catching, it has been a surprise to see the elder Antetokounmpo play such a prominent role in the rotation this season. Although his minutes are scattered, he has been a recurring name to see valuable minutes on the floor. Perhaps the bigger story is who he could be taking minutes away from, however.