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: Torrey Craig, New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson
Dec 18, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) /

Milwaukee Bucks: 3 most surprising players – Torrey Craig

When the Bucks signed Torrey Craig for the veteran minimum this offseason, it appeared to be one of the more under-the-radar acquisitions in all of free agency. Craig had built up a well-earned reputation as a tenacious wing defender throughout his first three years in the NBA, and that would make him valuable for this Milwaukee team.

However, Craig has logged just 13 minutes in two appearances with the Bucks, all of which came in fourth-quarter blowouts. Unfortunately, Craig suffered a broken nose in those limited minutes and underwent surgery before missing the next two weeks to complicate his place in the rotation further. The rugged defender was cleared to return ahead of last Friday’s matchup against the Dallas Mavericks but did not see any action in those three contests.

Having faced several of the league’s premier stars in Luka Dončić, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and LeBron James, the Bucks could have used a defender of Craig’s stature in slowing them down.

This was beyond evident in Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, where LeBron scored a season-high 34 points, to which the Bucks had no answer. Before the game, The Athletic’s Eric Nehm asked Mike Budenholer about Craig’s minimal minutes, which prompted this response:

This has been another controversial decision by Budenholzer, particularly as teams continuing torching the Milwaukee Bucks from beyond the perimeter. Now, Craig is not a perfect fit by any means, especially on the offensive end.  Craig is just a 32 percent shooter from long-range for his career, and that makes him an awkward fit for this team that depends heavily on floor spacing.

However, this team needs the defensive prowess that he brings to the table, and he is waiting for the opportunity to hear his name called. Craig has not been a surprise for what he has done on the court with the Bucks, but because he is yet to receive a genuine opportunity with the team.