Milwaukee Bucks: Grades for each starter heading into All-Star break

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, Kelly Olynyk
MIAMI, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks: Grade for Brook Lopez heading into All-Star break

Brook Lopez has played a pivotal role in anchoring the Bucks’ league best defense in each of the previous two seasons. Their drop-back defensive scheme allowed the team to pack the paint to defend the rim efficiently, which helped the big man to thrive defensively.

However, as head coach Mike Budenholzer shifts to a more open-minded philosophy in terms of adjustments defensively, Lopez has found himself in a tough spot. He has been virtually unplayable in certain situations for the Bucks, particularly late in games when everything is on the line.

That was the case in Thursday’s matchup against the Grizzlies, where the Bucks opted to go small for the final 5:31 of the game. With Lopez sidelined, Milwaukee finished the game on a 19-12 run, capped off by Holiday’s game-winning jumper. Lopez has been a spectator down the stretch for several close games this season, and that does bring forth the question of his fit with this team moving forward.

Being surrounded by such talent, Lopez’s stats have taken a dip downward, currently averaging a career-low 10.8 points on .467/.348/.820 shooting splits, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. It certainly does not help on offense that over half of the big man’s shots have come from behind the arc, and he is only connecting on 34.8 percent of them.

In short, Brook Lopez has been having a down year with that Bucks, and it is relatively clear to see. While it seems likely that the team will not go through a seismic shift and trade away their starting center ahead of the upcoming trade deadline, nothing is a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, given how they have fared with him off the floor, it might be something to consider.

BTBP All-Star Break Grade: C