Milwaukee Bucks: 3 players that must step up with Bobby Portis sidelined

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Virginia Cavaliers: Mamadi Diakite

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – JANUARY 11: (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Bucks must dig deep into their bench as they could potentially be without backup power forward Bobby Portis for an extended period of time.

Just before their 122-114 loss to the Boston Celtics Friday night, Portis was pulled out of the lineup as he entered the league’s health and safety protocols. While there has been no confirmation of a positive test just yet, it seems safe to say that the big man will be out of the lineup for at least a few games.

The likelihood of Portis suiting up during Milwaukee’s upcoming six-game Western Conference road trip stands in jeopardy, pending if his results return positive.

For reference, starting guard Jrue Holiday missed 10 games earlier this season with a positive test, and there could be a similar timetable, potentially more for Portis. While no two cases are the same, we are all hoping for a speedy recovery and return to the lineup for the 26-year-old.

Portis assured everyone on Twitter Friday night that he is in good spirits and that he will be back soon, so that is a welcoming sign. In the meantime, the Bucks will have to look elsewhere in the rotation for players to fill in without their leading bench scorer available.

With that said, here are three players that will need to step up for the Bucks until Bobby Portis returns.

Mamadi Diakite must be prepared to step up for the Milwaukee Bucks

With Portis out of the lineup and P.J. Tucker battling through a calf strain, rookie Mamadi Diakite is the only power forward healthy on the roster. The Bucks have not given the 24-year-old much meaningful burn in the rotation this season, but these circumstances could give him a legit shot.

The big man is coming off a very productive 12 game stint in the G League bubble recently by averaging 18.5 points on .580/.500/.750 shooting, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, and 2 assists across 27.7 minutes per game. The undrafted big man displayed significant untapped potential, and this upcoming road trip might be the time to finally unearth it.

While the Bucks will certainly look to run more small ball in this stretch, Diakite gives them an option to have another big presence on the court when necessary. As evidenced by his run in the G League, the upside with Diakite is off the charts, and he could be a special piece on both ends of the floor.

The rookie indeed got his first shot with the team during last night’s tough loss to the New York Knicks, where he played 23 minutes. He finished with eight points on 4-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocked shots. It was a solid performance from the 24-year-old, and he will likely see more time in the rotation with their frontcourt depth depleted.

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