Milwaukee Bucks: 3 players who defied expectations in 2020-21 season

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 06 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Pat Connaughton defied expectations with the Milwaukee Bucks this season

Many were frustrated when the Bucks extended Pat Connaughton last offseason to a three-year deal worth a hefty $16 million. It seemed like a hefty price to pay for the guard considering he was coming off a playoff series where he was virtually unplayable.

Seemingly playing with a chip on his shoulder, he played solid basketball all throughout the regular season, most notably due to his improved 3-point shot. After shooting just 33.1 percent on 2.9 attempts per game during his first two seasons with the Bucks, Connaughton showed vast improvement this year by knocking down 37.1 percent of his triples on 3.9 attempts per night. His shooting provided a much-needed boost for this team, which helped him get more minutes in the rotation and play a career-high 22.8 minutes per game.

While his regular season production was great, where Connaughton truly turned heads was in the NBA Finals, where he stepped up mightily. The guard was Milwaukee’s go-to man off the bench, being plugged into various lineups as the Bucks tried to combat the personnel from the Phoenix Suns. No matter who he was playing alongside, Connaughton made the most of the opportunity and finished the series averaging 9.2 points while shooting 47.5 percent (19-of-40) from the field and an incredible 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from deep. He would make the second-most triples in the series behind Khris Middleton and Jae Crowder, making an impact on the offensive end.

Most of Connaughton’s praise this season will come from his improvement on the offensive end, and rightfully so, as shooting had been among his weakest points previously. However, in addition to his newly equipped 3-point shot, Connaughton was consistently playing robust defense, making the hustle plays, and doing all of the little things to help this team click. His efforts in the NBA Finals will be commended as he took on a much bigger role than he was previously accustomed to seeing, and he looked up to the task.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 reasons why they can run it back next season. dark

Had someone said following last season’s playoff defeat against the Miami Heat that Connaughton would be one of the key contributors in the NBA Finals, they would have been labeled crazy.