Milwaukee Bucks: Youth movement needed at backup point guard

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05 (Photo by Steven Ryan /Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05 (Photo by Steven Ryan /Getty Images) /

With the status of Jeff Teague returning to the Milwaukee Bucks currently unknown, it may be time for the front office to start looking at a youth movement to back up Jrue Holiday.

Teague recently turned 33-years-old and is clearly on the backside of his career. He was typically hit or miss when he got minutes with the Bucks during their playoff run, oftentimes not even getting significant minutes in the rotation due to his subpar production.

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With Holiday 31 years of age, a young backup point guard is what Milwaukee needs. Plus, with Bryn Forbes likely to leave in free agency, the Bucks are likely going to need scoring off the bench in order to try to repeat as champions. Looking at the point guards that are available in free agency, the vast majority of them are 30 years or above in age. However, there are a couple of younger options out there that the Bucks could take a look at.

Who could the Milwaukee Bucks target to fill their backup point guard opening?

If the Bucks want to go the side of a defensive-minded guard, they should go after Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina has been regarded as a bust since he was drafted eighth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft out of France by the New York Knicks, but his biggest strength is defending at the guard position. He has averaged close to one steal per game in four years with the Knicks but only appeared in 33 games this past season due to being at the end of the bench with New York’s Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley taking over the point guard duties for a bulk of the minutes.

If Ntilikina is not available, another interesting option at the point guard would be the undersized Dennis Smith Jr. Smith was selected just two spots behind Ntilikina in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks out of North Carolina State. Smith had a very good rookie year, averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists despite struggling shooting from the field. His stats have declined since he has been in the league, bouncing around from Dallas to New York to Detroit, but that is largely due to a lack of playing time as he can’t find any stability.

Both Ntilikina and Smith are currently unrestricted free agents on the market, and with the Bucks having some resources to spend in free agency, the team could potentially look at either to fill their guard vacancy. One would suspect they could be had for cheap, but that is just speculation.  Regardless of who Milwaukee signs, youth is needed at the guard position.

Although no one has ruled out Teague returning to Milwaukee to stick around with head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks could certainly upgrade at the position, and a younger option would be fantastic. With Holiday not getting any younger, adding youth at point guard to help alleviate some of the burden off of the 31-year-old would be a wise move for Milwaukee with the possibility of coming back to win another title.

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The Bucks have been rather secretive about their plans at the backup point guard position, but that should change in the coming days as free agency progresses.