Milwaukee Bucks: 2 players that can fill P.J. Tucker’s role next season

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis
Jul 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

How Bobby Portis can be a P.J. Tucker replacement for the Milwaukee Bucks

I know it’s a hard sell for me to say that the 6-foot-10, 250 pound Bobby Portis can be a replacement for the 6-foot-5, 245 pound P.J. Tucker, but hear me out.

The first thing is not very tangible, but it’s energy. Every Bucks fan (or anyone who watched the NBA Playoffs, for that matter) knows the energy that Portis brings to the floor. Fans fell in love with Portis for his infectious energy.

Tucker wasn’t as energetic as Portis, but in simply being a presence on the floor, they have their similarities. Like Tucker, Portis isn’t afraid of anyone and will take on any challenge (in multiple senses). I fully expect Portis to take on more of a leadership role this coming season as he’s become more comfortable with his teammates, as well as now that he has the confidence of being a champion and played at a high level in big moments.

From an on-court perspective, you’ll see Portis take a big of that role as well. Although head coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t think he could play Portis against the Brooklyn Nets, the 26-year-old found ways to stay on the floor in the following rounds by allowing the Bucks to play a switchable defense with Brook Lopez off the floor.

According to, in the playoffs, the lineup of Bobby Portis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Pat Connaughton was +32.5 in 27 minutes, including an 81.0 defensive rating. While it’s not a terribly large sample, it provides a good indicator that those lineups can work for Milwaukee when they have Portis out there with the Big 3 and another switchable defender (such as Connaughton or DiVincenzo).

Portis isn’t on the same level as Tucker as a defender, but he showed in the playoffs that he can be a reliable option when called upon and can help the Bucks unlock some of their small-ball lineups the same way that Tucker did. On offense, Portis provides much more value than Tucker with his shooting. Portis shot 47.1 percent on triples in the regular season and ranked third on the team in 3-point percentage in the playoffs behind Connaughton and Bryn Forbes.

Most of Tucker’s value on offense in the playoffs came from crashing the glass for offensive rebounds, something Portis did at a higher rate than Tucker as well.

While he’s not a perfect replacement, Portis can provide some of what Tucker was able to do defensively and more value on the offensive end.