Milwaukee Bucks: Exploring the team’s few question marks moving forward

Mar 31, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Mar 31, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
1 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo, Indiana Pacers: Doug McDermott
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 22 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

With the deluge of player migrations this offseason coming to a conclusion, teams like the Milwaukee Bucks—who were never touted to make that many moves to begin with—are likely set in stone with their rosters heading into next year.

This is as much a blessing as it is a curse: Jon Horst’s managerial gymnastics managed to make a championship-winning team better despite a dearth of assets. The newly retooled roster is what it is, flaws and all.

More from Bucks News

No team is perfect, and the Bucks still enter the 2021-22 season with their fair share of crevices as a basketball club. These holes are by no means glaring craters. But for the defending champions looking to repeat, they’re worth looking at nevertheless.

Here’s a quick deep dive into the few assets the Milwaukee Bucks’ might still have an unfulfilled need for on the basketball court.

One lingering question is, who is the Milwaukee Bucks’ go-to sniper now?

From a shooting standpoint, this Bucks team seems to have more in common with the first two years of Mike Budenholzer’s tenure. To be sure, on paper, there are a lot of competent shooters who can hit shots when they’re reasonably open. But how many of them will be dependable sharpshooters who can command a defense’s attention and attract real gravity on the court?

Though the Bucks have a litany of fine 3-point bombers, not a single player on the roster not named Khris Middleton has been as prolific from deep as Bryn Forbes. As it stands, Rodney Hood, Brook Lopez, and Semi Ojeleye shot below the 36.7 percent league average from 3-point range last season. Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo shot just below 38 percent, while George Hill, Jrue Holiday, and Grayson Allen shot 39.

Against teams like the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, having just-okay shooters littering the perimeter (Kyle Korver notwithstanding) eventually spelled the Bucks’ demise. Their offense was predicated on a simplistic “let it fly” approach to floor-spacing after all, and when Giannis was cut off by the vaunted “Giannis Wall,” his shooters just couldn’t convert.

Milwaukee this year learned that four serviceable but below league-average shooters surrounding the Greek Freak won’t contort opposing defenses—and make them pay if left open—the way one elite sniper will.

This year, the meteoric offensive impact of a premiere sharpshooter was made clear in the two-man game of Forbes and Antetokounmpo. Forbes, who threw and received the most passes to and from Antetokounmpo, according to, finished with a career-best fourth in the NBA in 3-point percentage after spending most of his minutes playing alongside the two-time MVP.

Who can replace Forbes this year? Jordan Nwora comes closest but is still relatively unproven against set NBA defenses outside of the Summer League. His limited showings this year exhibited clear potential, though, as the 6-foot-8 forward finished the season shooting an impressive 45.2 percent from 3-point land.

Grayson Allen comes close, too; his above-average 39 percent from deep is certainly a lustrous and efficient shooting clip but is also one that’s not necessarily elite. For opposing defenders on the perimeter, there’s a world of difference between a 39 percent shooter and a 44 percent one. Even then, his numbers might be close, but his skill set may not be just yet; just take a glance at his shooting numbers.

Where Bryn Forbes finished in the 93rd percentile among guards in spot-up plays, Allen finished in the 55th and converted just 37.4 percent of his attempts. Per, Allen shot 29.6 percent on running jumpers and 30.8 on step-back jumpers from behind the 3-point line. (Forbes shot 52 and 50 percent on these, respectively.)

Allen and Nwora can definitely space the floor, but will Mike Budenholzer run plays specifically to get him open? Can they run a potent two-man game with the Greek Freak to terrorize teams from the perimeter?

The answer: they could.

Allen’s play-type stats on provide a small glimpse of hope. Despite his stats mentioned earlier, Grayson Allen was only involved in handoff plays for 6.8 percent of his offensive possessions. He scored on 52.9 percent of these opportunities and was good for the 89th percentile for his position on these plays. An uptick in reps on these plays could do good things for him as Giannis’ prime floor-spacer should he get this role later on.

Nwora, for his part, has shown the skill and finesse to be an elite shooter both off the catch and off the dribble. He drained 9 of his 12 stepback attempts from distance this season and made an impressive 18/18 of his assisted threes. Though he spent most of his minutes on cleanup duty, Cleaning the Glass has him in the upper 90+ percentiles on short and long mid-range shots, along with corner and non-corner threes.

The difference between the two, however, is defense. But the Bucks have a bigger problem facing them on that end of the floor.