Milwaukee Bucks: Who will be the most important reserve next season?

MIAMI, FL - MAY 29 (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 29 (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis
Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

After a frantic start to the offseason with trades and free agency, things are beginning to wind down and for the Milwaukee Bucks, the roster is essentially complete.

Save for a potential reunion with Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ depth chart is what it is. General Manager Jon Horst has revamped the team’s bench, adding an impact role player at almost every position. You can debate how good some of the depth is, but there is potential for each new signing and trade acquisition to provide real value for the Bucks this season.

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However, we all know this year is about repeating as NBA champs, so it’s also about which of these bench pieces can stay on the floor in a series and not be targeted on defense or ignored on offense. We saw Bobby Portis and Bryn Forbes both get played off the floor against the Brooklyn Nets in these past playoffs largely due to their defense. Portis found a way to contribute in the next two series, while Forbes did not.

This left the Bucks’ depth incredibly thin, but this year there’s hope that at least four players will be able to play a role in a playoff series: Portis, Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen, and George Hill. It’s not inconceivable that Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood could find a role as well, but it’s not realistic to think the Bucks run an 11-man playoff rotation. Even a nine-man rotation is a bit deep, but those four are the best bets to see playoff action in later rounds.

Here’s the case for why each of those four who could be used deep into a postseason run is the Bucks’ most important bench player.

The case for Bobby Portis as the Milwaukee Bucks’ most important bench player

The case for Portis shouldn’t be a mystery to Bucks fans following his fantastic efforts throughout the team’s title run.

He brings the energy every time he’s on the floor, he’s a fan favorite, and he’s pretty good at the whole basketball thing too. In 66 regular season games this past year, Portis shot the 3-ball at a 47.1 percent clip (2.4 attempts per game) and as the season and playoffs progressed, found his niche on the defensive end.

As I mentioned, Portis was taken out of the rotation against the Nets, much to the confusion of fans and media alike. It remains to be seen how he would have fared in Games 5-7 of that series, but he proved against the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns that he could be relied upon in big moments on both ends of the floor. According to, the 26-year-old held opponents to 0.85 points per possession in isolation situations in the playoffs, showing his ability to switch defensively and more than hold his own.

Portis’ offense as a spacer and as someone who can crash the offensive glass is very valuable when the Bucks put Giannis Antetokounmpo at center, but the strides he took as a defender were what allowed him to stay on the floor.