Milwaukee Bucks: 3 intriguing lineup combinations worth testing in 2021-22

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – APRIL 28: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 28: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest complaints around Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, even during the championship run, were some of the lineup combinations that he would use in certain situations.

Good or bad, there were certainly moments where I’d look at the lineup on the floor and wonder what his thought process was for a certain group. That’s not to say I disagreed, I would just like to know why he went with a jumbo lineup of Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bobby Portis in the playoffs. But hey, they weren’t terrible in an extremely small sample size either!

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Regardless, there’s a new batch of Bucks for Budenholzer to experiment with throughout training camp, preseason, the regular season, and postseason! I’m sure most fans immediately begin thinking about what lineups a certain player can fit in to when they first acquire them and who they’ll fit in best with — or not fit with.

I think there are some very interesting combinations that Budenholzer can run out there, from both an experiment aspect but also to see if the guys you acquired can fill the roles you need them to. The NBA has turned into a position-less game and it’s more likely now than ever that you’ll see some pretty fun combinations from Budenholzer — just like the jumbo playoff lineup.

The Bucks are arguably a deeper team this year compared to the championship-winning team, so there figures to be a couple of lineup combinations that could surprise us. These aren’t necessarily the wackiest lineups, but ones that fans should keep an eye out for throughout the regular season.

Milwaukee Bucks fans should be intrigued about Semi Ojeleye playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo

This might not be the sexiest lineup idea, but it’s one that will have a lot of attention from Bucks fans early on. For better or worse, Semi Ojeleye was signed as someone who could fill the “P.J. Tucker role” after the Bucks seemingly let Tucker walk to the conference-rival Miami Heat.

I have belabored the “Ojeleye is a near facsimile to Tucker” point numerous times on this space, but for those that are unaware. Ojeleye and Tucker are within an inch and five pounds of each other’s listed height and weights. They’re both extremely strong, can guard bigger wings and tweener forwards, and shoot inconsistently from behind the 3-point arc.

Big caveats being that Tucker is obviously a better and more versatile defender and that Ojeleye is likely a better shooter than Tucker (listen, it’s a low bar but it’s true). They aren’t the same player, but Ojeleye will be asked to fill that role.

So it’s important to see how Ojeleye will fit next to Antetokounmpo when the Bucks go small. The main small ball lineup that consisted of Tucker, Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Pat Connaughton had a +18 net rating in 100 minutes of playoff basketball, according to How Ojeleye fits in with that specific five-man lineup (or any other variation of the Giannis-at-center lineup) will essentially dictate how successful his tenure with the Bucks will be and, ultimately, if they bring him back in 2022-23.