Many believed that the Milwaukee Bucks may have found a hidden gem when they signed guard Javonte Smart to a two-way deal earlier this season. Although the rookie has not played regularly this season, he has shown potential in his brief stints when he has been fortunate enough to take the floor. Playing behind two savvy veterans in Jrue Holiday and George Hill, Smart has served as a spectator for most of the year unless one of the two is absent on a particular night. Well, it seems like another opportunity is coming for Smart due to some problems in the backcourt.
The Bucks released their injury report ahead of tonight’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, and in what has become the new normal, it is quite full. Two specific names included on the lengthy list are Holiday and Hill, who are both listed as out for tonight’s game in Brooklyn after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols recently. This predicament leaves Milwaukee without their top two point guards for tonight’s matchup, meaning Smart is bound to get his fair share of extra reps to help the Bucks get through this game.
Obviously, the Bucks will not be asking Smart to try and replicate the success that Holiday or even Hill would typically provide at the point guard position. However, with the team thinned out at the position, they will need Smart to step up as the lone point guard available on the roster. This poses an opportunity for the rookie guard to showcase what he brings to the table in a matchup that has been highly anticipated for months. For a player looking to carve out a role for himself in the NBA, a game like this is a moment he must seize.
Javonte Smart has shown potential for the Milwaukee Bucks during his limited minutes this season
Throughout his 12 appearances this season, Smart has not put up the flashiest numbers by averaging just 2.6 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 13 minutes per game. The guard has struggled mightily finding a groove on offense, shooting an abysmal 26.2 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from three. The rookie will have more ball-handling duties tonight, and if he can flip the switch with his scoring and get a few baskets to drop, it would be a tremendous boost.
Smart’s best game in a Bucks uniform was his NBA debut, where he scored eight points, hauled in six rebounds, and handed out four assists in a big win over the Miami Heat. While he struggled on the offensive end by shooting just 2-of-7, including 1-of-4 from deep, the rookie showed signs of aggressiveness and confidence with his scoring ability, which was great combined with his knack for passing and rebounding the basketball. Unfortunately, he has not managed to find any success similar to that since, but part of that could be attributed to his limited minutes.
With more minutes coming his way against the Nets, it will be interesting to see if he can step up to the plate and help the Bucks secure a win.
Be sure to catch Smart in action tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPN.