3 keys as Milwaukee Bucks start mini series against Charlotte Hornets

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 01: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 01: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Javonte Smart
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 06: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

There’s nothing better than being undermanned while also being on the second night of a back-to-back, right? Ok, there are probably a couple of things better than that, but this is the challenge facing the Milwaukee Bucks tonight against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Bucks have four key rotation players out in health and safety protocols in Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, and George Hill. That also doesn’t include Donte DiVincenzo (ankle), who is expected back within the next week or so.

This shorthanded roster got a surprising win last night against the Brooklyn Nets but it doesn’t get any easier against a Hornets team that has given the Bucks trouble the last couple of meetings. The good news for the Bucks is that, if they should lose tonight, they’ll get another shot at the Hornets in a couple of days!

Javonte Smart will have a lot to handle for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Charlotte Hornets

The undrafted rookie could go up against LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier tonight. Good luck, rook!

Javonte Smart didn’t play as much as expected against the Nets, being the only true point guard that has been with the team for more than a day (hey, Langston Galloway!) but there could be an opportunity for him tonight on the second night of a back-to-back with the starters having some heavy legs.

One of the few silver linings to the Bucks’ injury and illness woes this season is that it has allowed guys further down the roster to get more playing time and for younger guys (like Smart) to get reps against NBA-level competition.

This is a great opportunity for Smart to show that he can be a rotation piece in the future for the Bucks and, perhaps, be the backup point guard to take over for Hill down the line.

I’ve liked the flashes that Smart has shown in his limited run with the Bucks so far, but it’s clear that he isn’t ready quite yet to be an impactful rotation player.