Pat Connaughton has quietly been in a slump for the Milwaukee Bucks

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Milwaukee Bucks over the last few seasons has been Pat Connaughton turning into an absolute sniper from behind the 3-point line.

He shot right around 33 percent on nearly three attempts per game in his first 128 games with the Bucks. A lot of his detractors pointed to his lack of consistent shooting as a reason why he shouldn’t be relied upon as much as head coach Mike Budenholzer did at the time, playing him nearly 20 minutes per game.

Well, Connaughton shot over 37 percent from deep last season in the regular season, nearly 39 percent during the championship run, and then over 43 percent in his first 30 games this season. He averaged nearly 11 points per game and was a massive offensive contributor when the Bucks were shorthanded.

Now that they’re nearly at full health though, Connaughton has lost the rhythm on his jumper and has quietly fallen into a slump as of late.

Breaking down Pat Connaughton’s recent offensive slump

Sticking with that blistering 30 game stretch to start the season, Connaughton had only 10 games where he scored in single-digits. He had only eight games where he didn’t knock down multiple 3s and there were only two games where he didn’t hit a 3.

In his last 12 games since then, Connaughton has 11 games where he’s scored in single-digits and nine games where he hasn’t hit multiple 3s.

He’s averaging 5.5 points and shooting under 26 percent from deep on nearly five attempts per game. Nearly 70 percent of his shot attempts have been open-to-wide-open 3s in his last 12 games, per, but he’s shooting under 25 percent on those looks.

As if a shooting slump wasn’t bad enough, it also came with a three-game absence due to entering health and safety protocols within it as well.

Now, no one should have expected Connaughton to continue to shoot over 43 percent on over six attempts per game for the entire season. Shooting has a ton of variance in it and even the best shooters go through peaks and valleys during a season.

There also wasn’t a ton of precedent for him shooting like that in his career. He was a 35 percent 3-point shooter in his first six seasons (over 350 games) but did shoot over 42 percent in his final collegiate season at Notre Dame (after being a near-37 percent 3-point shooter in his first three seasons).

This shouldn’t be something to panic about, however. Even if Connaughton doesn’t shoot as he did to begin this season and is between 37 to 39 percent the rest of the way, he’s still a contributor in other areas that it wouldn’t hurt his value too much.

Connaughton’s shooting is a bit of a bellwether for the Bucks and they’re at their best when he’s knocking down 3s consistently. You saw things turn these past playoffs where opponents weren’t able to help off of Connaughton and had to fear him knocking down the 3.

Similar to what we saw from Grayson Allen recently (that he’s appeared to break out of), Connaughton is simply in a shooting slump but there’s no cause for concern. The process is there and they’re getting him good looks, it’s just not falling. As the old saying goes, it’s a make or miss league, and, right now, Connaughton is heavily on the “miss” side of that adage.

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Except to see Connaughton snap out of this funk as he makes his way back from health and safety protocols, which would come at a great time with the Bucks’ upcoming stretch of tough games.