3 keys as the Milwaukee Bucks return home against Portland Trail Blazers

Feb 5, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews, Darvin Ham
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 05 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Who will step up for the Milwaukee Bucks in Pat Connaughton’s absence?

As if the Bucks weren’t already shorthanded with some extra roster spots available after the trade deadline, but it got even worse when Pat Connaughton suffered a broken finger against the Phoenix Suns.

Connaughton has elected to have surgery on his finger, so there will be some minutes open in the rotation for the foreseeable future for a pair of role players: Wesley Matthews and Jordan Nwora.

The Bucks will also go hard after wings on the buyout market, such as DeAndre’ Bembry and potentially Gary Harris, but for tonight, one of those two will need to give the team some quality minutes.

Matthews is the best bet to fill the Connaughton role due to his defense. In his second stint with the Bucks, he’s shown he can still guard multiple positions both bigger and smaller than him and that’s exactly what they value from Connaughton.

The problem is that Matthews has been through a huge cold spell, shooting under 19 percent from 3 in his last 12 games. Obviously, he’s not that bad of a shooter, but for however long this dry spell lasts, Matthews’ role will be capped.

Nwora has the opposite problem in that he can score no problem, but it’s if the coaching staff can trust him enough on defense. It was evident during the Suns game that the coaches weren’t happy with Nwora’s performance on defense, but there’s an opportunity in front of him to earn that trust against a bad opponent.

Things are going to be tight in the Bucks’ wing rotation for a couple of days until they’re able to add some buyout guys, so it will certainly be interesting, to say the least!