Why Grayson Allen could be the Milwaukee Bucks’ biggest wild card

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 03 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 03 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

In his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks, shooting guard Grayson Allen has pieced together the best year of his career to date.

It did not take the 26-year-old long at all to find his footing with the team, having instantly clicked alongside his new teammates in Mike Budenholzer’s system. In addition to being a seamless fit in the Bucks’ offensive schemes, Allen’s emergence can be attributed to how important of a role he has played for the defending champions. Starting in 57 out of his 58 appearances while playing a career-high 27.6 minutes per game this season, the guard has never seen a more prominent role in his four-year career. Because of all of this, Allen could be the team’s most significant wild card.

Looking at how Grayson Allen’s role with the Milwaukee Bucks has changed throughout the 2021-22 season

Allen showed throughout his first two months with the Bucks just how impactful he could be by averaging 13.7 points while shooting 37.1 percent from three on 8.9 attempts in October and then 13.9 points while shooting 45.8 percent from three on 6.9 attempts per game in November. With a handful of key players sidelined early in the season, the newcomer showed that he belonged as he took on a bigger role in the offense. However, as the Bucks have gotten healthier, Allen’s shooting and scoring production has dipped, having averaged double figures and attempted six threes per game once in the past four months.

Now, Allen’s regression is not the end of the world, as it should have been suspected to a degree. With Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday both missing time earlier in the season, their shot attempts had to go somewhere, and Allen gladly picked up the slack. However, with those two coming back and Giannis Antetokounmpo having another dominant season, along with Bobby Portis having the best year of his career, his role has lessened in the passing months. These days, Allen’s points and overall production vary from game to game, with the guard capable of scoring 15 points one night and then having a relatively quiet night the next.

As the fifth scoring option in a star-studded starting five, Allen’s attempts are not as bountiful as they once were. Yet, that could change very soon, as he could be a crucial piece for the team down the line, given what he brings to the table for the champs.

Why Grayson Allen could be a wild card for the Milwaukee Bucks

The most prominent reason why Allen has been so successful with the Bucks this season has been the vast number of open looks he has received offensively. Playing alongside what many would consider the NBA’s best trio in Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Holiday, Allen has often found himself wide-open more often than not offensively, and according to NBA.com/stats, he has shot the fourth-most “wide-open” 3-pointers in the league this season with 251. Allen is hitting 42.6 percent of those attempts, which is certainly a reputable number.

In the postseason, opposing defenses will primarily focus on slowing down Milwaukee’s trio, meaning Allen should continue to get his share of open looks offensively. When those defenses wall off the paint and force the Bucks to kick it out to the perimeter, Allen will be waiting for the ball with no shortage of open space. If Allen can carry this regular season success over into the playoffs, he could perhaps have an impact similar to Bryn Forbes in last year’s postseason. The guard was tasked with playing the role that Allen currently finds himself in, and due to the mass attention the Miami Heat gave to Milwaukee’s stars in round one, he feasted offensively.

Speaking of Forbes, arguably the main reason that he was so successful throughout that year and in the postseason was his connection with Antetokounmpo. Forbes would always play most of his minutes alongside the Greek Freak to give him that reliable kick-out threat on the perimeter, which is something that Allen has embraced with Forbes gone. Allen and Antetokounmpo have formed a great connection, with the former shooting 47-of-103 (45.6 percent) off passes from the latter in their time together this season. This connection will be put to the test on the biggest stage, and it will be interesting to see whether Allen can continue to thrive off these looks from the MVP.

Ultimately, Allen’s outside shot is why he could be a wild card for the Bucks as they look to defend their title this season. Teams will be so focused on slowing down the trio that Allen may get a load of open looks, and if he could make good on those, it would benefit the Bucks tremendously.

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Stay tuned to find out how Grayson Allen’s career year with the Milwaukee Bucks continues.