Pat Connaughton has picked up right where he left off for Milwaukee Bucks

Jan 10, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

On February 10, Pat Connaughton fractured the fourth metacarpal in his right hand as the Milwaukee Bucks visited the Phoenix Suns.

The injury would force Connaughton to undergo surgery and miss somewhere around a month, which was a sizeable blow for the Bucks. The veteran had been in the middle of a career year prior to suffering the injury, and many worried whether or not this predicament would snap his rhythm upon returning to the court. Thankfully, Connaughton has put those concerns to bed early on as he has played incredibly well in his first two games back for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Assessing Pat Connaughton’s play since returning for the Milwaukee Bucks

Over his past two games, Connaughton has shown little to no rust offensively by averaging an impressive 14.5 points per contest while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from three. It started with a 15-point effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he did not shy away from trying to find a groove for himself as he shot 5-of-11 from 3-point territory. Connaughton followed that up with a stellar game in Milwaukee’s win vs. the Chicago Bulls by scoring 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-7 from distance. Despite the time away, it appears that Connaughton has not missed a beat as he has played some inspiring basketball.

Unsurprisingly, a significant portion of Connaughton’s production in this stretch has come from deep, as 18 of his 19 total shot attempts were 3-pointers. Looking even closer, virtually all of his triples tries have been catch and shoot attempts, as 17 of his 18 threes have fit this description, according to Mastering this quick release is what has propelled a career year for Connaughton’s perimeter shooting, and it is welcoming to see that he has not lost a step in that regard over these past two games. He has become the go-to threat on the perimeter for players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton, and having him back will be huge for the team’s spacing.

The biggest thing for Connaughton moving forward will be making good on his “wide-open” looks from long range, categorized as when a player is giving six or more feet of space. Since returning, Connaughton is just 3-of-10 on these looks. Given how well he has shot it this season, the guard is certainly capable of knocking these down with more consistency, and the looks will be there in the minutes he plays alongside the Big 3.

It goes without saying that having Connaughton back will be a significant boost for Milwaukee’s second unit. In addition to his scoring and shooting, the veteran has provided a requisite amount of rebounding, defense, toughness, and passing. All of those factors have helped Connaughton put together the best year of his professional career thus far, as the guard is averaging career highs in several statistical categories. In 58 games with the Milwaukee Bucks this season, Connaughton is now averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 26.8 minutes per game.

Next. Assessing the pros and cons of the Milwaukee Bucks eyeing Tyreke Evans. dark

Hopefully this hot start since returning can help Connaughton find a sustainable groove down the stretch for the Milwaukee Bucks. For now, it is certainly welcoming to see Pat Connaughton return to action for the defending champions, let alone play this well following his surgery.