Jevon Carter has earned the backup point guard job for Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

No one could have predicted how strongly Jevon Carter would play when it was first announced that he was signing with the Milwaukee Bucks late last month.

Through his first 14 games with the franchise, Carter has been fantastic by averaging 6.3 points while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 58.8 percent from behind the arc while delivering 2.4 assists and pulling down 2.2 rebounds per matchup. These are all career-high numbers for the fourth-year guard out of West Virginia as Carter has thrived in Milwaukee. That goes without even mentioning his strong defense, which is what Carter has been known for throughout his career to this point. He has been a welcoming presence on that side of the basketball by providing another reputable defender for the Bucks to utilize.

What initially appeared to be a stopgap signing has turned into a significant steal for the Bucks, as Carter has proven himself to be the perfect backup point guard for this team. Of course, the Bucks signed Carter to give them some temporary assistance off the bench in the absence of Geroge Hill, who was sidelined for several weeks at that point with neck soreness. With a large opportunity in front of him, Carter took advantage and played incredibly well, which had many questioning what would happen upon Hill’s return to the lineup.

How Jevon Carter has earned the Milwaukee Bucks’ backup point guard role

Ultimately, Carter has rightfully played a more prominent role than Hill in the six games since the latter returned to the lineup. Carter has averaged 19.4 minutes while Hill has averaged 16.3 over Milwaukee’s last six outings, which is entirely justifiable for several reasons.

First and foremost, Carter has simply just played better with the Bucks than Hill has this season. Defensively, the former has often been seen guarding opposing ball-handlers the entire length of the floor and hounding them up the court. When playing alongside other top-notch defenders like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday, Carter’s presence on that side of the basketball makes the Bucks all the more formidable. To be fair, Hill is no slouch on the defensive end, but he is not the same level of a defender as Carter. He is serviceable on that side of things, but Carter poses a clear upgrade for Milwaukee defensively.

The true difference-maker between the two has come on offense. As mentioned, Carter is putting up the best numbers in his career with the Bucks, lighting it up offensively. Meanwhile, Hill has not managed to find a groove all year as he is averaging 6.6 points while shooting 43.7 percent on his field-goal attempts and 31.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, with all three marks ranking as the second-wost numbers in his lengthy career. Given how much Milwaukee’s bench has struggled to contribute offensively this season – ranking just 27th in points and 30th in field goal percentage – bringing in a player like Carter has provided a spark that has helped them tremendously.

Given how much the Bucks rely on their 3-point shooting, the difference in efficiency between the two backup guards is important. Carter has proven to be a reliable threat from the perimeter, while Hill has struggled to knock down anything with consistency. It is strange, given that Hill had one of the best shooting seasons in franchise history by hitting a league-leading 46 percent of his triples during the 2019-20 season with the Bucks, but he has been unable to rekindle any of that magic this year. At the end of the day, Milwaukee will need their role players to knock down shots, and Carter has shown that he can do that while also playing some noticeably robust defense.

To be clear, Carter’s strong play since coming aboard has not and will not take Hill out of the mix entirely, as their minutes are relatively similar. Coach Mike Budenholzer has always been fond of his two point guard lineups, which is something he can utilize with both players. However, when the rotations begin to tighten up and choices need to be made, Carter has shown why he is the one that deserves to be out on the floor in the most significant moments.

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Both are fine players, but it will be interesting to see how Budenhlzer utilizes them down the line for the Milwaukee Bucks.