Should the Milwaukee Bucks make this new lineup change permanent?

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

To the surprise of many, the Milwaukee Bucks rolled out a brand new starting five in last night’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The change featured Wesley Matthews starting at shooting guard while sending Grayson Allen to the second unit. It was a justifiable decision by Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, as Matthews is a more reputable defender than Allen, and promoting him into the starting lineup would give the veteran a chance to match up against James Harden from the opening tip. In the end, it worked for the Bucks as they got the victory, but it sparked the question as to whether this change should be the new normal for the defending champions moving forward.

Should the Milwaukee Bucks keep Wesley Matthews in the starting five while bringing Grayson Allen off the bench moving forward?

Looking at the change, both players played well in their swapped roles last night. Matthews was primarily utilized for his defense, but he also looked competent offensively by scoring five points on 2-of-5 shooting, including 1-of-2 from downtown. Given the amount of talent in the lineup, the Bucks did not rely on Matthews’ scoring, which suits him at this stage in his career. Meanwhile, it was also a solid outing for Allen as he chipped in 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting as he came off the bench for just the second time all season.

Starting with the positives of the lineup change, it brings more defense into the mix. Allen is not a slouch defensively, but Matthews brings more experience on that side of the basketball. Having a player like Matthews in the lineup alleviates pressure off of Milwaukee’s other top-tier defenders like Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo, allowing them to work elsewhere or conserve their energy for the offensive side of things. Bringing Allen off the bench also gives the team a spark in the second unit, something they would embrace, given that their reserves have ranked bottom five in points per game for virtually the entire season.

Though the change does make some sense, there are also some drawbacks that should make the Bucks hesitant. The biggest would be disrupting Allen’s rhythm in what has been his best season as a professional to date. The fourth-year guard is putting up career highs across the board due to his fit in the starting five alongside the Bucks’ other stars. According to, Allen has attempted the fifth-most “wide-open” 3-pointers this season with 260, and he has thrived on these open looks by shooting 43.5 percent of them. He is the perfect fit in that starting lineup due to this sensational shooting, and bringing him off the bench would give him less playing time with Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and the others.

Ultimately, one could make the case for either player to start, but it would be surprising to see the Bucks continue with the lineup they rolled out last night. Budenholzer’s motive behind the change was on the defensive side of things, but the Bucks will not see someone like Harden on the other side of the floor nightly. When the opposing team has a lethal backcourt pairing like the 76ers do, then it would not be shocking to see the champs swap Allen and Matthews. For now, Allen will be back in the Milwaukee Bucks’ starting five for the foreseeable future, in all likelihood.

Given Allen’s success as a starter this season, keeping him in the lineup is the correct decision.

Next. 3 lessons the Milwaukee Bucks can use from last postseason this year. dark

Perhaps this swap is a trick Budenholzer will keep up his sleeve until the time is right again.