The Milwaukee Bucks’ role players are starring in their roles in Round 1

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 22: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 22: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

In his career, Bobby Portis has always highlighted the importance of “being a star in your role.”  With teammates like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton, Portis knows his responsibility will never be to score the most points or defend the opposing team’s best player on a nightly basis but rather to just play his role. This is a mantra that Portis has lived by in the NBA, and it has seemingly rubbed off on the Milwaukee Bucks’ other pivotal role players thus far during their first round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls as they have excelled in their roles as well.

Looking at how the Milwaukee Bucks’ role players have stepped up during their first round series against the Chicago Bulls

Of course, Portis has personified his own saying throughout the four games of this series despite how hectic it has been for him. Though the big man had some trouble shooting the ball during the first two games, he provided a huge boost off the bench with his rebounding, defense, and energy. It was a huge blow when the Bucks lost him after six minutes in Game 2 after being hit in the eye, but since then, Portis has come back with a vengeance against his former team.

With Khris Middleton going down in Game 2 with an MCL sprain that will force him to miss the rest of this series, Portis was bumped into the starting five. It was certainly a captivating move by coach Mike Budenolzer, given that the Bucks already have two big men in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez starting, but the decision has proven to be the right one. During the two contests in Chicago, Portis, now sporting a pair of goggles to shield his eye from that swipe, has been great in his return to the starting lineup by averaging a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. True to his word, Portis has excelled in this role by keeping the team’s scoring production afloat in Middleton’s absence while also providing tough rebounding and pure tenacity at all times.

Another Buck that has been a star in their role, especially lately, is Grayson Allen. The marksman has had to deal with some changes to his role as he recently transitioned to a bench role after he started for most of the regular season. It was a big change, especially so close to the postseason, and it initially looked like an issue after Allen had scored three points on 1-of-6 field goal shooting, which included missing all four of his 3-point attempts, in the first two games. The Bucks needed the sharpshooter to find his footing and play the role that saw him put together the best season of his career to date, and he has done just that during these last two games in Chicago.

After that subpar start, Allen has gone nuclear during his past two appearances by averaging an impressive 24.5 points while shooting 75 percent from the field and 78.6 percent from distance. The two-guard has completely flipped the script compared to his first two games, and part of it has been because he can rely on his strengths. The Milwaukee Bucks lacked bench scoring during the first two games in Milwaukee, so Allen took it upon himself to step it up and fix that with prolific scoring and shooting. After some early growing pains, Allen seemingly struggled getting adjusted to his new bench role, but he has unquestionably found his footing now, as evidenced by his recent play.

Likely because of how well Portis and Allen have played, the contributions from Wesley Matthews have flown under the radar quite a bit, but he has also been impressive due to his defensive effort. The veteran has been tasked with guarding DeMar DeRozan for a significant portion of this series, and he has done an exceptional job. According to, DeRozan has scored 29 points on a subpar 9-of-25 shooting (36 percent) from the floor while also turning it over five times when defended by Matthews across 146.5 partial possessions in this series. Though Matthews has had some lapses that have resulted in six shooting fouls on DeRozan, the defensive ace has excelled in his role defensively, making things as difficult as ever against Chicago’s All-Star forward.

While these three have been the most noticeable, Pat Connaughton and Jevon Carter have also performed well in their roles off the bench. Connaughton has had some struggles offensively, but he has been great defensively as he has held his opponents to 10-of-29 shooting (34.5 percent) in this series so far, playing some reputable defense. The same goes for Carter, who has helped in keeping Zach LaVine in check by holding him to 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting (38.5 percent)  while also forcing four turnovers over 67.3 partial possessions to this point. The Bucks brought Carter aboard because he was known as a bulldog on the defensive end, and he has lived up to it in this series to this point.

Whether it be defense, rebounding, shooting, scoring, tenacity, or whatever else, Milwaukee’s role players have done it all throughout the first four games of this series. They have left a major mark thus far and are a prominent reason why the Bucks are leading the series 3-1 right now.

dark. Next. Analyzing the biggest playoff X-factor for each Milwaukee Bucks starter

The Milwaukee Bucks will need these players to keep thriving in their roles throughout these playoffs, as their importance has been on full display early.