Basketball-reference predicting regression for Milwaukee Bucks’ starters?

May 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday; Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart
May 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The very useful site is a database full of tons of statistics about all things NBA. Recently, they put on each individual player’s page a projection for the 2022-23 season, looking at the Milwaukee Bucks‘ players projections is a bit eyebrow raising to say the least. On the surface it looks like basketball-reference is predicting a regression in at least a couple areas for every starter in the Bucks lineup.

The projections are based on per 36 minutes statistics making them easy to compare to players’ previous season. Let’s take a look at the starting lineup and their projections from basketball-reference.

Basketball-reference predicting Milwaukee Bucks’ regression: Jrue Holiday

Starting at the point guard position, Jrue Holiday had a very solid regular season last season, a better well rounded season than his first with the Milwaukee Bucks, especially offensively. During the 2021-22 season Jrue Holiday per 36 minutes averaged 20.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 3.0 turnovers and 2.2 fouls. Getting to those numbers by shooting 50.1 percent on field goals, 41.1 percent on 3-pointers and 76.1 percent at the free throw line.

Jrue Holiday’s prediction for the 2022-23 season by per 36 minutes is 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.8 turnovers and 2.2 fouls. While the dip in turnovers is something we’d be happy to see, the dips in points, assists and steals are a blow not soften by the very small increase projected for rebounds and blocks. The projection for percentages aren’t particularly kind to Holiday either, basketball-reference predicted 49.1 percent for field goals, 39.4 percent for 3-point shots and 75.9 percent on free throws.

The slight dip in each is minimal, but for a player who is a third option on a team with championship aspirations it is hard to picture Jrue taking a step back in all three areas, while the regression in 3-point percentage is understandable given that Jrue is a career 36.3 percent 3-point shooter, the dip in free throw percentage is a little harder to explain given that Jrue isn’t by any means past his prime at 32 years old, Jrue for his career is a 77.6 percent free throw shooter. If anything his free throw percentage should progress, not regress.

The only place with Jrue’s projection you won’t get a lot of protest from me is his field goal percentage, Jrue did have a very good season in 2021-22 on field goals, 50.1 percent is 4.1 percent higher than his career average, so a regression to 49.1 percent is certainly conceivable. All in all, given that this prediction is based on a set amount of minutes, it is hard to imagine why Jrue would take a step back in so many areas, given that his role is cemented with this Bucks team.