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: Brook Lopez, Jevon Carter
Mar 14, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports /

Basketball-reference predicting Milwaukee Bucks’ regression: Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez only played 13 games for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021-22 regular season, so for the sake of having a larger sample size I’m going to use Brook’s per 36 minutes statistics from the 2020-21 season to compare to his projection for next season. Brook Lopez, who will be 35 in April, is the only player in the Milwaukee Bucks starting lineup that I would accept age as a reason to predict regression, nearing 35 and coming off a back injury and surgery that sidelined him nearly the entire 2021-22 regular season is a fair point.

Looking at 2020-21 per 36 minutes Brook Lopez averaged 16.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.0 blocks, 1.2 turnovers and 2.8 fouls. Lopez shot 50.3 percent from the field, 33.8 percent from the 3-point line and 84.5 percent from the free throw line.

Brook Lopez’s projection for the 2022-23 season is as follows: 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.0 blocks, 1.4 turnovers and 3.2 fouls. His projected percentages are 47.3 percent on field goals, 33.4 percent from the 3-point line and 83.7 percent from the free throw line.

The projection of his field goal and 3-point percentages are both below his career average and where he was in his last full season, is his age to blame? Maybe, but then why the projected slight increase in points, increase in assists on projected lower efficiency? Based on these projections, Brook Lopez may be in for expanded usage with some lower percentages, the perceived opposite interpretation for the predictions of Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

While all of these projections are all likely based on some arbitrary math and some basis built around the Milwaukee Bucks’ starters career averages, it is hard when looking at the predictions to understand and look at how these players, most of which are in the prime years of their careers, would take a slight step back from a solid regular season in 2021-22.

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Stay tuned with Behind the Buck Pass during the season to see if these projections come to be or if the Milwaukee Bucks prove themselves better than basketball-reference is currently predicting.