Should the Milwaukee Bucks play big or small during key absences?

Dec 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton
Jul 3, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Reports have come out recently announcing that both Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton will miss the first few weeks of the 2022-23 NBA season for the Milwaukee Bucks. This leaves the Bucks at a very disadvantageous position, especially at the small forward position.

That said, there will be implications of both players being out, opportunities for other small forwards to step up in the absence of the two Bucks stalwarts. The first two that come to mind being Jordan Nwora and rookie MarJon Beauchamp. Certainly through three weeks these two will not be the only two players that Mike Budenholzer will use to fill the void of two of the Bucks most consistently available players during his tenure.

Off the top of my head it’s conceivable of four players starting in place of Middleton, could be the two aforementioned small forwards, it could be Wesley Matthews for defensive purposes or it could be Bobby Portis to put the Bucks next best player in the starting lineup.

What makes these two missing an interesting prospect, is what Mike Budenholzer will do with different lineup combinations. It’s well documented that he likes to tinker with different starters and run different lineups of defensive minded players, surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo with shooters, or running a small or big lineup. Therein lies the intrigue, should the Milwaukee Bucks play small ball in the absence of Middleton and Connaughton? Or, should they put in more big men and control the court with sheer size? There is certainly merit to both strategies, let’s break them down individually.