The regular season has come to an end, and the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves at the top of the NBA standings for the third time in the last five years, finishing the season with a 58-24 record.
It wasn’t pretty throughout, as the Bucks struggled in November and December before finally getting closer to full health and finding their groove from late January on. Milwaukee started the season 29-17 and then followed that up with a 29-5 stretch to clinch the top overall seed going into the playoffs.
Many different players made contributions this season, and the Bucks have shown that they are arguably the deepest team in the league. Even with Khris Middleton missing most of the season and Giannis missing more time than usual, the Bucks still finished with the best record in the league because of their depth.
Here are grades for how each player performed this season relative to expectation (one player having a higher grade than another does not automatically mean they were better; it means they exceeded expectations more). Note that only players who played over 800 minutes are eligible to be graded.
Milwaukee Bucks Player Grades: Guards
Grayson Allen: B-
There was nothing overly positive or negative about Grayson Allen’s season. He had his share of ups and downs to start the year, shooting 32 percent from three in October, then 51 percent in November, then back down to 31 percent in December before going back up to 43 percent in January. He was a name attached to many trade rumors at the deadline, but the Bucks never did end up moving him.
After the deadline, he closed the year shooting a solid 39 percent from three over the last couple of months. All in all, Allen is here to make threes, and he shot 40 percent on five attempts per game, so there is not much to complain about. His defense is never going to be reliable in the playoffs, and he won’t provide much when his shot is off, but the Milwaukee Bucks now have the depth to go away from him if they need to in the postseason.
Jevon Carter: B+
Carter took on a much bigger from the get-go this season, starting in the team’s first 20 games and ending the season with 39 starts overall. He has taken over the backup point guard role when the team is fully healthy… so much so that the Bucks were comfortable trading away George Hill at the trade deadline and rolling with Carter. He has been great as a point-of-attack defender, hounding ball handlers all season.
On top of this, he has continued his tremendous shooting since he joined the Bucks last year, draining 42 percent of his threes this year and really being one of Milwaukee’s most consistent shooters (over 40 percent from three in five out of seven months during the season). He can be a little chaotic offensively at times and take some bad shots, but his production on both ends of the court has been about as good as anyone could have expected. He should have a solid role in the playoffs.
Pat Connaughton: C
If there is one Buck who was pretty disappointing this season, it’s Pat Connaughton. Not only did he miss the first month of the season, but he never was able to find any real consistency after coming back. He was solid in the middle of the season, shooting 39 percent from three from December 17 until February 17. But prior to that stretch he was at 26 percent, and since that stretch, he is at 29 percent. Overall, he had his lowest three-point percentage since 2019 and his lowest two-point percentage since 2017. It’s been a struggle for Connaughton, and if he can’t find the playoff magic that he found during the 2021 title run, he may lose some of his playoff minutes.
Jrue Holiday: A
This was a year where Holiday needed to step up even more offensively than in the past, and he delivered with an All-Star season. He averaged his most points (19.3) and assists (7.4) since 2018, and still kept up solid efficiency despite the larger role (59 percent true shooting, 48 percent from the field, and 38 percent from three). Holiday had seven games with 30+ points this season after having just two such games in his first two regular seasons in Milwaukee combined. Of course, everyone knows what Holiday brings on the defensive end as one of the best defenders in the entire league.
With Holiday on the court this season, the Bucks outscored opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions, and with him off the court, opponents outscored the Bucks by 4.7 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. That 13.2 point swing topped the team, ahead of even Giannis. Oh, and Holiday was also THE clutch guy for the Bucks this season, shooting 48 percent from three in clutch situations. Jrue Holiday was phenomenal this season, and if he keeps up a level of play offensively in the playoffs that is even 80 percent of what it was in the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks’ title chances are going to be very, very good.
Wesley Matthews: B-
Matthews was solid defensively but didn’t provide much offensively, which is about what most expected this season. He shot just 32 percent from three and 36 percent from the field, really only being out there for defense. But defensively, he held his own even at his age, showing the ability to defend some of the NBA’s best wings pretty well.
In 52.7 partial possessions where he defended Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Jayson Tatum, or Jaylen Brown, he held those players to just six points on 1-of-8 shooting. Matthews probably can’t be a reliable playoff guy throughout the entire playoffs, but he’s someone who certainly could be used in some situations if Milwaukee needs an answer defensively. The possibility that he could still be pretty useful in the playoffs at all is a win in itself, so not much to complain about from Matthews this season.