2 NBA free agents who could replace Joe Ingles for the Milwaukee Bucks

Apr 7, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Memphis Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks
Dec 15, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2 – Dillon Brooks

Dillon Brooks is another proven role player with the grit and braggadocio the Milwaukee Bucks could look to consider to take Ingles’ place. To borrow P.J. Tucker’s nomenclature, Brooks is a dawg.

He’s certainly a more brash and inflammatory player than Ingles, but he can do the things Ingles did, albeit to a lesser degree. He is also a generally good, if not average, ball-handler, and he is also a good finisher at the rim.

Standing at 6-foot-6, Brooks can more than hold his own when tasked with defending a variety of positions. He is a gaudy, switchable defender on the ball on top of being a competent help defender. Brooks is a veteran player with significant playoff experience — a valuable commodity in today’s league, and one that the Bucks sorely need. According to NBA.com/stats, Brooks held opposing forwards to 41.8 percent FG efficiency as the closest defender. Opposing teams’ offensive ratings also went down -4.3 points per 100 possessions in the minutes Brooks played versus when he sat on the bench, per Cleaning the Glass.

The biggest downside with Brooks isn’t his on-court theatrics: it’s that he’s wildly inefficient. He shot 32.6 percent from 3-point range and a horrid 39.6 percent from the field overall. Even with numbers like this, Brooks has made it clear he wants a bigger offensive role than he’s gotten thus far with Memphis.

Though Ingles only averaged 2.3 assists per game, he was a more than capable ball-handler to facilitate the pick-and-roll whenever he was called upon. In particular, he was able to build up strong chemistry with big man Brook Lopez and was one of the main reasons Lopez had his best scoring season for the Bucks.

For a 6-foot-9 forward, Ingles actually handled the ball for 30.2 percent of his offensive possessions and finished the season at the 71st percentile among pick-and-roll ball handlers, according to play-type data on NBA.com/stats. Ingles has always been a good passer who can create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

To a much lesser degree, Brooks is one of the more affordable free agents who can replace some of that pedigree. He also handled the ball over a fifth of his offensive plays. But he only scored on 35.4 percent of these opportunities — good for 0.76 points per possession. It’s clear he’s not as crafty a ball handler as Ingles, as he finished in the 29th percentile in ball handling. But he’s available, and he has the reps: perhaps lowering his frequency and giving him a better pick-and-roll partner would up his numbers in this area.

Given Brooks’ reputation being down in the dumps this season, the Milwaukee Bucks can look to offer him a prove-it contract to give him a chance to play on a winning team.