The Bucks’ bench ranked 17th in the NBA in points per game in 2022-23. They averaged just 34.3 points per game off the bench. In the advanced stats, the Bucks’ bench also ranked 15th in the NBA in net rating in 2022-23, getting outscored by opponents by -0.3 points per 100 possessions. They were also 21st in offensive rating, pouring in just 54.3 points per 100.
This is all just to call attention to the fact that the Bucks have not had much success developing their young players in recent years. In the past five years, only one Bucks player drafted outside of the lottery has become a regular starter in the NBA in Donte DiVincenzo.
There are other statistics that point to Milwaukee’s lack of development, and the overall top-heaviness of this team. For instance, they were 17th in rookie minutes per game, and 17th in bench points per game.
There’s a palpable lack of urgency in investing in this team’s future. While they’re certainly in win-now mode, the Bucks are also getting farther away from their sole championship season with this top-heavy core, and they are not getting any younger. As it currently stands, Giannis Antetokounmpo is 28 years old, Khris Middleton is 31, and Jrue Holiday is 32. If the Bucks want to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference, they need to find ways to replace the production of their aging stars. Developing rookies is one way to do this.
These stats only prove that it was truly the right time to move on from Mike Budenholzer. The system he put in place was great for winning regular-season games, but it had its clear deficiencies come playoff time. The Bucks had underachieved in the playoffs in recent years, and the reasons why are clear.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.