It was a revolving door of starting lineups for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, which included 25 variations to their starting unit throughout the season.
After another injury-hampered season for Khris Middleton, the Bucks were constantly looking for new lineups to try and fill the void that Middleton left being a prolific scorer. But, after getting a minor knee operation this offseason – and the team extending both him and Brook Lopez’s contracts – the Bucks brought back a large portion of their roster from a year ago, in addition to adding Malik Beasley.
With a healthy Middleton entering the season, there will be more consistency in the starting lineup. However, we could see the fifth and final spot become an opening that many players could fill throughout the year.
Milwaukee Bucks’ starting lineup option 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, Jae Crowder
Having Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez in the starting unit should be a no-brainer. However, through the first few weeks of the year, that final spot could see a variety of players step in to round out the lineup.
The Milwaukee Bucks went ahead and re-signed veteran forward Jae Crowder this off-season after acquiring him from the Phoenix Suns at the deadline. Crowder’s role was very limited in then-head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system, which frustrated him greatly during the postseason. Now that there is new leadership in Milwaukee with Coach Adrian Griffin, I expect Crowder’s role to not only increase but become a significant part of the team’s success this year.
Crowder brings great toughness on the wing as a perimeter defender, which is something the Bucks have been lacking since the departure of P.J. Tucker. Crowder is often known for being able to match up with other teams’ top scorers, and having a player in him as well as Holiday, that are both elite-level defenders, can make Milwaukee a defensive force. It would also allow Holiday to conserve energy for the offensive side of the ball and for late-game situations, knowing that Crowder has the shutdown capabilities.
What Crowder brings that doesn’t show up in the box score is his veteran leadership and knowing how to compete at a high level in the playoffs. He’s all too familiar with the Bucks from the 2021 NBA championship, where he was the defensive cornerstone for the Phoenix Suns. He started in all 22 postseason games for the Suns, including all six games in the NBA Finals.
Having his veteran presence in the starting lineup can add an experienced element to the Bucks and brings a player that has been in the finals and knows what it takes to get to that point of the season.