Milwaukee Bucks: Starting lineup, rotation after Damian Lillard trade

PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 02 (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - APRIL 02 (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images /

Milwaukee Bucks: Starting lineup after Lillard trade

The Milwaukee Bucks have three starters from last season who are unlikely to come off the bench, and Damian Lillard is sure to start. Who will fill the final spot?

Point Guard: Damian Lillard

Lillard cannot replace the defense of Jrue Holiday, but on offense it’s hard to think of a better player to pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Defensive coaches will be staying up at night trying to find a way to stop that 1-2 punch.

Shooting Guard: Pat Connaughton

This is the most likely option for coach Adrian Griffin to replace Grayson Allen in the starting lineup. Connaughton is a veteran with a lot of Bucks DNA, and as a 35.9 percent 3-point shooter he won’t overly compromise the spacing. He is a solid defender and plus rebounder, but he also has never played starter minutes for an entire season.

If the Bucks want to replace Allen most directly, Malik Beasley is a new addition who can step into the lineup as an off-ball movement shooter. Another crazier idea (but a potential option for closing lineups) is to shift Khris Middleton up a spot and play big, with either Jae Crowder or Bobby Portis entering the lineup.

Small Forward: Khris Middleton

Middleton played just 33 games last season due to injuries, and the Bucks brought him off the bench for 14 of those games because of a minutes restriction. It’s hard to see the Bucks doing anything but starting Middleton, but they will almost certainly look to keep his minutes down.

Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo

The two-time MVP must be ecstatic to have Damian Lillard join the team, a pairing he has mentioned before. He may not be as young as he was as he enters his age-29 season but he was still a Top-3 finisher for MVP last season and will be back for more.

Center: Brook Lopez

The secret to the lineup continues to be Brook Lopez, who nearly walked in free agency. His rim protection and size on defense paired with his shooting on offense are an underrated reason why the Bucks have been so successful in recent years.