Most important role players for the Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton
One of the steadiest veteran presences on the Milwaukee Bucks over these last few seasons has been Pat Connaughton.
Whether it’s been big-time shot-making from deep, getting 50/50 balls and making hustle plays, or filling in as a starter when the team’s been banged up, Connaughton has done it all. Some have even argued that Connaughton should take over that fifth starting spot in the lineup over Allen and bring his versatility to the starting rotation that Allen, at times, lacks. Entering his sixth year in Milwaukee, Connaughton will continue to bring his energy, athleticism and solid 3-point shooting to the table.
There is a downside to Connaughton, which is consistency. At times, he can run into issues with going very cold from three, which was evident from his 33.9 percent shooting from three last year, which is the lowest it’s been over the last three seasons. He also struggles with getting separation on his defender, which can limit his offensive production.
He also shot the lowest field goal percentage last year that he’s had during his time in Milwaukee, at a 39.2 percent clip, which can also be seen as a sign of losing his productivity. With that being said, if you look at his numbers during the playoffs, they saw a marked improvement from the regular season. He averaged a career-best 12 points per game this past season in the first round, and in 2022’s Eastern Conference semifinals, he put up a 10.3 points per game average.
But the Milwaukee Bucks rely on Pat Connaughton to do so much more than score. He’s consistently hovered around six to nine points per game and is normally a 43 to 45 percent shooter from the floor, but it’s the little things he does that make the difference.
When you look at his +/-, which is a stat that measures the team’s performance when the player was on the court, it saw a considerable increase from 2022 to 2023. In 2022, he had a -26 plus/minus despite playing a career-high 26 minutes a game. Last year, that number soared to +134 for the season in 23.7 minutes per game.
It’s clear that the Milwaukee Bucks benefit more with Connaughton on the floor than when he’s not, and I envision his role continuing to be significant with this year’s team in 2023-2024.