The Milwaukee Bucks are officially set to be without a significant contributor for at least the next eight weeks of action.
Jae Crowder started the year off red-hot and was one of the team's best players throughout the first few games. However, he's now set to miss significant time as he undergoes surgery to fix a left adductor and abdominal tear. This is a big blow for the Bucks, who needed a strong perimeter defender like Crowder as they worked out some kinks defensively.
With the veteran now sidelined, the Bucks will have to turn to some of their younger players to pick up the slack for the time being. They will likely be thrown into the action head first, as they all have the tools to make an impact when they are on the floor. Their roles will likely be bigger than what the team envisioned, so their accelerated development will be essential.
Accelerated development for young Bucks is vital after Jae Crowder injury
Without Crowder, the Bucks are down a tough, versatile, and switchable perimeter defender who can take on a handful of different positions. Two players who are bound to see more minutes in his place are MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson Jr. The tandem has seen time in the rotation but not consistently. That's likely about to change.
Beauchamp, 23, is off to a solid start to his sophomore season. The young wing is putting together averages of 7.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and an assist per contest while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three in 17.4 minutes. This is also while being one of the team's better perimeter defenders, making every possession tough on his opponents.
Jackson, 22, hasn't stuffed the stat sheet as much, having averaged 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in eight minutes per game, but his presence has still been felt. He's always hustling on the floor, attacking the glass for rebounds or outright hounding opposing players. The offense is a work in progress, but right now, his defensive output is far more important. The potential is there.
The type of youth, athleticism, and versatility that these two possess on defense is something the Bucks lack on defense outside of these two. Crowder's absence hurts them even more in that vein, which is why these two will be so important. They can step in and utilize their intangibles to take on tough matchups to help this team compete harder defensively.
There will undeniably be growing pains, as these are two young and inexperienced players. Still, it will be necessary for Milwaukee to endure that. Whether they're fouling a bit much or being a tad too risky with their decision-making, learning from game experience will better them long-term. The Bucks have to showcase trust in these two young players.
Who knows, perhaps the Bucks could look to get Chris Livingston, their other second round pick in this past draft, involved with Crowder out. He's a bulky 6-foot-6 forward with athleticism and a knack for rebounding the ball. At 19, he's incredibly raw as a player, but perhaps they could look to give the youngster an extended look without Crowder to see what they have in the forward.
These next eight weeks without Crowder will be an opportunity for Beauchamp, Jackson, and maybe even Livingston to prove they belong in this rotation and accelerate their development.
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