Bucks coach Doc Rivers hints at possible trick up his sleeve against Pacers

Rivers may have to utilize the element of surprise with the Bucks banged up
New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks
New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

This entire year has felt like one big experiment for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Whether it is with the revolving door of coaches, the integration of Damian Lillard, switching up the starting lineup, or whatever else, the team has constantly tried new things to see what sticks on the wall. With the NBA Playoffs on the horizon, it's not ideally the time to experiment, but with the Bucks banged up, Doc Rivers might not have much of a choice.

Leading superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo's status for Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers is in doubt, with the Greek Freak dealing with a calf strain. Furthermore, Damian Lillard is dealing with an adductor issue, so he may not be 100 percent. Sophomore wing AJ Green, who had been carving out a role for himself in the mix, is also dealing with a nasty ankle sprain that has kept him sidelined lately.

With so many key cogs battling the injury bug, Rivers may be forced to dive deep into his bag of tricks and utilize players he hasn't relied on too heavily this season to kick off the postseason series against the Indiana Pacers. This is precisely what he hinted at in a recent session with the media, saying that youngsters Andre Jackson Jr. and MarJon Beauchamp could possibly see the floor for Milwaukee.

"[Andre Jackson Jr.] is like our relief pitcher, right? He comes in, him and MarJon, both may have a chance to play in this series depending on who plays for us."

Bucks coach Doc Rivers hints at possible trick up his sleeve against Pacers

It would certainly be surprising to see Rivers feature either of these two, let alone in a playoff series, given how little they have played under him. Since Rivers took over as coach, Jackson has played the 12th-most minutes (123.2) on the squad, while Beauchamp is 14th (68) out of 19. Outside of Green, who is 10th in minutes in this timeframe, the youngsters haven't gotten much burn.

Yet, with all of the injuries, the coach could very well give them a shot, which is something that many Milwaukee Bucks fans, especially this writer, have been clamoring for.

Both players could help the Bucks in this series against the Pacers beyond just being a healthy body. One of the reasons Indiana was so successful against this team in the regular season was due to their fast pace, athleticism and youth, something Milwaukee never could combat with their veteran roster. These two playing would not even up the playing field, but they could certainly help to a degree.

They're both uber-athletic 6-foot-6 wings who love to get out in transition, make hustle plays and play quality defense. All of these, especially the defense, could be useful attributes against a team like this. The Bucks will have to slow down budding star Tyrese Haliburton, something they have not had much success against during their five regular season meetings. Could either of these two get a crack?

Both Beauchamp and Jackson have the quickness and length to potentially bother Tyrese Haliburton to some degree. In their five regular season meetings, Milwaukee sent Malik Beasley at the guard, and it didn't quite pan out for them, with Haliburton scoring 38 points on 55.2 percent shooting with him as the primary defender, per NBA.com.

To be fair to Beasley, Haliburton is a difficult matchup for anyone, let alone someone who has never been known as a defensive ace. Rather than throwing Beasley his direction and hoping for the best, the Bucks could experiment and throw one of their youngsters at him. No one would expect either of them to shut him down, but they could possibly make things more challenging for him.

Milwaukee also needs players who can get back in transition against the team that averaged the fourth-most fast break points in the NBA this season. Especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the sidelines for some time, these two could help pick up some of the slack.

In reality, are these two going to see significant minutes against Indiana? Probably not. Yet, with the team injured, they may get a few minutes here and there. Like Jackson did vs. the Toronto Raptors recently, perhaps one of them could give the team a significant jolt. At a time when the team has been struggling, that could go a long way for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sure, neither are very experienced, and giving them minutes in the playoffs after scarcely using them in the regular season may mean they will be rusty, but sometimes the best thing a coach can do for a player is throw them out on the floor to see what happens. Like they have been doing for much of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks might as well try it out and see if it sticks.

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