Doc Rivers makes head-turning statement about Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves
Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

After a sluggish start to the season, Pat Connaughton has been playing much better as of late for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Connaughton's impact has not gone unnoticed under the watchful eye of Doc Rivers, who made an incredibly interesting statement about Connaughton recently, highlighting how impactful the guard was for the Bucks when Rivers was coaching the Philadelphia 76ers and how he is seeing that player on the floor consistently once again.

"We talked, I want to say around All-Star break, and I told him [some] stuff between him and I, and he has responded. He's been phenomenal. He's aggressive. He's rebounding. He's playing like the Pat Connaughton we were scared of when I was in Philadelphia."

Doc Rivers makes head-turning statement about Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton

Connaughton might not have been as fear-inducing as someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it is interesting to hear how someone previously on the opposite bench viewed the guard. In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, Connaughton was a tremendous role player for the Bucks, playing his role as well as anyone in his shoes could. Yet, that play had dropped off over the past season and a half.

Those struggles seemingly made Rivers speak to Connaughton during the break to try and uplift him.

Indeed, Connaughton has been much better for the Bucks post-All-Star break. In nine games thus far, he's averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 49 percent from the floor and a quality 38.9 percent from 3-point land. Connaughton's scoring and shooting efficiency have shot up compared to his pre-All-Star break numbers, and there might be a clear indicator as to why that is.

Prior to the All-Star break, Connaughton's name was shrouded in trade rumors. Whenever the Bucks were linked to someone, the guard was oftentimes the first player brought up. The type of uncertainty where one is constantly wondering if they will be forced to relocate at any moment can undoubtedly have an impact on their performance, and it seems that was true for Connaughton.

Now, nine games is not the largest sample size, but Connaughton has shown that he can be of use to this Milwaukee team as an impact player off the bench. His play in 2021 in the same role was one of the many factors that helped them win it all that season, and if they want to go all the way again, they could use this type of strong play from him consistently down the stretch and in the NBA Playoffs.

Connaughton's value for Milwaukee comes from his ability to be a jack of all trades. He provides key perimeter shooting but can also attack the hoop, rebound and play pesky defense, all of which has been on display at a high level over these past few games. Whatever Rivers and Connaughton talked about during the break, it seems to be working, which could be huge for the Bucks down the line.

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