It looks like the Milwaukee Bucks have found their offensive groove. Defensively? Not so much, as the team has struggled to defend consistently in the absence of Jae Crowder.
The loss hurt Milwaukee in a multitude of ways, not only defensively. One question involved whether Milwaukee had enough scoring coming off the bench. That remains to be seen, as Milwaukee is 17th in the NBA in bench scoring (33.8 points per game), per NBA.com. Several Bucks have stepped up in Crowder's place, and let's highlight them now.
No. 1- Cameron Payne
Since being signed to the Bucks before the season started, Payne has filled the backup point guard role nicely and flashed playmaking abilities.
One of the biggest reasons why Milwaukee didn't have success last year was they didn't have an adequate backup point guard to Jrue Holiday. Even in the summer, the worry was that Damian Lillard would have to carry the bulk of the minutes at the point guard position.
But since being signed, Payne has filled his role as a solid complimentary player on a title-contending team. So far, Payne is averaging 6.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 21 games played thus far. He's also shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 45 percent from three.
The only knock on Payne is that he doesn't add a ton on defense, and the Milwaukee bench has struggled at times to defend this season. Last season, the team had players who were better on defense than offense. This season, the roles have flipped where they have players who are better on offense than defense.
Either way, the Cam Payne signing has paid dividends at this point in the season, as he's given the team a nice boost with Crowder out.