3 Bucks who are underperforming, 2 exceeding expectations at the All-Star break

These Bucks have exceeded or underperformed expectations in the first half.

Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Milwaukee Bucks are still trying to find themselves. They won 35 of their 56 games before the All-Star break and sit third in the Eastern Conference, but there have been plenty of rough patches. The Bucks are two games under .500 on the road and made a mid-season coaching change to Doc Rivers. They hoped the veteran head coach could fix their defense, but the team has more questions than answers at this point.

It is a championship or bust season in Cream City after the Bucks traded for Damian Lillard. They are virtually all-in and must figure it out with their current group. Milwaukee has the talent, but can they put it all together to make a deep playoff run?

Their overall play has been disappointing, but not every player has struggled. Here is a look at who is standing out and needs to play better at the All-Star break.

Underperforming: Pat Connaughton

Connaughton has been a key rotation piece for the Bucks since they signed him in free agency in 2018. The 6’5 guard played 23.7 minutes per game in the playoffs during their 2021 title run and has been on the floor for over 22 each night in each of the last three postseasons.

His playing time and production are down this season. Connaughton is averaging 5.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 21.3 minutes per game. He made 45.6 percent of his field goals and 38.5 percent on his 3-point attempts, which are above his career averages, but his advanced metrics are down. The 31-year-old has the third-lowest win shares per 48 minutes and the fourth-lowest value over replacement player (VORP) of his nine-year NBA career.

The Milwaukee Bucks need Pat Connaughton to step it up after the All-Star break, especially on the defensive end of the floor. They are light on wings, and the team has by far the worst defensive rating with Connaughton in the game of his career. At least, the addition of Malik Beasley has helped.

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