Milwaukee Bucks' young players possess key attributes that current rotation lacks

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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"I worry about it, yeah," said Doc Rivers after the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night when asked about fast-paced, ball-moving teams being a problem for his team.

The Kings are among the many teams who have posed problems for Milwaukee this season, and it's largely due to their fast-paced play, energy and especially athleticism. De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk both scorched the Bucks, slithering through the lane - and by Milwaukee's defenders with ease - for easy buckets again and again.

A big reason why uber-athletic players have thrived against Milwaukee this season is because the team does not have many options to combat them with in the rotation. Jae Crowder, Malik Beasley and Pat Connaughton are the team's top complementary wing and guard defenders, and none of them can match the speed or athleticism of players like Fox or Monk.

Elsewhere, Brook Lopez is still a great rim-protector, but at 7-foot-1, 282lbs - and not to mention 36 years old - he is not the most mobile player. That's why players like Fox and Monk, who combined to shoot 5-of-8 when defended by Lopez in this matchup, can have an advantage against the center unless he is in perfect position right at the hoop.

The Bucks are one of the oldest teams in the league, and with age comes a decline in athleticism and energy, which has hurt the team. If Rivers wants to inject energy, pace and athleticism into his lineup, there are a few young players he could certainly experiment with in the rotation moving forward.

Milwaukee Bucks' young players possess key attributes that current rotation lacks

Sticking with the contest against Sacramento, rookie Andre Jackson Jr. showcased more athleticism and energy than about every other Buck combined. In mop-up duty, he took off for a putback dunk so authoritatively that his head was above the rim when he threw it down. Even Kings wing Kevin Huerter was in awe of what he saw.

Fans have been clamoring for Jackson to get more minutes all season long for the very reason Rivers is concerned about the Bucks going up against opponents like this. He's one of the best athletes this roster has to offer, jumping out of the gym for dunks, quickly getting out in transition and playing nice defense against quicker players.

Another reason to love what Jackson brings to the table is his passing. Rivers talked about how the ball doesn't move enough at times, and the rookie could perhaps help with that. He's already shown in limited minutes this season that he has the tools to be a terrific passer in this league like he was at the collegiate level, which could certainly be useful off of the Bucks' bench.

MarJon Beauchamp, who many fans (this writer) believed could be Milwaukee's ultimate X-factor in his second season, checks off a lot of those same boxes. He's not the passer Jackson is, but he has shown glimpses of defensive potential and could always make a highlight play in transition. Instead, he has primarily been on the bench for Milwaukee.

Even Chris Livingston, who the Bucks made the richest final pick in NBA history this past draft, has a decent amount of athleticism in his arsenal. With that athleticism paired with a 6-foot-6 with a 220lb frame, Livingston has all of the makings to be a quality defender. Yet, at just 20 years old, he is still a very raw player and has only featured in 16 games for the team.

Circling back to highlight dunks, Jackson was not the only Buck to make waves on social media in the past few days. Newcomer Jaylin Galloway, currently playing for the Wisconsin Herd, made a fantastic first impression in his team debut by throwing down a vicious dunk on his opponent in transition that caught the attention of many.

Galloway was an intriguing signing from the moment it was announced. Coming over from Australia, the 6-foot-7 forward possesses incredible athleticism, as evidenced by the dunk, and has a knack for making plays on the defensive side of the basketball. Given that he's on a two-way deal, not too many fans were expecting him to play for the Bucks, but still, plays like this have to catch eyes.

Rivers has shown that he's willing to play at least one young player, as he's utilized second-year wing AJ Green quite a bit since taking over. Part of that may be because Green, 24, is the oldest player of the bunch and may be more "NBA ready" due to that. Yet, though he has shown improvement on the defensive end lately, he's still not the athlete that other young players like Jackson or Beauchamp are.

Green has earned his opportunity, but that does not mean he can patch Milwaukee's big issue now.

All of these players possess the athleticism, energy and youthful attributes that could make them rather useful pieces for Milwaukee. Would inserting any of them into the fold eliminate the Bucks' shortcomings in these particular areas? Not entirely, but they could certainly do their part to help.

One big disadvantage each of these first or second years players possess is their lack of experience, which can be problematic on a team gunning for an NBA title. They are oftentimes prone to make the mistakes that young players do, which can cost the team. Yet, the best way to learn is still game reps, and given the team's current needs, it feels like throwing at least one of them out there could help.

Sometimes, you have to live with the mistakes of young players to eventually get the best out of them in the long run.

Of the bunch, Jackson appears the most ready to make an impact. Though he has shown he has an issue with fouling, he can still be a positive impact player on both sides of the basketball. Looking for as much help defensively as possible against these extremely athletic teams, letting Jackson guard quicker players like De'Aaron Fox or Malik Monk would certainly be worth a try.

If players are coming into the rotation, others must leave or at least see their time decrease. A young player should snatch minutes from Danilo Gallinari, who has struggled mightily since coming aboard. Unless Pat Connaughton can get into a rhythm and consistently play high level basketball, it wouldn't hurt to lessen his minutes a tad to make room for a piece like Jackson to see some time.

There are now 16 regular season games left on Milwaukee's schedule before the NBA Playoffs begin. This team has a lot to figure out then, especially defensively, and if Rivers is willing to experiment all of his options, throwing a young player, likely Jackson, in the fold over one of the veterans may be worth doing to see how he holds up.

If he does not, Milwaukee may continue to have a tough time when facing these athletic, fast foes, which could be a major problem when the NBA Playoffs begin.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.

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