With Adrian Griffin taking over the helm of the Milwaukee Bucks, the season looms with a whirlwind of inquiries. One primary question that dances on the minds of fans and analysts alike is how he’ll craft his rotation.
As we enter the season, nine players appear as locks for prominent playing time—Damian Lillard, Cameron Payne, Malik Beasley, Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton, Jae Crowder, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis.
Will Griffin venture beyond this nucleus for his regular rotation? Is there room for the young players to carve their niche on the court? Before the season’s curtain is drawn, let’s dive into what the rotation could look like.
- Damian Lillard
- Cameron Payne
Lillard is the undisputed conductor of the Bucks’ point guards, set to take the court for no fewer than 35 minutes a night, a threshold he’s crossed in every season of his career. The rest of the playing time at point guard appears earmarked for Payne, a solid backup who might even share the floor with Lillard occasionally. Payne’s sweet spot likely resides around the 20-minute mark each night.
The remaining options in the Bucks’ point guard stable include two-way players TyTy Washington Jr. and Lindell Wigginton, who might see action in pinch situations, but it’s more probable that Milwaukee explores unconventional choices. Enter Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and maybe even Andre Jackson Jr., all potential third “point guards”, ready to step up when needed.
- Malik Beasley
- Pat Connaughton
- MarJon Beauchamp
- AJ Green
The wing position presents one of the most intriguing narratives to follow. Beasley has been crowned the starter as the regular season approaches, but his standing remains far from secure. A sharpshooter from beyond the arc, he brings offensive firepower to the starting lineup, but questions linger about his defensive capabilities.
Connaughton, a pet-favorite under Budenholzer, faces an uncertain future under Griffin. His three-point shooting struggled last season and extended into the preseason, posing doubts about his reliability in this aspect. Defensively, he’s a serviceable player, showcasing the positional versatility favored by Griffin.
Beauchamp is on a quest to define his role within the team and carve out consistent playing time. While not impossible to outshine the players ahead of him, it’s a challenging endeavor. A.J. Green, on the other hand, might serve as a situational spark plug, entering the game to provide an offensive punch from the perimeter during brief stints.
- Khris Middleton
- Jae Crowder
- Andre Jackson Jr.
- Chris Livingston
The forward depth chart is a tale of two veterans leading the way, flanked by two promising rookies. For Middleton, the primary objective this season is straightforward: stay healthy. If he achieves this, he’ll deliver the most efficient scoring season of his career.
Crowder, on the other hand, is seeking redemption after a disappointing 2022-23 season. The Bucks require a defensive stalwart to rise to the occasion, and Crowder aims to answer that call. The offseason has hopefully recharged his legs for this challenge.
Andre Jackson Jr. emerges as a player of intrigue. His versatility enables him to fill several roles, contingent on Griffin’s strategy. Despite his non-existent three-point shooting, he thrives in the realm of active and dynamic play, both with and without the ball. As for Chris Livingston, it seems he’s poised for a developmental season from the bench, shaping his potential for the future.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Brook Lopez
- Bobby Portis
- Robin Lopez
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Budenholzer’s reliance on just three bigs in his regular rotation seems likely to continue under Griffin’s leadership. This approach makes sense, primarily due to the lack of a capable fourth big man. In such cases, Robin Lopez and Thanasis Antetokounmpo should remain reserved for emergency situations, as their skill sets are limited.
The trio of Antetokounmpo, B. Lopez, and Portis possesses an abundance of talent, rendering the need for additional bigs less pressing. Antetokounmpo, in particular, is poised for a remarkable season. He’ll capitalize on the defensive attention that Lillard garners, finding ample one-on-one opportunities that play to his strengths.
Keep an eye on B. Lopez’s evolving role. No longer confined to a drop coverage or spot-up shooter role, he’ll be far more dynamic, actively engaged at both ends of the court.
Portis emerges as a potential standout for the Bucks this season. If Griffin chooses to stagger the minutes of Antetokounmpo and Lillard, Portis is slated for substantial playing time alongside the Bucks’ new star. His pick-and-roll proficiency, ability to execute short rolls, and knack for creating plays for himself and teammates will make him a valuable asset.