Welcome to the 2022-23 edition of the Bucks Weekly Spotlight. Each Thursday, we’ll track the progress of the players who are trying to help Milwaukee make another championship run and give updates on other players from the previous week.
This is the 4th edition of the 2023-23 Bucks Weekly Spotlight.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Guard Grayson Allen
Allen made headlines this past week, and for good reason.
Against Dallas on Nov. 27, he sank seven 3-pointers – tying his career high – all in the first half. After the game, Allen said he felt like he could close his eyes and the shot would have gone in, that’s how much he was in the zone.
Allen is second on Milwaukee in 3-pointers with 37, amazingly 10 behind leader Brook Lopez, but he’s shooting at a 44.0% clip (currently the 10th-best single-season rate in franchise history), which is tops on the Bucks.
In his now 84 games with Milwaukee, Allen is shooting 41.4% from downtown.
Allen is the latest 3-point gunner the Bucks have brought in over the years, although most have been quick stops in town such as Bryn Forbes and Kyle Korver.
Giannis Antetokounmpo mentioned those two as some of the best 3-point shooters he’s played with, along with guys like George Hill (in the bubble year), Steve Novak, Tony Snell and Mirza Teletovic. Antetokounmpo listed Pat Connaughton as the best, mainly because of the connection he and Connaughton had formed over five years and the trust he has in him.
There is also, of course, Khris Middleton, who Giannis said separates himself from the pack by being able to create his own shot.
Allen, also mentioned by Antetokounmpo, seems to be in the middle of those great shooters listed above and Middleton.
In 18 games this season (16 starts), Allen is averaging career bests in points (11.2), assists (2.7), steals (0.9; also done in 2020-21 with the Grizzlies) and 3-point field-goal percentage (44.0%).
“He can pump fake, take a side dribble, step back, he can attack the closer. He's not just a great shooter,” Antetokounmpo said of Allen, “if you're sleeping and you're being lazy, he's going to drive the ball ... and go and dunk on you. It makes him dangerous. As much as they respect the 3, they have to respect the drive, also. That gives him more time and space to set his feet or get to the spot he wants and knock it down. ... When Grayson is aggressive like that and playing defense and making his shots, we're a different team.”
A better team.
In Milwaukee’s 109-103 win Wednesday over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Allen shrugged off one of his less-active shooting nights — he finished 4-for-9 overall and 1-for-4 from deep — by nailing what amounted to the game-winner, a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the wing with 30.9 seconds left.
Antetokounmpo had the best seat in the house for it, having fouled out with a minute remaining.
— This week in Giannis: Antetokounmpo is streaking. He’s hit 30+ points in five straight games (three this past week) and has made double-digit field goals in each. We’ll just give you the rundown: In a 15-point win over Cleveland on Nov. 25, Antetokounmpo had 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds, assisted on six shots and blocked two. Two nights later vs. Dallas, he finished with 30-11-4 on 11-of-19 shooting. He was most active on the glass against the Knicks, pulling down 13 boards to complement his 37 points and seven dimes. They call him the “Greek Freak” for good reason.
— Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday is struggling a little with his shot. His last three times out, Holiday has sank 20 of 48 looks (41.2%), salvaged slightly by going 5-for-14 (35.7%) from behind the arc. His production elsewhere is freckled. His rebound and assist highs over the last three games were six (Nov. 27) and five twice (Nov. 25, 30). Holiday of course, tends to make an impact defensively, which is what he did vs. Dallas and New York, collecting five steals to bring his season total to 26 (1.6 per game, tied for his career best, accomplished in eight seasons previous).
— Pat Connaughton has played in four games for Milwaukee since returning from successful surgery to repair the fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand. His first three were underwhelming, as one could expect. But on Wednesday, he showed signs of life. Connaughton was on the floor for 23:41 and poured in 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting. He took eight 3-point attempts — albeit only making two — his most in a regular-season game since hucking 11 at Minnesota on March 19 last season. Oh, Pat recorded four rebounds at the Garden, as well. It’s good to see a key bench player get acclimated again.
— We mentioned Lopez earlier so we might as well check in on “Splash Mountain.” In the last week, Lopez averaged 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks. The latter number is ridiculous — Lopez had six blocks vs. the Cavaliers on Nov. 25, his fifth game this season with 5+ rejections. He’s beginning to run away on the NBA’s blocks and blocks per game leaderboard. Lopez’s 57 total blocks is 10 more than the next closest player (Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton), while his 2.9 stuffs per game is better than Indiana’s Myles Turner’s 2.6 — Turner for what it’s worth (it’s worth something) has played in four fewer contests.