It was announced that on Friday July 27th the Milwaukee Bucks signed free-agent shooting guard Pat Connaughton to a two-year deal. Last season Connaughton played in all 82 games for the Portland Trailblazers where he averaged 5.4 points a game on 42% shooting and 35% from deep.
Jon Horst and Mike Budenholzer are stacking the deck and adding another shooter to the Milwaukee Bucks roster. Pat Connaughton is a fine addition to this Bucks roster; a roster who routinely was last in the NBA in 3-point attempts. The NBA is changing, and the Bucks are the late adapters. Only changing their ways because it is necessarily, like your grandpa who is still holding onto that Nokia phone.
Connaughton’s regular season stats do not jump off the page, but when you look at his per-36 numbers you see just how productive he really is on the floor. With his per 36 numbers his points per game jumped from 5.4 to 10.7, his rebounds from 1.6 to 4.5 and his assists from 1.1 to 2.2 points a game.
When looking at his game play from a non-numerical perspective there are somethings that stand out. The first is his basketball I.Q. When looking at Pat play he has a knack for exploiting gaps in the defense and using those gaps to cut to the basket for easy buckets.
This is the NBA, more times than not when a player goes to the rim it will not be uncontested. This does not seem to be a problem for Connaughton who seems to be comfortable playing through contact. The Trailblazers used this to their advantage last season running plays for Connaughton where he cuts to the rim for a lob pass that would lead to an alley-oop or quick layup. With a 44-inch max vertical leap Connaughton can get those lobs more times than not.
The last thing that stood out to me about Pats game is how hard he plays. When revisiting some of his games from last season you could routinely see him diving on the floor for loose balls, following his missed shots, rebounding and just doing some things that you wouldn’t see from some other role-players in the Association.
Pat Connaughton is exactly what you are looking for in a role-player in the NBA. He can shoot, he plays smart, is efficient and plays hard. With Jabari signing with the Bulls I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees most of his minutes at the small forward position. Regardless of where he plays, I am sure Pat will fit in well with Mike Budenholzer system.
Welcome to Milwaukee Pat!
(All stats via basketballreference.com)