TThe shakeup, the new Bucks lineup. A few games into this, I was skeptical but at this point it is safe to say this lineup works. Miles Plumlee and Oj Mayo starting rather than MCW and Greg Monroe. In a Bucks’ season that has seen Chris Copeland start, Jabari and Giannis off the bench, and now this, it’s safe to say this lineup works better than the others. In fact, they are 4-1 with this lineup. Yes, a small sample size but that is the best five game stretch the Bucks have had all season.
A problem with the old lineup was that there were 5 scorers on the floor at once. Not much of anything else. I really like having Plumlee in there as a shot blocker and also, the guy can dunk. Against the Lakers he went 7-7 with 14 points with at least 5 dunks. Also, another problem with the old lineup was shooting. Now, Oj mayo is in there who is a guy who can spread the floor, despite a down year for Mayo who is only shooting around 29% from three, teams know they must respect him from that distance because he will knock down the open three, which opens up the floor for guys like Giannis and Jabari who have both been playing better than ever. Giannis had his first career triple double against LAL and has been averaging 19 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.4 apg in the last five games. While Jabari Parker had a career high 28 points and 51 minutes on Saturday against the Hawks, while averaging 18.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg in the last five games.
A big issue with all the injuries and the old lineup has been depth. Monroe and Carter-Williams coming off the bench completely fixes that problem. Both Monroe and MCW’s numbers have stayed almost identical to their season averages, just now that production is coming off the bench while the Bucks two young future stars are getting better. Throw in the fact the Khris Middleton has quietly been averaging 19.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.2 apg since the new lineup started. This has not been anything different since mid december for Middleton.
It is great to see them play this well and it makes me wonder if this lineup will continue all year. At this rate I think so. My only problem with it is that Greg Monroe is too good of a player to come off the bench. MCW is a very good point guard off the bench. You have to think, no matter what he says, Monroe would not like coming off the bench long term, that is just how it is with big name players like that. He is surely enjoying the success to this point but eventually he will want that starting role back.
This lineup is a great thing. Our three franchise cornerstones all get more shots, better numbers, more production. Our bench has much more depth and a guy that has 27 games where he has not racked up a minute, is now starting and playing which is well deserved. I am not sure what Kidd will do when Henson returns but Plumlee is the best option in this lineup.