They always say “it is not how you start, it is how you finish”. That could not be a truer statement than with Pat Connaughton this year. A late off-season signing for Bucks GM Jon Horst spending the NBA equivalent of a $.99 gas station hot dog for a guy who played in all 82 games in the 17-18 season.
Pat was a guy who started off the season not even on Mike Budenholzer’s radar, to playing significant minutes, to falling out of the rotation and then becoming a key player in the playoff rotation. Pat saw career highs in his points per game at 6.9 (+1.5),rebounds a game 4.2 (+2.2),assists 2.0 (+.9), as well as slight increases in both steals and blocks while maintaining the same turnover ratio from the previous season (.5)
You don’t get the name Playoff Pat for no reason, and Pat had two standout games during this seasons playoffs with the first being the second game of the first round of the playoffs against the Pistons going for his playoff high with 18 points on 8-10 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and making a big impact defensively with 4 blocks.
The second game carried a lot more weight being in the second round against a Celtics team who came out and stole game one against the Bucks, so there was obviously more at stake for the Bucks in game three trying to get that game back from Boston on the road. Pat did not disappoint against his hometown crowd producing much of the same with some efficient scoring getting 14 points on 5-11 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.
In a seasons of highs, Pat’s lowest light of the season was probably something that he did off the basketball court. That would be his first pitch before a Brewers game where the former MLB draft pick (as a pitcher) had a less than impressive first pitch.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton was a former MLB draft pick.
At least the form of his first pitch was good? 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/3XQOa68h4d
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 2, 2019
As long as you’re using that golden arm to drain three’s Pat we could care less about how your pitching arm is. All jokes aside, the main concern that I saw from Pat’s game this season was on the defensive end. Yes he had plenty of highlight blocks and steals that lead to transition dunks, but that tendency to gamble lead to some easy buckets as well as Pat looking lost on the defensive end, especially when the Bucks were in a switch heavy defensive scheme.
The only other glaring issue with Pat’s game is getting some more consistency in his shooting stroke. He shot 46% from the field this year, which is a fantastic number, but when Pat is not shooting a 3 he is taking a shot from the rim and his 3 point percentage was 33% on the year.
Grade for the season: A-
If Planet Pat was signed to his two-year deal and never saw got off of the end of the bench, it would hard to be mad over the signing since his contract was so cheap, especially compared to some of the other role-player’s salaries that the team started the year with. The fact that he helped greatly contribute to playoff wins, especially with a stellar game two performance against Detroit and game three performance against Boston in the playoffs Pat was a steal late in the season and another great addition by Jon Horst and this Bucks staff.
Role Next Season:
With the futures of many key Bucks contributors uncertain, it is not unreasonable to say that Pat Connaughton will have ample opportunity to get run in Coach Budenzolzer’s rotation. The question is can Pat keep a consistent level of play? My guess is that Pat will have a similar being a break in case of emergency role player for most of the 2019-2020 campaign.
(All stats via basketball-reference.com & media from cut4)