It was an indifferent second year in Milwaukee for Tony Snell, who across the board saw a dip in production after a career season in 2016/17. Snell signed a 4 year, 46 million dollar deal in the summer, and the hopes were high that he could provide a solid supplementary scoring/shooting option on offense next to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. A solid defender throughout, unfortunately for Tony, on the other end his scoring average dipped from 8.5 points per game to just 6.9, while his shooting percentages took a dive also. After starting in every one of his 80 appearances last season, Snell would only start in 59 of his 75 games this year. With a hefty bump up in salary, it’s fair to say it was not the year Bucks fans were hoping to get from the versatile wing.
- 10/21 v Portland: I already mentioned about the lifted expectations on Snell heading into the season and he wasted no time in attempting to repay the investment the Bucks placed on him. In a game that will be remembered for Antetokounmpo’s late game heroics, Snell himself posted a really nice line on the night. The Bucks rounded out 113-110 winners, while Snell dropped 17 points including knocking down three of his four attempts from the outside. Everything worked for Snell on the night, whether it was reverse layups or even post up hook shots like the one below. It gave Bucks fans an exciting taste of what they hoped would become a regular occurrence.
- 3/23 @ Chicago: If there is one thing we’ve learnt over the two seasons Snell has been a Buck, he’s streaky. When he’s hot, he’s incredibly hot. Late in March with the regular season nearing it’s climax, Tony Snell delivered a line that has become strangely familiar with his name. Zero rebounds, zero assists, zero steals, zero blocks in 22 minutes. What he did do however was drop 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. The Bucks won the game by 13 points against their cellar dweller I-94 rivals and continued their march to the playoffs. If you want a visual indication of how hot he was that night at the United Center, this was the type of degree of difficulty he was putting on his shots, and making them. Crazy.
- February: Again, you have to be prepared to ride the streaky touch of Snell throughout the length of an NBA season but the month of February was one to forget for the second year Buck. In eleven games for the calendar month, Snell averaged just 4.4 points per game on a paltry 29 percent shooting from beyond the arc. In a four game span Snell was on court for 106 minutes, whilst only scoring five points. Tony is certainly not a player you can count stats to make a judgement on his value to the roster, but that is not good enough by anyones standards. Then, without warning, he bounced back ferociously in March to shoot a blistering 46 percent from three. Go figure.
- Playoffs: It was a rough first round series against Boston for the majority of the Bucks role players and Snell was no exception. He managed just 2.7 points per game over the seven game series and only connected on 24 percent of his three-point tries. At the TD Garden where the Bucks desperately needed to pinch a game, he missed all ten of his triples, whilst scoring only four points in 71 minutes of play. He lost his starting job after Game 2 and overall it was a series he’d like to forget.
Grade for season: D+
When all things are considered it’s hard to give Snell a higher grade than a D+. It does feel harsh, because he will never be the type of player to rack up huge numbers. He’s there to play solid defense, often against the oppositions best wing scorer, while hitting some open threes on the other end. On the season he shot 40 percent from deep, in a virtually identical percentage to last season. That’s a great number, but the wild inconsistencies in his form made it to hard to ever really be able to rely on him making a shot when you need it. Reality is, if he knocks down a shot or two on the road in the playoffs, maybe Milwaukee make it through to the second round.
He’s getting paid 11 million dollars on average a year on a roster that is under heavy salary cap pressure. He needs to have an impact. For comparison, Joe Ingles signed a 4 year, 52 million dollar deal last summer in a very, very similar deal to Snell’s. Utah were able to reach the second round and even give the number one seed Rockets a scare in that second round. Ingles averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists on 46 percent shooting from three. That’s extreme value for money for the Jazz, but Snell needs to be giving Milwaukee more bang for their buck.
Role next season:
Similar to this season. Snell will be asked to play 20-25 minutes a night, play defense and make shots. Occasionally we see a snippet of Snell’s capabilities on offense. Whether that be an aggressive attack on the rim, a turnaround jump shot, or a nice post move. He appears to have some hidden talents that are yet to be fully explored. Maybe that’s his own tentativeness on offense, maybe that’s the Bucks system. With a new, yet to be determined coach on the way, Snell is again one of those players that may find new life in a different system.
Consistency will be key. Milwaukee don’t require need huge box score numbers out of Snell, they have their stars. What they need is consistency. What they need is reliability. They’ll be hoping Tony Snell can bring those traits in spades.
Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus