The Milwaukee Bucks head into the 2017-2018 with a plethora of centers on their roster.
Second-year sensation, Thon Maker will start the season as your Milwaukee Bucks center. Last season, Maker exceeded expectations and played a key role later in the season to help Milwaukee lock up a 6-seed. The numbers 4 points, 2 rebounds and 0.5 blocks a game certainly aren’t eye-popping, but his impact goes way beyond the box score. The Bucks are simply a better team on both sides of the ball when Maker is on the floor.
Because of his wiry frame, he was limited in his production in large part because of foul trouble. However, Thon has certainly bulked up and he’s looking to avoid the foul trouble that plagued him last season. Per 36 minutes, he is averaging: 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Those are fantastic numbers.In his first preseason game last week against the Detroit Pistons, Maker was a game-high plus-28 on the night. The key for him and the Milwaukee Bucks is to stay on the floor as long as possible.
His ability to stretch the floor cannot be understated. Last season, he shot a solid 37.8% from the three-point line in a relatively small sample size. Look for the Bucks to encourage him to keep on firing from downtown. The more he can stretch the floor, the more success the Milwaukee Bucks will have.
Thon Maker has also shown us flashes of greatness on the defensive end. Although he was limited much of last season due to foul trouble, when he was in the game, he altered almost every shot around the rim. His upside is enormous. He is going to have to be the guy for the Bucks to defend the rim.
After a strong bounce-back season last year, Greg Monroe will relish in the 6th man role. Last season was Monroe’s best season as a Milwaukee Buck which saw him average 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while playing above average defense. After his first tumultuous season in Milwaukee, many Bucks fans were ready to ship him out of town, but he answered the bell and stepped up. The biggest improvement was in his defense. Last season, Moose played consistently solid defense, and his anticipation was excellent. He led the league in steals per game off the bench.
After reportedly butting heads with head coach Jason Kidd in his first season in Milwaukee, Monroe finally bought into his role as a 6th man. He played in 81 games last season, making him one of Milwaukee’s more durable players throughout the season. Moose is going to have to be big for the Bucks this season in order for them to make the next step.
As for John Henson, it’s really a shock that he hasn’t been traded yet. In 58 games last year, Henson put up averages of 6.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. In 4 seasons as a Milwaukee Buck, he has failed to take any significant steps forward to becoming a contributor to the team. His best season was back in 2013-2014 where he averaged 11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. The Bucks were the worst team in the NBA that season under then head coach Larry Drew.
The Bucks inked Henson to a four-year, $44 million contract extension in October of 2015. Unfortunately for the Bucks, they have gotten nothing out of it, and that contract looks like a complete waste of money that potentially could’ve been used elsewhere.
Henson is a great teammate, and he’s well liked in the locker room, but he simply cannot produce at a level where the Bucks need him to. I’d expect the Milwaukee Bucks to do everything in their power to trade the former 15th overall pick in 2012.