Bucks basketball is finally back after a circus of an offseason that seemingly saw every team not named the Milwaukee Bucks make a big splash via free agency or trade. Just four games in, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the talk of the NBA and as of Wednesday October 25th is Las Vegas’s favorite to take home Most Valuable Player. While most Bucks fans our caught up in the hoopla that is the Greek Freak, a concerning situation is developing at the center position. Through three games a strong case can be made that John Henson has been the Bucks best center; that is a problem. Through four games Bucks’ opponents are collecting 25.6% of their missed shots for offensive rebounds, which ranks 6th worst in the NBA albeit a small sample size. Additionally the centers have played a minimal roll on offense with no center averaging more than 6.5 points per game. To help sort out the mess that is the Milwaukee Buck’s big man rotation I discuss the differences between each center as well as a best and worst case scenario.
Through four games John Henson has been by far the Bucks best rebounder at the center position. Additionally Henson is adding close to 2 blocks per game while only allowing opponents to shoot 52.3% at the basket, a very solid mark for a center. On offense he provides little value as a lob-catcher and decent offensive rebounder. Best-case scenario Henson continues to play at a competent level and recuperates his trade value in the event the Bucks need to use his salary in a trade. Worst-case scenario he reverts to his old unplayable ways and the Bucks are stuck with his $10 million per year salary.
After conducting the Thon Maker bandwagon throughout the offseason my expectations have been tempered a tad. It was probably too much to assume he would be able to put on enough weight to physically compete with the bigger centers of this league. Thon has provided just below one three pointer per game this year and below 5 points per game but has provided Giannis with crucial spacing on offense to maneuver to the basket. On defense Thon has been pushed around by bigger centers such as Jusuf Nurkic and Dwight Howard and as a result been dismal at keeping opposing teams off the glass. Best-case scenario Thon increases his 3 pointers made while picking up the slack on the defensive boards. Ideally Thon shows enough development to beat out John Henson for minutes, but worst-case scenario John Henson out plays Thon out of minutes and stunts Maker’s development.
It has been quite a rough start for Monroe. Already a passive rebounder, Moose has been even worse this year at collecting rebounds. Praised last year for his jump from a bad defender to average defender last year, not much has changed as Moose still lacks the physical attributes to protect the paint at the center position. Usually Monroe’s forte, offense has been a slight struggle to start the year off scoring only 6.5 points per game on a pedestrian 48% almost exclusively from post ups. I expect Greg’s offensive game to find its form as the season progresses but the question remains, is Moose’s offense good enough to make up for his lack of rim protection on defense and spacing on offense? Best-case scenario Monroe lights up opposing team’s benches while giving enough effort on defense en route to a 6th man of the year award. Worst-case scenario Greg looses his defensive intensity and his offense continues to sputter. No matter how the rest of the season plays out Moose has an important role to play on this team if the Bucks want to have the success they are capable of.