The Milwaukee Bucks got their Black Friday deals super early via the signings of Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton this summer.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe are getting a lot of credit for the Milwaukee Bucks hot 13-4 start, and they should, as those three have been great. New Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is getting praised too, and also rightfully so.
That all said, the Bucks have certainly gotten some help some from their new additions Brook Lopez and Pat Connaughton. Most capable free agents in the NBA cost tens of millions of dollars, and they’re often still value deals at that price. Lopez and Connaughton were incredibly affordable considering their positive impact on the team thus far.
Lopez and Connaughton are both in the top eight Bucks in terms of minutes per game, and top seven in points per game. They’re not the main stars in Milwaukee, but they’re crucial role players nonetheless.
Those two haven’t just been on the floor, they’ve made the team better while they’re out there. The Bucks are plus 18.9 points per 100 possessions with Lopez, their best mark with anyone rotation player on the floor. Milwaukee is plus 16.3 per 100 possessions with Connaughton, the third-best mark among rotation players.
Lopez signed for $3.4 million, the bi-annual exception. Connaughton inked a two-year deal with only the first year guaranteed for just over the minimum salary, so he’s slated for $1.6 million this season and $1.7 million next year. Milwaukee is getting two top-seven rotation players for a combined $5 million. Those are the kind of deals that make a good team into a great one.
Giannis’ growth into a top tier player is obviously crucial to Milwaukee, but the Bucks would not be this good without valuable role players like Lopez and Connaughton. Rookie scale contracts help with this too, but getting that added value from typical free agents have made the difference for the Milwaukee Bucks.
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