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Mike Budenholzer finding success deep on bench

The Milwaukee Bucks have gone to a deeper rotation over the last couple of games and have had varying degrees of success.

For most of the season, Milwaukee Bucks‘ head coach Mike Budenholzer had a very strict rotation that was largely consistent game in and game out. The predictability was providing great results and allowed the players to get into a routine within the game.

Recently, Budenholzer has been forced to change the rotation for a number of reasons.

Injuries is one of the main factors the head coach has had to go deeper into his bench than he typically would. When the Bucks hosted the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, three rotational players were inactive due to injuries. John Henson (wrist), Donte DiVincenzo (knee) and Ersan Ilyasova (knee) were all in dress clothes for the game.

The good news is only one of those injuries is extremely long term. Henson is expected to be out for about three months after tearing a ligament in his wrist. Ilyasova was out with knee soreness and is considered day-to-day. He could easily return on Monday when the Bucks travel to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. Lastly, DiVincenzo has now missed the past five games, but should return shortly.

Thon Maker has stepped up and replaced Henson in the rotation and has played fairly well. He’s still undisciplined and lacks the strength to rebound the ball effectively, but he’s knocked down enough shots to make up for it.

At first, Budenholzer just increased Pat Connaughton‘s minutes to replace DiVincenzo’s role. However, Matthew Dellavedova has seen his first meaningful minutes of the season in the past two games and it hasn’t been all bad. He’s been a liability at times, but has done some of the little things that made him a great asset to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015-16.

On Saturday, the only healthy players who didn’t see the court were Christian Wood and Jaylen Morris. Otherwise, Budenholzer played 10 guys at least nine minutes of action.

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Although the bench’s performance was uneven, it’s a long season and Budenholzer’s willingness to experiment with different lineups and combinations of players will pay dividends in the long run. It’s important he continues to tinker with his new team to see what works and what doesn’t.

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