Final Regular Season Grades for Each Milwaukee Bucks Player in 2013
And one might say that it was a successful one.
After all, they fought through the rough spots and found themselves in the playoffs for the first time in three years.
But for a team that went 38-44 leading up to the postseason, there's no denying that plenty of luck was involved as well.
While the Bucks are still competing, some fans probably can't help but wonder what would have occurred had certain players stepped it up another level.
Players were graded on how well they filled their specific role on the team. Role players earning the same grade as starters doesn't necessarily equate to having a better season and salary is also factored in.
Grades were given in letter format and presented in alphabetical order by last name.
*All statistics used are courtesy of Basketball Reference*
Coming to the team at the February trade deadline, Ayon has been used in a very limited role since.
Playing in just 12 games with the Bucks, Ayon averaged 4.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in just over 13 minutes per game and was very efficient with a 59.5 percent field-goal percentage.
While nothing he does is spectacular, he does provide good minutes off the bench when called upon.
What he lacks in talent, he makes up for with his hustle, rebounding tenacity and high basketball IQ. Ayon rarely makes mistakes and is a good player from a fundamentals standpoint.
Whether or not he's done enough to warrant the Bucks bringing him back on a team option of $1.5 million is a question that will be answered in the offseason.
But keeping him around might not be a bad idea.
Final Grade: C+
Throughout his career, Dalembert has been recognized as a solid defensive player that will provide a team with ample rebounds and a good number of blocks.
As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported the day before last summer's draft, the 31-year-old center was dealt to the Bucks as part of a bigger deal that involved Milwaukee and Houston swapping the No. 12 and No. 14 picks.
Unfortunately for Dalembert, the emergence of Larry Sanders has meant limited playing time.
Playing in just 47 games, he's averaging 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. When you account for him playing just 16.3 minutes per contest, those numbers are solid.
Nonetheless, it's safe to say that Dalembert hasn't lived up to the $6.6 million the Bucks are paying him this season.
Whether he shoulders the blame or the coaching staff does—for not finding him more minutes—Dalembert's season has been somewhat of a disappointment.
Final Grade: D+
Daniels signed with the Bucks in the offseason and they probably thought that he'd provide some useful minutes off the bench.
While that has been the case some of the time, it probably hasn't been the case enough of the time.
Known mostly as somewhat of a defensive stopper, Daniels averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 assists in 59 games for the Bucks during the regular season.
For the $854,389 the Bucks owed him this season, it wasn't necessarily a bad addition to the roster.
He didn't hurt the team when he was on the floor and despite his age starting to catch up with him, he was still able to play some solid defense at times.
In the end, the Bucks got what they wanted out of him and there's really not a lot of room to complain about his performance.
Final Grade: D+
Mike Dunleavy and the term consistency are two things that go hand in hand.
During the course of his 11-year career, there have only been two instances of him not scoring in double figures—one being his rookie season.
Averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this year for the Bucks, Dunleavy also had his most efficient season from behind the three-point line, connecting on 42.8 percent of his attempts—which ranked eighth in the league.
And while it's safe to say that he's not great, he's a very good player to have coming off the bench, and the production he provided for the Bucks this season more than covered the $3.7 million he was paid.
Final Grade: B+
It's not that Monta Ellis had a bad season for the Bucks in 2012-13, he just didn't exactly have one that many fans were expecting either.
At 19.2 points per game, he still managed to do what he does best: score.
With his elite explosiveness and array of acrobatic moves, Ellis can get into the lane virtually whenever he wants to.
Far too often, though, Ellis settles for mid-range jump shots or threes late in the shot clock. That's not a big part of his game and never really has been.
Brilliant at times, woeful at others. That just about sums up this season for Ellis.
He scored 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting in Game 1, but completely fell apart during Game 2 scoring just seven points on two-of-seven shooting.
Game 3 wasn't much better either.
He'll always get praise for his relentless hustle, but unfortunately that doesn't always translate to wins.
Final Grade: B-
Drew Gooden's 2012-13 campaign can best be summarized in three words: We want Drew!
The chants orchestrated by some fans at the Bradley Center during various games this season could even be heard on television broadcasts.
It even surprised Gooden himself when he tweeted the following the next day:
Wow! Never heard a crowd in my 11years playing chant a guys name to get him in the game. It worked! Well done! That was incredible! Thank u
— Drew Gooden (@DrewGooden) April 7, 2013
But someone who signed a five-year, $32 million contract (via ESPN.com) in the summer of 2010 shouldn't seemingly be amazed to get into a game.
Whether he deserves the blame for appearing in just 16 games this season or the coaching staff does, it's something that cannot be dismissed.
In those appearances, Gooden averaged 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Coming off a 2011-12 season that saw those numbers at 13.7 points and 6.5 rebounds, this season was a bit of a mystery for the 31-year-old veteran.
Whether age is finally catching up to him, he's just getting beat out by youth or the Bucks see little value in him, Gooden's season was a major disappointment.
Final Grade: F
One of the few bright spots this year for the Bucks was the play of rookie power forward John Henson.
Despite averaging just 13.1 minutes per game in 63 appearances, Henson demonstrated that he could become a very good player if given the proper time to develop.
Unlike many rookies, he didn't panic when receiving the ball in the post.
Operating like a veteran, Henson finished around the rim by showing a nice collection of finesse moves in addition to his excellent athleticism.
He also put up some monster games, like his 17-point, 25-rebound performance against the Orlando Magic on April 10 and a 28-point, 16-rebound game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the final night of the regular season.
Things seemed to work well with Henson on the court and while he certainly has plenty of room to improve, his rookie season was a solid start.
Had he been given more minutes and not played so sporadically, his numbers would more than likely be much better than they ended up being.
Final Grade: A-
The 2012-13 season for Ersan Ilyasova was a bit of a tale of two halves, but he certainly finished on a high note.
Prior to All-Star Weekend, Ilyasova averaged 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 44 percent from behind the three-point line.
Those numbers aren't bad at all, but after a stellar 2011-12 season, expectations were higher.
And perhaps Ilyasova knew that.
After the break, he averaged 17.2 points and nine rebounds per game and shot 48.7 percent from the floor and 44.9 percent from three-point land.
For the year, he knocked down 44.4 percent of his three-point attempts, a number which was good enough for fourth in the NBA.
With great size and the ability to score in a variety of different ways, Ilyasova continues to prove that he's going to be a valuable asset in Milwaukee for many seasons.
Depending on what happens with Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick during the offseason, his role could expand even more.
Final Grade: A
Figuring out a starting point in order to give Brandon Jennings a grade for the regular season is a difficult task in itself.
Should only his play be evaluated or should his off-the-court antics be factored in as well?
Both are fair game when it comes to handing out grades.
From a numbers standpoint, Jennings had a respectable season averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Efficiency has never been his strong point and that was the case again this season. He shot 39.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range.
In fairness, that latter number was up from a year ago.
Speaking of improvements, his assists increased from 5.6 to 6.5 this season, showing that he is capable of passing when he wants to.
But all of it becomes moot when Jennings opens his mouth and the occurrences became more frequent.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported on his hardball negotiating tactics, ESPN published postgame comments showing his displeasure of being benched and USA Today even cited a tweet by Jennings that was critical of head coach Jim Boylan.
In the end, his play wasn't significantly better than what it has been and his attitude seemed to only get worse.
Still, the Bucks wouldn't be anywhere near the playoffs if Jennings was absent from the roster.
Final Grade: C+
Luc Mbah a Moute
Appearing in just 58 games, it seemed as though Luc Mbah a Moute took a step in the wrong direction this season for the Bucks.
Known mostly for his presence on the defensive side of the ball, he struggled at times to live up to the role of defensive stopper.
The 1.2 defensive win shares was the second-lowest of his five-year career and his offensive production fell off from where it was last season, including his field-goal percentage of 40.1—by far his worst ever.
Mbah a Moute made $4.7 million this season and while that isn't an incredulous amount, he should be providing the Bucks with more than what he did this season.
He might not ever develop into anything more than a guy that will work hard on the glass, knock down some open shots and play solid defense but in order for him to do those things, he needs to stay healthy.
And, when he is, he needs to actually do those things.
Still, Mbah a Moute didn't have a bad season and his contributions were important to the playoff run.
Final Grade: C
What can be said about a guy that played in only 12 games during the regular season?
Not a lot.
During the offseason, Przybilla returned to the Bucks—the team he started his career with—and that was probably the highlight of the year for him.
Actually, forget that, him throwing the ball at an official and getting a suspension probably was.
In the games he played, he logged a total of 68 minutes and scored two points while hauling in 21 rebounds.
The 33-year-old veteran is likely on the back end of his career and this season probably isn't going to motivate him to want to continue playing.
Then again, according to CSNNW's Chris Haynes, he was signed in the offseason to a one-year, $1.35 million deal.
Not a bad payday for resting on the bench most of the year.
Final Grade: F
J.J. Redick played in 28 games for the Bucks after being dealt to the club at February's trade deadline.
Brought in to knock down threes and become a consistent third scorer, Redick didn't quite live up to the expectations many had when the trade was initiated.
After averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists per game with a 45 percent field-goal percentage and 39 percent three-point percentage, Redick's numbers took a hit when he arrived in Milwaukee.
For the Bucks, he averaged 12.3 points and 2.7 assists per game on 40.3 percent shooting from the field and 31.8 percent shooting from three-point range.
The cause for the drop could be a collection of several things.
Perhaps he didn't have the proper time to build chemistry with teammates—Jennings and Ellis probably aren't the easiest guys to play with. Maybe he simply got worn down late in the season. Or maybe the Bucks didn't play to his strengths well enough.
Whatever the reason, Redick wasn't the same player after the trade.
Still, it's hard to say he didn't have a positive impact.
When he was on the court, Milwaukee's offense seemed to flow much better and he did have a couple of 20-point performances in a Bucks uniform.
Being an unrestricted free agent this summer, it will be interesting to see what Redick does.
Final Grade: B-
While he didn't win, that third-place finish is indicative of the great strides Sanders made during the 2012-13 season.
After being used sparingly by the Bucks during his first two seasons, Sanders emerged out of nowhere and proved to be a huge presence throughout the year.
Not only did he average 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds, but his 2.8 blocks per game was good enough to place second in that category amongst the entire league.
All of this, seemingly out of nowhere.
Sure, he showed signs of being this player in his first two years, but no one saw him becoming the dominant shot-blocker that he now is this quickly.
With great length and athleticism, he should remain a defensive presence for as long as he's interested in doing so.
But there's no doubt that Sanders is still raw offensively.
Right now, he's relying on offensive putbacks and his athleticism to score. In the future, he'll need to become more of a post presence if he wants to reach his full potential.
If he can do that—and harness his temper—there's no reason why he can't be discussed among the league's best centers.
Final Grade: A+
If Ish Smith ever develops a jump shot, he might actually turn into a good point guard.
Until then, though, he's nothing more than an energy player off the bench who can provide a team with a spark every now and then.
In 16 games with the Bucks this season, Smith averaged 2.4 points and 1.9 assists per game on 39.5 percent shooting.
If there's one positive about him, it's that his quickness and speed are unmatched. The guy is an absolute blur on the court and can get by almost anyone guarding him.
The problem is that when he does, he gets lost in the lane or has trouble finishing.
Some of that can be attributed to the fact that at 6'0", he's small. But a lot of it also has to do with the fact that he's just not a very good shooter from anywhere on the court.
That being said, Smith showed some positives coming down the stretch.
Over his final five games, he averaged 5.6 points, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game and showed that at least he's capable of being a decent backup or third option if someone gets hurt.
Final Grade: D+
When Ekpe Udoh steps onto the floor, you typically know what you'll be getting.
At 6'10", 240 pounds, Udoh has a very solid frame with great length and isn't afraid to battle in the paint with the best of them.
In a sense, he's pure energy.
Like Ayon, he doesn't do any one thing particularly well, but he scores major hustle points and is a solid contributor on defense.
On offense he sets solid, legal screens and works hard on the glass to keep possessions alive and to score on easy putbacks.
Udoh earned $3.5 million this season and is set to make more next year.
And like several of the aforementioned players on this list, he played some of his best basketball over the last few months of the season.
With Milwaukee's roster in a state of flux, it's uncertain what Udoh's role might be next season.
However, depending on what happens, he could very easily see his minutes. If that happens, his production should likely increase as well.
Final Grade: C-