Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Milwaukee Bucks Player
At 15-67, the 2013-14 Milwaukee Bucks have officially turned in the worst record in franchise history. However, that doesn't mean wrapping things up with one final slew of regular-season grades isn't in order.
And despite the dreadful season which was filled with frustration and major growing pains, there were a handful of players who stepped it up and proved they have what it takes to be part of the bigger picture moving forward.
Brandon Knight put together a very good season, showing he can certainly be the team's point guard of the future. Meanwhile, rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo impressed with his athleticism, passion and incredible upside.
On the other hand, big man Larry Sanders turned in a dud and disappointed Bucks fans after receiving a contract extension during the offseason.
All in all, it wasn't a pretty season. But the team has a solid core of young talent in place and will likely have one of the top picks in June's draft.
Before we can officially focus on the offseason, though, we must evaluate what certain players did during the year.
Presented in alphabetical order, these grades were given to each player currently on the roster who played in at least three games.
Final Grade: B
Arriving to Milwaukee in late February, Jeff Adrien suited up 28 times for the Bucks down the stretch and left a pretty lasting impression.
The 28-year-old power forward has yet to find a stable home during this his fourth NBA season, but if his numbers are any indicator, that may change.
Albeit a small sample size, Adrien averaged 10.9 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and provided excellent minutes off the bench while occasionally filling in as a starter.
At 6'7", 243 pounds, he provides the Bucks with a solid body in the post and is a player who isn't going to shy away from contact.
The shaky health of the team's other big men provided Adrien with minutes, and he certainly took advantage of them.
Final Grade: B-
Some may argue that Antetokounmpo deserves a higher grade than the one given here, but, despite all of the good aspects of his performance, he did struggle at times.
That's not a bad thing, especially given his experience level, but it does put a ceiling on his final grade.
Overall, though, 2013-14 was a major positive in his career and a sign of things to come from the "Greek Freak." In 24.6 minutes per game, he averaged 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 34.7 percent from three-point range.
Clearly, working on his shooting stroke is something that needs to be addressed during the summer, but his stellar athleticism and excellent length was on display countless number of times throughout the season.
It'll be exciting to see what he brings to the table in 2014-15.
Final Grade: B+
John Henson didn't make as big of a leap as he probably could have in 2013-14, and his numbers don't jump off the page at you, but he put together a solid season.
Appearing in 70 games, Henson compiled averages of 11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 blocks while connecting on 53.8 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Considering the fact that Sanders was out most of the year, Henson's numbers should have probably been higher than they were.
Still, they're nothing to scoff at.
He proved he was able to score efficiently in the post, rebound and defend at a high level. In fact, those 1.7 blocks per game ranked seventh in the league.
He may not be progressing as some may like him to be, but there is still star potential ahead for Henson.
Final Grade: D+
With the offseason departures of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Ersan Ilyasova was in prime position to become one of the team's premiere offensive threats.
Unfortunately, that never came to fruition.
The 26-year-old Turk was bothered by injuries early on and was never really able to get his feet under him throughout the entire season.
Though he managed to notch 11.2 points per game, it came at the expense of efficiency.
After converting 47.5 percent of his field goals and 44.8 percent of his three-point attempts over the past two seasons, Ilyasova suffered a huge hit this year, dropping to 40.9 and 28.2 percent, respectively.
Not only that, Ilyasova's immense struggles early on made trading him at the February deadline a tall task had management wanted to head down that path.
Final Grade: A-
There are some who would probably dismiss Brandon Knight's 2013-14 season as nothing more than a player posting solid numbers on a bad team.
Those same people probably didn't watch many of his games.
Knight had a career year during his first year in Milwaukee and took major strides toward becoming the player the Detroit Pistons hoped they were getting when they drafted him with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft.
With career-high averages of 17.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals, Knight was one of the few Bucks to truly excel over the course of the season.
He connected on 42.2 percent of his field-goal attempts—46.6 percent on two-point attempts exclusively—and attacked the rim more than he ever has, as evidenced by his 4.5 free-throw attempts per game.
Cutting down on turnovers, continuing to develop as a distributor and making smarter shot selections are all on Knight's offseason agenda, but 2013-14 was a major step in the right direction.
Final Grade: D+
O.J. Mayo was the prized offseason acquisition for the Bucks last summer and came to Milwaukee with expectations of becoming the team's go-to scorer.
And while it looked like that may come true during the first month of the season, things quickly took a turn for the worse.
On the year, Mayo played in just 52 games and averaged 11.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting an uninspiring 40.7 percent from the floor and only 37.0 percent from three-point territory.
It'll be interesting to see what management does with Mayo over the course of the summer, but it might not be a bad idea to shop him. Finding a team to take on the remaining two years and $16 million left on his contract might prove to be tough, though.
Final Grade: B+
When the season began, Caron Butler and Carlos Delfino were penciled in as the two players who were going to receive the bulk of the minutes at small forward.
However, age and injury allowed second-year wingman Khris Middleton to gain valuable experience.
And he did so in great fashion.
After playing just 27 games in 2012-13 with the Detroit Pistons, Middleton made an appearance in all 82 games this year for the Bucks.
Playing 30.0 minutes per game, Middleton managed to average 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor and 41.4 percent from behind the three-point line.
On a team full of inefficient scorers, Middleton was the opposite.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly where he fits in moving forward but, for what it's worth, he played a key role in 2013-14.
Final Grade: C-
Though not his fault, the sheer absurdity of the three-year, $15.6 million contract Zaza Pachulia signed over the offseason makes giving him a better grade than this impossible.
In 53 appearances, the veteran big man logged 25.0 minutes per game and managed to post averages of 7.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
His scoring game at the expense of terrible inefficiency—he shot just 42.7 percent from the floor—and, outside of adding a fair amount of toughness, was virtually nonexistent from a defense standpoint.
The deal management signed him to is certainly one of the worst in recent memory, and his play didn't come close to making up for it.
Milwaukee will have a tough time finding a suitor for him via trade, so it might be stuck with him moving forward.
Final Grade: C+
Miroslav Raduljica's sample size was incredibly small, but when he was on the floor, he showed some signs that pointed in the direction of him possibly becoming a consistent role player.
The 26-year-old Serbian appeared in 48 games during his rookie season, playing 9.7 minutes per game, and averaging 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds on 54.0 percent shooting.
Looks pretty unremarkable, huh?
However, those numbers translate to 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.
He won't ever become a superstar or a big man the Bucks can rely on, but given his solid frame, tough mentality and ability to score on the block, he is a distinct departure from the lanky builds of Henson and Sanders and gives the team a different option down low.
Final Grade: F
This one needs little explanation.
After signing a four-year, $44 million extension last August, Sanders was nonexistent in 2013-14, appearing in just 23 games.
Aside from the now infamous bar brawl he got into at the start of the season, he suffered an injury to his hand and, later, to his face.
Unable to ever stay on the court consistently, the shot-blocking specialist averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on just 46.9 percent shooting.
Needless to say, after a big payday, Sanders' season was a catastrophic disappointment.
Final Grade: B+
In his second stint with the Bucks, Ramon Sessions returned with a bang.
After being acquired at the trade deadline, he returned and was both efficient and productive during the 28 games he played with the team.
The point guard managed to post averages of 15.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting a very solid 46.1 percent from the floor.
With Sessions set to become a free agent this summer, whether or not the Bucks decide to bring him back has yet to be determined.
But Knight, along with Nate Wolters, certainly look like they will be the two point guards Milwaukee moves forward with, and that leaves Sessions as the odd man out.
Regardless, he played very well for the Bucks down the stretch.
Final Grade: D+
Ekpe Udoh turned in his worst season of his young career in 2013-14, and for the former sixth overall pick, that's not a positive sign.
Logging 19.1 minutes per game—slightly up from a season ago—Udoh averaged just 3.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 39.9 percent in 42 games.
While never known for being an offensive juggernaut, Udoh—as evidence by his terrible field-goal percentage—provides very little on that end of the floor.
He has a strong build and can play some defense, but, at the end of the day, he provides little during the minutes he's playing.
Final Grade: B+
Watching his rookie season unfold, one could tell that teams were going to regret allowing Wolters' fall to the second round in last June's draft.
With four years of college experience under his belt, Wolters was thrust into a starting role almost immediately when Knight got hurt at the beginning of the season.
And right from the start, he showed the poise and basketball IQ of a veteran.
He finished the season playing in 58 games—starting 31 of those—and logged 22.6 minutes per game. In that time he posted averages of 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and, most impressively, just 1.0 turnover.
Offensively, Wolters will need to work on improving his shooting percentage, but he did manage to finish strong the last two months of the season by connecting on 48.3 percent of his shots.
Look for Wolters' continued improvement in 2014-15.
Final Grade: C
Signed to a few 10-day contracts near the end of the year, Chris Wright appeared in eight games for the Bucks during the season's final few months and managed to play pretty well.
With an incredibly small sample size, it's nearly impossible to assign an accurate grade to Wright.
However, in those eight games, he averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds while converting a very good 60.0 percent of his shots.
This past week, according to the team's official website, the Bucks announced that they had signed Wright to a multiyear contract, so it appears as though he'll be sticking around.
It'll be interesting to see what he brings to the table next season.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
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