With Monday’s 105-98 victory against the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks‘ young players have become the lone highlight of the team’s NBA-worst 13-50 record. When the Bucks acquired 22-year-old Brandon Knight in the Brandon Jennings trade with the Detroit Pistons during the 2013 offseason, they were afforded the luxury of a player who has improved from season to season. After averaging 12.8 and 13.3 points per game in his first two seasons in the league, respectively, he has boosted his scoring average to 17.2 to go along with career-high five assists per game, including 24 points and six assists Monday. Knight is beginning to fit the ideal characteristics of a point guard — pass-first player who can score the basketball. In the past 10 games, he has averaged 19.6 points per game with 5.2 assists.
Kris Middleton was another player the Bucks got the best of in the trade, as he is averaging a career-high 11.9 points per game and tacked on 21 points Monday. John Henson is a great asset in the frontcourt, showing athleticism around the rim on both the offensive and defensive end. 2013 NBA Draft second-round pick Nate Wolters has proven his worth thus far and is a great change-of-pace guard off the bench. And, of course, you cannot bring up Milwaukee’s youth without focusing on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has wowed scouts with his athleticism and pure jump shot. What should have fans even more excited is the fact that he is reportedly not done growing at 6-foot-9, adding more to his lengthy wing span.
The supporting cast around this youth has held their own throughout this season, but they are too inconsistent to make anyone believe they will be part of the future. General manager John Hammond has a golden opportunity this summer with the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to make a push to keep Milwaukee competitive. In the process, any of the potential No.1 selections, including Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, would serve vital to the team’s resurgence.