There are many key factors leading to the Bucks’ 6-0 start. The team is first in the league in opponents’ points scored, holding the opposition to 103.8 points per game. They are first in rebounds per game at 51.3.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is off to an MVP start with over 33 points per game and almost 13 boards a game. Jrue Holiday has been a reliable sidekick for the “Greek Freak” and is averaging 19.2 points per game and a career-high 8.3 assists per contest. And big man Brook Lopez has been a solid contributor with 15 points and 3.3 blocked shots per game.
Consider that the 6-0 start also comes with the Bucks playing without starter Khris Middleton, key sub Pat Connaughton, and Joe Ingles, another role player they acquired in the off-season who is being counted on for bench depth.
Portis an early favorite for NBA Sixth Man honor
The unsung hero, however, is arguably Bobby Portis. Coming off the bench in each game this season, Portis is averaging a “double-double” with more than 13 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He is an early favorite for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
In the Bucks’ latest win over Detroit, Portis had his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. What makes Portis’ start even more impressive is that in the two games where he did not have a double-double, he was a few numbers short of reaching double-double status: Against Houston on October 22, he had 13 points and eight rebounds, and in the October 29 win over Atlanta he tallied nine points and 10 rebounds.
There have been 14 bench players in the NBA this year who recorded double-doubles. Portis tops this group with four; Precious Achiuwa (Toronto), Andre Drummond (Chicago), and Nick Reynolds (Charlotte) each have two double-doubles as non-starters to follow Portis in that category.
Since coming to the Bucks in the 2020-21 season, Portis has come off the bench and collected 12 career double-doubles. That is tied for sixth most in the league by bench players since ’20-’21. It’s also noteworthy that in Portis’ tenure with the Bucks, his 12 career double-doubles with Milwaukee as a “sub” are already tied for the fifth most in team history.
Career ‘double-doubles’ by bench players
The most career double-doubles for the Bucks by a bench player: Ersan Ilyasova (21), Greg Monroe (16), Junior Bridgeman (14), Alton Lister (13), Portis (12) and John Henson (12).
The NBA list of most career double-doubles by non-starter is led by Detlef Schrempf (106 games), Paul Silas (99), Enos Freedom (86), Roy Tarpley (81) and Kevin McHale (75).
One final note: Greg Monroe holds the Bucks’ single-season record for most double-doubles by a bench player with 13 in 2016-17. He is followed by Alton Lister (10 in 1985-86). Portis is third on the list with seven double-doubles in 2020-21. With four double-doubles already in the first six games of the 2022-23 season, Portis could possibly shatter the team record. Stay tuned.
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