We are now 20 games into the 2021 NBA season. The Bucks are currently 12-8. One of the unsung heroes for the Bucks this season is Patrick Bergin Connaughton. Connaughton has received a lot of unnecessary hate, and it is entirely unwarranted. Below I will detail out why it is time to start giving Pat Connaughton the respect he deserves.
*Throughout this article, all the statistics provided have been based on players who have played 100+ minutes.*
There’s the obvious improvement in his 3-point percentage, which is a Bucks career-high for him. He currently has the 4th highest 3-point percentage on the Bucks at 43.3%. Although he struggled shooting the last game against the Trailblazers, Connaughton shot 60% (6/10) over the two games prior. When Pat Connaughton is struggling shooting, fans have deemed it necessary to demand that he be sent to the bench or traded. Despite his shooting struggles, Connaughton still had a positive +/- against the Trailblazers. In 17 games played, Connaughton only has two negative +/- games when struggling to shoot. Against the Raptors, Jrue Holiday shot 21% from the field and 12% from 3. Despite struggling to hit a shot in that game, he was still praised by fans because he had a positive +/-. Where’s the consistency? Connaughton should be given the same amount of respect and praise.
Pat Connaughton’s Defensive impact
I know what you’re thinking, though. Jrue clamps up his defenders and gets rebounds and assists, as well. While this is true, Pat Connaughton is playing very well on the defensive side of the ball, as well as being one of the better rebounders on the team. Connaughton has the 3rd highest DBPM (defensive box plus/minus) on the team. He’s ranked higher than Donte, Middleton, and Lopez. Only Giannis and Jrue have a higher DBPM.
Pat Connaughton is also tied for 3rd on the Bucks in defensive rating at 110. Who is he tied with? Jrue Holiday. You could say that Holiday is going up against better offensive players than Connaughton. Still, there have been many times when Connaughton has switched onto elite offensive players (the most prominent one being Lebron James). Per 100 possessions, Connaughton is 3rd on the Bucks in both blocks (1.1) and steals (1.7). Connaughton is having a very underrated defensive season, and the slander needs to stop.
Pat Connaughton’s Offensive Impact
Not only is Pat Connaughton having a good defensive season, but he’s having a fantastic offensive season. He may not be putting up the best offensive statistics as he’s 7th in assists (3.7) and 9th in points (16.6) per 100 possessions, but his offensive impact is one of the best on the team. His offensive rating is 137, which is the highest on the team. The next closest is Khris Middleton, with an offensive rating of 128. Just like in DBPM, Connaughton is ranked 3rd OBPM (offensive box plus/minus). Only Giannis and Khris are ranked higher.
To boost his value to the team even more, he is ranked 3rd on the team in total rebounds (11.3) per 100 possessions. He’s 3rd in defensive rebounds (8.5) per 100 possessions and 3rd in offensive rebounds (2.8) per 100 possessions. He is ranked higher in offensive rebounds per 100 possessions than Giannis (who is the best rebounder on the team).
Pat Connaughton’s Overall Impact on the team
The fact of the matter is that when Connaughton is on the court, the Bucks are better. His VORP (value over replacement player) is tied for 4th with Bobby Portis. In the 17 games he has played, Pat Connaughton has a positive +/- in 12 of them and a negative +/- in 5 of them. The Bucks are 1-4 when Pat has a negative +/- and 9-3 when he has a positive +/-. The Bucks are +5.1 in offensive rating when he’s on the floor (122.8 when on the court and 117.7 when off the court).
The opponent’s offensive rating is -4.8 when Connaughton is on the court (108.3 when on the court and 113.1 when off). This shows the impact that Connaughton has when he plays. For reference, when Jrue Holiday is on the floor, the Bucks have a 120.3 offensive rating, and the opposing team has a 110.7 offensive rating.
Pat Connaughton is only averaging 18 minutes per game, but his impact on the team is one of the best. This is the reason why Coach Bud plays him. He’s great on both ends of the floor and has incredible hustle. Yes, he makes mistakes, but he rarely turns the ball over (best turnover percentage on the team). It’s time to start respecting Pat Connaughton’s game.
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