Now that the season has officially wrapped and the Bucks have been rightfully crowned NBA championships, it’s time to take a look at the bench units of the last two Bucks teams.
The bench mob has been a staple in Milwaukee for the last couple of years. Many people believed that the bench got weaker with the pieces lost in the offseason and from the Jrue Holiday trade. Yes, the Bucks lost some valuable pieces in George Hill, Robin Lopez, Kyle Korver, Ersan Ilyasova, and Sterling Brown. Despite those subtractions, the Bucks made moves (that seemed insignificant at the time) and created their strongest bench mob.
*Disclaimer* For the purposes of this article, the stats are only going to include players who played 20+ games.
The 2020 unit gave the Bucks some good scorers, as Donte DiVincenzo was still coming off the bench then. George Hill led the league in 3PT% coming off the bench. Kyle Korver and Ersan Ilyasova were always good for a few points, but the Bucks never really had a true 6th man on the team. Someone who can come into the game, which changes the entire momentum with his presence. Lou Williams has been doing it for years. The current reigning sixth man of the year, Jordan Clarkson, won many a game for the Utah Jazz.
Enter Bobby Portis. Bobby Portis gave the Bucks a legitimate 6th man of the year candidate. No disrespect to George Hill, as he was 4th in 6th man of the year voting in 2020, but Bobby Portis had better stats across the board in fewer minutes. It wasn’t just the points or the rebounds that made Bobby the perfect 6th man for the Bucks. The energy he brought to the team was second to none. We all heard how loudly Fiserv Forum cheered for Bobby whenever he took the court. Bobby was so good off the bench that many fans wanted him to start.
He was given that opportunity in the Eastern Conference Finals and delivered in those two games. If the Bucks want to create a dynasty, it is imperative that Bobby Portis stays with the team. His hustle and energy are among the best in the league.
The 2020 unit had scorers off the bench, but none of them averaged double-digit figures. George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo were close at 9.4 ppg and 9.2ppg, respectively, but no one else on that bench unit was remotely close to double-digit figures. In fact, the last person to score double digits off the bench was Jabari Parker in the 2017-2018 season, where he averaged 12.6 ppg in 31 games played.
Of qualifying players, the 2019-2020 bench mob averaged 54.2 ppg. That was good for about 41% of the Bucks scoring output. The unit had two shooters average over 37% from the 3PT range (George Hill and Kyle Korver). As a group, they averaged 36.6 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, they had no members average over 5 rebounds. The closest people to 5 rebounds were Ersan Ilyasova and Donte DiVincenzo, with 4.8 each.
The 2021 unit had lethal scorers and shooters across the board, featuring two players scoring double-digit figures: Bobby Portis (11.4) and Bryn Forbes (10). This bench unit averaged 55.1 ppg, which was good for about 46% of the Bucks points this season. Bench Mob 2021 featured a massive EIGHT players shoot above 37% from the 3PT range.
The points and percentages of the bench unit increased, but the rebounds off the bench did suffer. They only averaged 24.2 rebounds per game as a unit, which was down over 10 rebounds from the previous season. Despite the rebounds dipping, the bench mob did have one player average over 5 rebounds a night, and that was Bobby Portis at 7.1, which was good for 2nd on the team.
Both bench mobs brought tremendous energy on the court and on the sideline. They both had their ups and downs. That being said, only one of them provided multiple lethal shooters off the bench. Only of them participated in a championship-winning team. The 2020-2021 bench mob is superior and it is one of the best the Bucks have seen in the past few years.
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