The Milwaukee Bucks included D.J. Augustin in the trade package to acquire P.J. Tucker from Houston Rockets. Augustin’s departure has temporarily left the team without a backup point guard because ESPN currently lists starting shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo as the backup point guard.
The Bucks are aware of this issue as an hour after the trade was reported, Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic stated that they were monitoring the market for free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas. But should Milwaukee be looking for a backup point guard? No, as Augustin spent most of his minutes as a floor spacer.
The Milwaukee Bucks should use internal options to fill the backup point guard position
For example, Augustin spent an entire possession midway through the first quarter of a road game against the Magic standing in the left corner. While Augustin was in the left corner, Khris Middleton waited for Brook Lopez to set a screen.
Once Lopez set the screen, Middleton went over it and saw that Nikola Vucevic didn’t come up to defend him on the other side of the screen. Consequently, Middleton took a couple of steps towards the basket before attempting and making the mid-range jumper.
Augustin’s role contributed to him taking a career-high 67.2 percent of his shots from behind the arc averaging 3.5 per game in 37 appearances with Milwaukee. 70 percent of those attempts were catch and shoots as he averaged 2.1 per game.
Thomas would be qualified to fill Augustin’s previous role as he has made 37.4 percent of his catch and shoots since the 2013-14 season on 2.6 attempts per game. Catch and shoots have accounted for 44.1 percent of the shots as he is shooting 36.3 percent on 5.9 attempts per game.
Unfortunately for Thomas, Milwaukee already has two players in the organization that can fulfill the role, Bryn Forbes and Sam Merrill. Forbes has made 43.2 percent of his catch and shoots since the 2016 season on 3.1 attempts per game.
73.8 percent of his threes have been catch and shoots as he shoots 40.7 percent from behind the arc on 4.2 attempts per game. On the other hand, Merrill shot 42 percent from behind the arc in 4 seasons at Utah State on 5.8 attempts per game.
Merrill hasn’t gotten an opportunity to showcase his skills with Milwaukee as he is shooting 50 percent from the arc on 0.9 attempts per game. If Milwaukee wants to sign Thomas and get the most out of him, they would need to run more pick and rolls.
The Milwaukee Bucks would have to alter their offense for Isaiah Thomas
Thomas averaged a career-high 8.8 pick and roll possessions per game during the 2016-17 season. He shot 44.6 percent from the field on 6.6 attempts per game. The shooting percentage helped him create 9.2 points, 31.8 percent of his scoring output as he averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee is 26th in the league in pick and roll possessions averaging 16.4 per game over the first 40 outings. More importantly, Augustin was 3rd on the team in pick and roll possessions averaging 2.6 per game.
Thomas combined his on-ball skills with off-the-ball success as he converted 41.2 percent of his catch and shoots on 3.6 attempts per game. Catch and shoots accounted for 42.3 percent of the shots as he shot 37.9 percent on 8.5 attempts per game.
The Bucks would be better off allowing their current core to fill backup point guard duties first before signing Thomas.