The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the fun surprises of the NBA season — the team with the worst record in the NBA last season are 13-12, the six seed in the East and looking like a playoff team. Jason Kidd has got them to play much better defense and helped guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo bloom.
Then there was Jabari Parker. He had averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds a game, he was their second leading scorer and one of the key parts of their rotation. He was getting it done on both ends of the court pretty well for a rookie (he did a solid job defending Blake Griffin a few nights before in a Bucks win. All of this had
Now what for the Bucks? And now what for the Rookie of the Year race?
For the Bucks, there is good news and bad news. The good news is they have a couple quality other power forwards in veteran Ersan Ilyasova and young but promising John Henson, both of whom could take on minutes. The bad news is both of those guys are currently injured and are not with the Bucks on their current West Coast road swing. Both could return next week.
Expect to see Kidd try Giannis Antetokounmpo at the four some. That will be fun to watch.
In the short term Kidd may go small, suggests Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel.
It could mean more small ball for Kidd, who has used small lineups with success early in the season.
As for the Rookie of the Year race, it is now wide open. Parker was the clear leader at the quarter pole of the season — he was putting up good numbers, doing it efficiently, and was a key part of the rotation on a playoff level team. No other rookie has been near as good this season.
Andrew Wiggins is scoring for Minnesota, 12 points a game and more than that in recent weeks, but is shooting less than 40 percent from the field. Nikola Mirotic has consistently contributed for the Bulls, but his shooting and scoring numbers have dipped recently. K.J. McDaniels shows a lot of promise in Philadelphia but is inconsistent on offense and barely shooting 40 percent on the season. Bojan Bogdanovic was putting up numbers for the Nets and has shown he can shoot the rock.
But the candidates left after Parker are certainly left wanting. Especially for this hyped a draft class.
Like with the Bucks, there just are not good answers for what’s next.