The Milwaukee Bucks square off with the Chicago Bulls on Monday night as they attempt to move one step closer to locking up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It seems they’ll likely do so without star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, as he’s dealing with knee soreness which has lingered as of late.
As ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported, the Greek Freak is listed as doubtful for this game, and it seems to be a longshot that he suits up.
*Antetokounmpo has since been ruled out for this game.
The Bucks currently sit with a 45-14 record and have Tuesday off before the second game of a five-game road stretch against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. With Antetokounmpo expected to be sidelined against the Bulls, it creates an interesting situation when evaluating who could fill his spot in the starting lineup.
We’re going to take a look at the roster and projected starting lineup for the Bucks here, along with who’s impressed without Giannis out of the lineup.
Milwaukee Bucks Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Bulls
*Notates expected starter
C: Brook Lopez*, D.J. Wilson, Christian Wood
PF: Ersan Ilyasova*, Nikola Mirotic, Bonzie Colson
SF: Khris Middleton*, Tony Snell
SG: Malcolm Brogdon*, Pat Connaughton
PG: Eric Bledsoe*, Trevon Duval
It’s worth noting that Sterling Brown has also been listed as doubtful for this game, while George Hill, John Henson, and Donte DiVincenzo are all out. In turn, this leaves the Bucks thin at small forward and both guard spots. As far as filling the void without Antetokounmpo, it has been Ersan Ilyasova stepping in previously, but Nikola Mirotic could be an option as well.
Mirotic has played in just two games since being acquired by the Bucks via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, logging 14 and 18 minutes. In his most recent game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he produced 17 points (7-of-11 shooting), with six rebounds, two blocks, one assist, and one steal in 18 minutes.
Numbers With Giannis Antetokounmpo off Floor
Khris Middleton sees a nice boost with the aforementioned players off the floor, as Basketball Monster shows his usage jumps from 24.1 to 29.9. Eric Bledsoe also receives a big bump in production, with a usage increase from 22.6 to 25.0, and the two marks come over the span of 200.9 and 194.3 minutes this season.
Middleton’s scoring per 36 minutes jumps by more than five points while Bledsoe’s jumps drastically from 19.3 points up to 26.9 per 36 minutes. Malcolm Brogdon is another name to monitor, as he receives a statistical increase across the board in points, assists and rebounds. The big question is how this situation will look with Mirotic now in the mix, as it could decrease the usage a bit for each player.