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The major move Bucks needed to make in 2022 NBA offseason

NBA, 2022 NBA free agency, 2022 NBA offseason, Milwaukee Bucks, Joe Ingles, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee’s offseason was not really bad, but it was kind of lackluster. In essence, the Bucks chose to run things back and hope that the status quo would yield better results in the 2022-23 season.

Thanks to reasonable contracts, GM Jon Horst was able to keep Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton. Those were good moves. These are two players who have a history of contributing in the postseason.

Horst attempted to address the Bucks’ need for additional wings in 2021–2022 by drafting MarJon Beauchamp and signing Joe Ingles. Although both players provide size to the wing, it is tough to predict how they will perform in the postseason. Ingles may contribute more playmaking and 3-point accuracy, while Beauchamp could add youth and agility.

Every rotation player is back thanks to these free agent signings, as well as the returns of George Hill, Brook Lopez, and Grayson Allen.

Of course, nostalgia is not the basis for this team’s potential in 2022-23. Health is going to be a major factor. Recall that due to Lopez’s back issue, he was only able to participate in 13 games in the starting lineup with Allen at shooting guard. On the other hand, the Bucks outscored opponents by a healthy 6.9 points per 100 possessions with Bobby Portis in Lopez’s stead.

Remember that the team’s 2022 playoffs campaign was hampered by having an injured Khris Middleton. They needed to get more wing support, which they tried to do with Ingles and Beauchamp. Both have notable downsides, though. Keep in mind that Ingles is already 34 years old. For his part, Beauchamp is a rookie coming back from a ruptured left ACL.

Overall, this group of players is aging. Joe Ingles, Brook Lopez, and Wesley Matthews are all in their mid-to-late-thirties. All of them are crucial rotational players and have experienced career-ending injuries. When so many of the other players on this squad are already seasoned veterans, relying once again on Khris Middleton’s health is extra risky. Sure, Milwaukee didn’t have much space for making huge moves. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo certainly didn’t get much help from the front office in terms of upgrading their depth in a big way.

The move Bucks needed to make in 2022 NBA offseason

Get a younger wing than Joe Ingles

Joe Ingles’ compatibility with the Milwaukee Bucks may best be understood by considering what he can provide to the offense in tandem with Giannis Antetokounmpo. With regard to his career three-point shooting, in particular, Ingles has made 40.8 percent of his attempts. That would be right behind Jrue Holiday (41.1 percent) and Grayson Allen in third place (40.9 percent) among Milwaukee Bucks players who played more than 20 minutes per game.

Joe Ingles’ ability to run the pick-and-roll as the ball handler is also a relatively underappreciated aspect of his game. When Ingles handled the pick-and-roll for the Utah Jazz, they reportedly averaged 1.02 points per possession. That’s quite good. Take note that Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, and Trae Young all scored worse than that.

This gives Ingles some credibility as a playmaker in the pick-and-roll game, but not because he is a better player than those three. On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo averages 1.34 points per possession and scores 67.5 percent of the time in pick-and-roll situations. It’s intriguing to consider a pick-and-roll situation involving those two.

Ingles is a solid passer in general. He has averaged 3.8 assists over the course of his career, with a peak of 5.7 in the 2018–19 season. He has never been an exceptional athlete, though. Ingles is clearly a good playmaker, despite the fans’ early misconceptions that he will simply camp out in the corner and hit threes. The Bucks’ offense will work nicely with Ingles.

The caveat is whether Ingles will actually be healthy enough to play enough games with the Bucks this season. And when he does play, can he still perform at the level he used to?

And this is why the Bucks missed out on getting more youth at the wing position. Few other wings would probably be as good as Ingles in pick-and-roll situations, but most other wings would play immediately. That’s unlike Ingles, who will miss a significant chunk of the season. Guys like Malik Monk, Bruce Brown Jr., and even former Buck Donte DiVincenzo were available in the offseason. Even Danuel House and T.J. Warren may have been better choices than Ingles.

On paper, Ingles works, at least for this season, but his injury status and longevity won’t serve the Bucks well in the long term.