Kyle Korver has found a new NBA home with the Milwaukee Bucks, as he enters the next chapter in his career by competing for the Finals hopefuls. Reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team is playing for nothing short than a championship this upcoming season, and Korver’s interest in joining the squad is exactly compatible for that reason and more.
Korver, 38, is one of the oldest five active players in the Association, depending on the retirement or free agency decisions of Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Udonis Haslem, and Pau Gasol. Despite his age and declining performance, Korver can still be a contributor on a contending team if given the specific role he can provide.
Here’s how Kyle Korver can be a plus-player for the Bucks.
To be very direct, the first and foremost component you’re going to get from Korver is his proven perimeter shooting ability.
Korver is a career 42.9% 3-point shooter, hitting 39.7% of his triples in 70 games last year for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz. While he may be closer to 40 than most NBA players, Korver is still an excellent spot-up shooter who will bring value to any team, a contender in Milwaukee no less, due to his constant outside threat.
Defenses still have to plan around covering Korver, who remains a vigilant cutter and is knowledgeable about running his defender into off-ball screens. He adds another dimension to offenses considering the amount of attention defenders must give him, including his quick release motion; defenses can’t give the former second-round selection any light of day to get up a shot.
That’ll lead the Bucks specifically toward running a lineup that can fully utilize Giannis’ breakdowns by providing a plus shooter around the 3-point arc, should the Greek Freak be doubled, and freeing up his teammates to either create on their own or find Korver open or moving towards an open space for a jumper.
Inserting Korver in limited minutes on the court alleviates the pressure of “doing it all” for Antetokounmpo. Giannis thrived last season with 3-point threats Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and even Brook Lopez sharing the floor with him. Now, with Korver playing bench minutes, Antetokounmpo shouldn’t fear passing to a none-threat from the perimeter should he face trouble taking it to the rack.
ESPN reported that Korver’s decision to sign with the Bucks was in part made because of his past relationship with head coach Mike Budenholzer. The two-time Coach of the Year previously manned the sidelines in Atlanta with the Hawks, where he coached Korver and others like Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Jeff Teague. Budenholzer accrued a 213-197 record with the Hawks, where he took the team to the playoffs in four of his five seasons in the Georgia capital—making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 and losing to LeBron James and the Cavs in four games.
Korver’s prior experience with Budenholzer will be a seamless transition for the 16-year NBA vet since he’s already familiar with the former Spurs assistant’s system.
Korver was a +3.6 Net Rating on the court last season, averaging 19.1 minutes per game. He shot a 58.2 True Shooting Percentage with a 17.4% usage rate.
The Creighton alum is a positive player in low doses, and when operating in a smart coach’s clutches, he’s an effective player while playing in the right environment. Budenholzer’s knowledge and expertise with Korver should be a perfect match in extracting the most out of the 38-year-old.
The most abstract of qualities, Korver is a long-time NBA player who will no doubt be valuable off the court, too. He’s seen 16 seasons and can be looked at as a well of experience, almost like another assistant coach to help guide a team looking for answers to advance to the next round in 2020.
Korver has played with Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose, and LeBron James—three MVPs. He’s been on winning teams and losing ones, but with the Milwaukee Bucks he should be a contributor helping a team with success and legacy-cementing status in mind.