BUCKS FREE AGENCY REPORT: Bucks Add Pat Swingman Connaughton For a $3.6M Two-Year Deal
What's the FREE AGENT SIGNING tiger?
The Milwaukee Bucks have continued to fill out their roster for the 2018 NBA season and forward depth by signing Pat Connaughton to a 2 year contract for a total of $3.6M. The deal once again gives the Bucks a team option on the second year with only the first year being guaranteed as Connaughton will pocket $1,641,000 exactly which is just above the veteran minimum for a year player being $1,567,007. This looks like another savvy front office move by the Bucks as Pat has only played 3 years in the NBA and could provide effective minutes as a rotation player off the bench while being on a cheap 1 year deal. Let's dig in a bit further!
FREE AGENT SIGNING REPORT SUMMARY
There is a really interesting trend happening right now with Bucks free agency and it's the obvious fact that the Milwaukee Bucks are doing everything that they can this off season to find the right mold of players on basically risk free deals that can fit around and maximize the face of the franchise: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The signing of Pat Connaughton falls right in line with this currently emphasized team philosophy. Instead of offering Jabari Parker a big deal he was hoping to get with the Bucks they let him walk and rightfully so. The risk factor clearly outweighed the reward factor and it had become too obvious that the fit with the team and the relationships between Jabari with the rest of the players (particularly Giannis) was heading on the wrong road. On top of that, Jabari's overall talent and NBA skill set is extremely questionable at this point and all of his career basic stats and advanced stats confirm this pretty heavily. Because the Bucks front office is getting smarter and learning from their mistakes they are shifting their mentality to finding value guys like Pat Connaughton who may not be a sexy addition to the team but their is no doubt that his skill set, playing style, and intangibles that he brings to the table are 100% parallel with the Bucks new and improved team philosophy. The NBA taught us a lesson last season that superior coaching and team fit can trump overall talent on paper. In fact, talent on paper is all subjective and it turns out that the Boston Celtics had a stud loaded roster even outside of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward when the Bucks who they faced in the first round of the playoffs probably had overrated talent.
After watching even just a few videos on Pat Connaughton and learning about his profile I'm convinced that he way outperforms his salary this season. The Bucks are going to pay him just slightly over the veteran minimum for one guaranteed season and that's it. If he performs well there is no doubt that they'll probably keep him for at least one more season riding out the team option that they have in the second year of his contract. Last season was the first season Connaughton actually received respectable minutes playing 18.1 minutes per game in all 82 games of the season and even though there is nothing mind blowing about his per game average stats, it's his per 36 games stats that actually suggest some appealing upside to me and being basically a veteran minimum guy in only year 3 of his NBA career and a skill set that fits what the Bucks want to build around Giannis with...there's a lot to like here. Connaughton's per 36 stats highlight 35% three point shooting on 5.1 attempts, 3.9 rebounds, and 10.7 points a game. Hey if Connaughton is like our 10 or 11th man or something I'll take that because he's still really young and my bet is his that his 3pt shooting % goes up this season and probably his rebounds and points will too to a degree knowing because I think his role will pretty concrete and I really think the shooters in our offense this season are going to get great looks under Budholzer's expected emphasis on ball movement and three point shooting.
Beyond that the eye test tells me that this guy has a pretty good motor, plays with a ton of effort, hustles for loose balls, looks to crash the boards and seems like a pretty good cutter with good overall awareness. He actually has a really nice shooting stroke and a really quick trigger. This guy will shoot without hesitating when he get's a good look and the Bucks really need that from it's shooters. As far as his frame goes he's 6'5" and 210lb. so he has adequate size to play the 2 and the 3 at times I would think and overall it seems as though he has a pretty sturdy frame. In fact after looking at his NBA combine he profiles to be very strong, with very solid agility, great straight line speed, and killer hops! Overall he had a phenomenal combine outing. He plays with a high IQ too as you can see when you watch him run around screens and change directions to create separation from his defender or find open lanes for easy lob dunks. Even more interesting, Pat Connaughton is currently a profession minor league baseball pitcher owned by the Baltimore Orials Orioles! Pretty talented dude to play two pro sports. Really interesting...
free agent signing BENEFITS
- Pat Connaughton looks like he could have a break out season in his 4th NBA as he actually has quite a bit of upside at a deeper glance.
- Connaughton tested really well at his NBA combine and his and above average athlete overall.
- Connaughton is a solid 3pt shooter with a very quick trigger, not affraid to shoot, and has the upside for a big time shooting season with the Bucks.
- Pat has great intangibles being a high effort player, scrappy, and high IQ.
- For basically a minimum contract player Connaughton sure shows up well in advanced real plus minus positional stats ranking 46 overall and 38 in win share % (wowzers!).
- He has the potential to absolutely crush his contract this season and the Bucks can keep him on the roster for one more year for about the same price with their team option (nice!).
free agent signing DRAWBACKS
- There is nothing statistically that suggests he's a good defender but doesn't appear to be a liability.
- Has the physical tools and the IQ to be at least a solid defender with more development.
- Connaughton is overall a good athlete with a solid frame but he does lack wing span and could probably transform his overall game if he loss 10lbs or more.
- He was a 24% corner 3pt shooter last season which is horrible and corner 3's are the easiest 3pt shot location there is.
- Doesn't appear to have a great handle and mostly operates off-ball.
- Has some crafty ability to create space when trying to get open for catch and shoots but he doesn't have a ton skill in creating his own shot nor a quick enough first step to just burn past defenders.
ESPN 2018 season REAL PLUS MINUS (sHOOTING gUARD) ADVANCED STATS
OFFENSIVE RPM / RANK
(-) 0.08 / Rank 41
DEFENSIVE RPM / RANK
(-) 1.39 / Rank 76
OVERALL RPM / RANK
(-) 1.47 / Rank 46
WIN SHARE %
(+) 1.55 / Rank 38
career per game average stats
career per 36 game stats
career per 100 possessions game stats
career advanced game stats
TIGER'S GRADE REPORT
TIGER FREE AGENT SIGNING PROJECTION
I will be completely honest with you... There was zero chance that I thought I would grade this deal so highly lol. No seriously. The signing of Pat Connaughton isn't sexy and neither is his white whale body. However, my research has assured me that this guy could be on the verge of becoming a very productive NBA player and be a very effective rotation player. On the surface it can be so easy to overlook a player like Connaughton but his advanced stats speak differently and the eye test tells me he's a winning player. After doing all this research I am actually really excited about this signing and knowing that we can have him for the next 2 seasons at basically the cost of the veteran minimum what's not to like? It's very likely Connaughton exceeds expectations and his salary as well. I can't wait to watch this little rascal run around screens and pull his quick trigger on catch and shoots this season. It might make me a little dizzy actually...
TIGER'S FINAL TAKE
When the Bucks are strapped for salary cap space it's really nice to see the front office make such savvy FA acquisitions this off season. Pat Connaughton was definitely an under the radar FA this summer and I think the Bucks did were really wise to scoop him up given how cheap was. To get ahead you have to find cheap players that can over exceed their price and that requires deep research. Connaughton fits this bill and I think he's a great fit for our squad. I won't be surprised if Pat has a really big season for the Bucks this year and that means that they can keep him for a second year with their team option at a bargain price! Boom go the Bucks! Or something...