Connaughton Operating With Limitless Confidence


It is hard to describe, but noticeable when a player plays with freedom. They are comfortable in who they are.

No doubts. True “let it fly” mentality. In the glow of the Bucks’ NBA Championship aftermath, Pat Connaughton seems to have found this state on the basketball floor.

Before last year when the taxpayer MLE $5 million cap deal was given to Connaughton, there was some buzz on what a mistake the deal was. Pat Connaughton? Five million dollars per year!? Taking away a cap slot!? Fast forward a year-plus and the deal looks like larceny. Another shrewd move by GM Jon Horst.

In the Bucks’ run to their first NBA championship in 50 years, Connaughton was heavily depended on. He responded and knocked down numerous big shots. Connaughton’s knack for the clutch shot was displayed time and time again, including a late go-ahead three in Game 4 of the Finals.

Playoff Pat has carried over

Connaughton has become invaluable to the Bucks and his jump to 29 minutes per game is a testament to that.

The confidence built from the championship run has clearly carried over into the 2021-22 season. Connaughton is shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from deep (both would be career bests). His true-shooting percentage is 65.4.

“Planet Pat” is the most efficient he has ever been with nearly double the volume, making 2.6 3s per game on 6.3 attempts– he attempted less than four 3s per game a season ago.

With the team missing Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday and others at various times, Connaughton has stepped up offensively, averaging career-bests 12.1 points — he has never averaged seven points per game — and 5.1 rebounds per game.

He has been even better lately.

Connaughton also a “star in his role”

There aren’t chants of his name, but Connaughton, like Bobby Portis, is “a star in his role”. It isn’t a question anymore on what you’re going to get from him. He has become a reliable player, which may sound boring, but it’s key for the Bucks to have dependable players alongside Giannis, Middleton and Holiday nightly.

Milwaukee may still be missing this year’s P.J. Tucker. But with Connaughton, Portis and George Hill leading the bench mob, the Bucks might be another deadline deal away from putting everyone on notice for a repeat.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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