Corey Maggette’s absence could be good for the Milwaukee Bucks

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Corey Maggette

Against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, a vintage 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks starting lineup shot, passed, and defended their way to the Bucks first 100 point game since their January 28 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors.

A couple weeks after letting Blake Griffin and Co. go NBA Jam on the floor shackled Bucks, Milwaukee looked like a team that was finally clicking on all cylinders and finding the open shooter on nearly every possession (in most cases it was Carlos Delfino along the perimeter).

By Jake McCormick

But there was one player noticeably absent from Milwaukee’s stat sheet that may be more of a problem than solution to the Bucks’ offensive woes and defensive lapses. Even though it was just one game, Milwaukee got along just fine without Corey Maggette, who was brought in to be an offensive catalyst but has become more of a liability.

In Corey Maggette’s defense, he has been a major offensive contributor all over the court over since the beginning of February, shooting 50.6% overall, 50% beyond the arc, averaging 15.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. But the Bucks were 1-7 over that span, not counting Monday’s win over the Clippers.

Maggette has spent most of his career as the top dog on mediocre or bad teams, and he has definitely lived up to that reputation with this underachieving Bucks team. Maggette leads Milwaukee in possession usage (27.30) and ranks 20th in the NBA in that category (Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Danny Granger, and LaMarcus Aldridge all rank below Maggette).

Usage itself shows how ball dominant Maggette is when he’s on the court, typically manifested in the form of a drive to the hoop hoping for a whistle or a quick mid-range jumper against quicker defenders.

Monday’s game further supported the argument that Maggette’s time on the court typically stunts the team’s full offensive potential and defensive abilities. Advanced floor time statistics further support that notion.

Take the +/- stat for what it is, but Corey Maggette ranks second to last on the team at -78. John Salmons is the only player that ranks below him (-81), but much of that can be attributed to his abysmal start to the season, and Salmons has the advantage of being a capable defender.

Maggette’s top two five-man floor units average 1.06 and 1.07 points per possession, but they also allow 1.03 and 1.01 points per defensive possession. It only gets worse from there for Maggette’s on/off-court impact, despite his ability to absorb contact and get to the free throw line.

With the notable exception of Brian Skinner, Corey Maggette comes in dead last on the Bucks in defensive points per possession (1.08) while on the court, and is second to last only above Larry Sanders in net points per 48 minutes of playing time (-5.6).

Milwaukee also only averages 1.02 points per possession when Maggette is on the court, which is just .01 point above Luc Mbah a Moute, Earl Boykins, and Brandon Jennings. So while Corey Maggette is the most likely player on the Bucks to take a shot when he’s on the court, he isn’t contributing to the team’s overall offensive effort like the 20th most used player in the NBA.

When Corey Maggette faced the press for the first time at Bucks Media Day, he said that he was willing to do whatever coach Scott Skiles wanted in order to win games. It’s not necessarily Maggette’s fault that he’s been himself all season, and there are times where he has been the only Bucks player able to score at will.

But it’s become increasingly evident that Corey Maggette isn’t socialistic enough on offense or working as hard as necessary on defense to justify his pure scoring ability. Maggette’s tenure as a Milwaukee Buck could be another mark on his reputation as a good player on a bad team if something doesn’t change soon.

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