There’s some garbage time mixed in there, but that’s the case every year. And this year, four rookies have started the first two games of these playoffs. Even last year, when rookies averaged more than 35 minutes per game, none started each of the first two games of the first round.
The Milwaukee Bucks have two of the four starting rookies. One is a 24 year old from the University of Virginia –Malcolm Brogdon — who could be the Rookie of the Year. The other is a 20 year old from South Sudan by way of Australia and the Athlete Institute.
On Feb. 8, the Bucks announced that they will have a D-League team next season. That day, Thon Maker was a DNP-CD, riding the bench as the Bucks got thumped by the streaking Miami Heat.
Two days later though, Maker was in the starting lineup, where he has been ever since. And according to Bucks coach Jason Kidd, the team decided to start Maker because it didn’t yet have that D-League team to give the rookie, taken with the 10th pick in last year’s Draft, playing time.
“We didn’t want it to be a wasted year and we didn’t want to ship him somewhere,” Kidd said prior to Game 2 in Toronto on Tuesday. “So the options became slim to where we need to play him. Talking to the coaching staff, they said let’s look at starting him, being able to benefit [from] his energy, but also giving him the opportunity to play.”
For much of the last two months of the season, Maker was a token starter, giving way to veteran Greg Monroe, who was having a terrific season off the bench. Maker played less than 16 minutes in 22 of the final 31 games he started. He’d