Don’t sleep on Mike Dunleavy just because Tobias Harris had a summer we all heard about.
Maybe he fit well into the Milwaukee Bucks’ system or maybe Milwaukee’s system fit better around him and other Bucks willing to move the ball. Whatever the case, the Bucks’ assist renaissance last season, (third in the league in assists after finishing last in the league the season before) was certainly at least partially influenced by Dunleavy. He assisted on 13% of baskets while he was on the court – his highest assist rate in three seasons. Whatever influence he had on Milwaukee’s offense was quite a bargain for the Bucks who will pay Dunleavy just $3.75 million this season.
Hoopspeak just yesterday did a post about the top players in the NBA on pin-downs. Dunleavy’s success here was crucial to Milwaukee’s offensive flow. He could be relied on to hit open shots, space the court and make any other decision that needed to be made. Check out the video above.
Remember, Dunleavy surprised everyone last year. The small forward shot nearly 47% from the field and averaged 12.3 points per game in under 30 minutes per game.
Dunleavy is 32. He doesn’t have the upside and excitement surrounding him that some of the younger Bucks like Harris, John Henson and Brandon Jennings do, but he does have some of the efficiency and the “I’ve seen it all” vision those guys lack. Plus, he’s a shooter. With Carlos Delfino gone, there will be even more shots available on the perimeter and, if history is any indication, Dunleavy is Milwaukee’s most reliable outside threat. He hit 40% of his threes last year. Plus his shot is straight out of the movie Hoosiers.
With the arrival of Marquis Daniels , the Bucks will have their pick at the wing. Between Daniels, Harris, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Dunleavy, the Bucks don’t have a star at the three, but production at the small forward position shouldn’t be a problem.
The most encouraging thing about Dunleavy’s production was that it came off the bench. A guy willing and able to score off of the Bucks bench? Sign me up. He actually produced more off the bench last season than he did as a starter for the majority of his last season in Indiana two years ago.
Simply put, Mike Dunleavy won’t be the guy to put the team on his back and help the Bucks rise from mediocrity, but he’ll hit some threes, move the ball and have some big games this season. So long as he stays healthy (Dunleavy missed an average of 18 games the two seasons prior to last). But we know how kind the words “so long as he stays healthy” have always been to the Bucks, right?
Now to cap off this capsule, here are three fun Mike Dunleavy facts that may or may not affect the Bucks this season:
1. Last season with the Bucks, Dunleavy accumulated 5 of his 13 career technical fouls, a career high. Perhaps he was on edge last year.
2. His sophomore year in high school, he attended Homestead High School in Mequon.
3. Despite 10 years in the NBA, Mike Dunleavy has less playoff experience than the 23-year-old Jennings . Dunleavy has played in 5 playoff games, Jennings has played in 7.