When Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks take the floor against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night (9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN App), they'll have a new threat at their disposal -- the offensive skillset of newly acquired point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe, who was traded to Milwaukee on Tuesday for center Greg Monroe and two draft picks, could give the Bucks the second scoring option they've desperately been searching for alongside Antetokounmpo. In 66 games last season, Bledsoe put up the best numbers of his career. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no backcourt player has averaged at least 20 points per game in a season for the Bucks since Michael Redd in 2008-09.
The 27-year-old is just one of nine players that have averaged at least 20 points and six assists since the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Bucks are hoping that Bledsoe can immediately enter the rotation and mesh with Antetokounmpo, who's off to an incredible start this season. The Greek Freak is averaging a league-leading 31.9 points per game while shooting 60.1 percent from the field.
The Bucks are only 10 games into their season, but no player in NBA history has averaged 30 points and shot 60 percent over the course of an entire season. Although it may be a bit premature, Antetokounmpo is putting up similar (and in some cases, even better) numbers than LeBron James did in his fifth year. In Tuesday's loss to Cleveland, the 22-year-old scored 40 points for the second time already this season.
Although Antetokounmpo is off to a flying start, the Bucks are currently riding a four-game losing streak after starting the year 4-2.
The bad news for Milwaukee? History tells us the Bucks might not be able to get off the schneid tonight. The Spurs have been Antetokounmpo's kryptonite. In eight career games against San Antonio, Antetokounmpo is averaging just 11.1 points, his fewest against a single opponent. Milwaukee has posted a 1-7 record in those games. However, Kawhi Leonard's absence from the lineup could make things easier for Antetokounmpo.
Although they haven't had much luck against Gregg Popovich & Co., recent history is on the Bucks' side. The last time these two teams played on Jan. 10, Milwaukee snapped it's nine-game losing streak against the Spurs with 109-97 win in San Antonio.
Other Bucks Notes:
Tony Snell is shooting 53.8 percent from the 3-point line this season, the fourth-best percentage in the NBA. He’s making a career-high 2.1 3s per game.
Khris Middleton is averaging career highs in points (19.1), rebounds (6.0) and assists (5.5) this season. Middleton, a career 40-percent shooter from 3-point range, is scoring despite connecting on just 27 percent of his shots from that range. Middleton’s also taking a career-high 17.0 field goal attempts per game.
Malcolm Brogdon, the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, has scored 20 or more points in three straight games, the longest streak of his young career.
Offensively, the Bucks are second behind the Warriors in field goal percentage (49.1), tied for eighth in 3-point makes per game (10.9) and tied for third in 3-point percentage (39.9).
Other Spurs Notes:
The Spurs are 5-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming to the Warriors back on Nov. 2nd.
San Antonio ranks 19th in offensive efficiency and 13th in defensive efficiency this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging a team-leading 22.6 points this season, a 5.3 point increase from last season.
Rudy Gay is averaging 13.5 points this season while shooting a career-high 48.7 percent from the field.