With Chris Duhon going to sunnier weather in Orlando and Luke Ridnour most likely seeking to capitalize off his career resurrection in 2009-10, the Milwaukee Bucks may be relegated to the discount aisle of the point guard section.
Last year, Ridnour was a Godsend off the bench during Jennings' rookie swoons, leading the team in scoring efficiency per 48 minutes and posting a 48/91/38 shooting line. In a perfect world, the Bucks would be able to re-sign a similar point guard with three-point range, smart ball handling abilities and consistent energy off the bench.
But since we live in a reality with budget constraints around every corner, Milwaukee is forced to rummage through the clearance items in the search for a suitable backup to the Young Buck.
If Ridnour and Duhon are commanding 4-year deals for upwards of $12-15 million, the Bucks may be better served signing a short-term deal with a veteran point guard.
General manager John Hammond has already committed five years to John Salmons and Drew Gooden, and took on the final three years of Corey Maggette's contract, so it could be argued that signing a 30-year-old backup to another long-term deal would be a waste of future resources.
It also could be a good thing that Ridnour is financially unavailable, given the Bucks' offseason acquisitions have centered more around pure scoring ability than defense. Ridnour was nothing short of unspectacular defending his position, and mostly served as a spark that lit Milwaukee's often stagnant offensive match in 2009-10.
Because the Bucks have focused on bringing in players with the ability to draw fouls and score at will, the role of the backup point guard may be better filled by someone with a pass-first mentality and serviceable defensive abilities; Duhon fit much of that profile.
Jennings will certainly be asked to be more of a passer than scorer when on the floor with Maggette, Salmons, Gooden, Bogut and/or Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ersan Ilyasova, and his backup will most likely serve the same purpose.
With that said, the remaining options available for the picking shouldn't be expected to have the same off-the-bench impact of Ridnour. Here are a few of the most practical (ability-wise and financially) choices:
Watson was the Pacers' starting point guard for 52 games last year, but that isn't typically much of an accomplishment these days. But overall, he should be at the top of the Bucks' big board now that Duhon and Ridnour have been eliminated. Watson has some trouble with turnovers, but can score when he's right and is pass-first for the most part.
He doesn't have the mid- or long-range game of Ridnour, but if he's legitimately on Hammond's radar and comes at the right price, Watson would be the closest thing to a poor man's Ridnour or Duhon.
Williams still has a little bit of Randy Moss-attitude in him, but he would be a great replacement for Jennings, provided he is willing to play in a cold-weather city. He's still able to hit threes and make flashy passes on a regular basis, but he might not take too kindly to Scott Skiles' style of coaching.
I highly doubt Williams would consider playing in Milwaukee, but he would definitely be worth a call or two if Hammond believes he could convince Williams the team's potential takes precedent over the frigid Wisconsin winters.
It's a distinct possibility that the Marquette fan favorite could make a triumphant return to the Bradley Center as Brandon Jennings' backup, thanks to his high basketball IQ and decent passing ability. Diener can also hit a three when the occasion calls for it, but is much better served driving and dishing to an outside shooter.
Neither Diener nor Ridnour are suitable defensive stoppers, so there wouldn't be much improvement on that end, but it would still be fun to see a Wisconsin native return to his old stomping grounds.
Arroyo would be a pocket of energy coming off the bench, as he is at his best in transition and is an efficient passer able to get to the rim. He won't do much in the way of defense or rebounding, but the Bucks can't be too picky when they're looking for decent production from an extremely cheap veteran.
Brown can play respectable man-to-man defense, has decent range, and has no problem passing the ball. However, he's about two inches taller than me (6-2) and weighs about the same (175 pounds), and he isn't a natural point guard. Brown's skill set bodes well for a backup, but there are many more pure point guards who are probably ranked higher on Hammond's list.