The East is wide open this season, with numerous teams vying for the top seed and a place in the NBA finals.
It may only in the very early stages of the 82-game NBA season, but already it looks like it could be a long one individually for Australian duo Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker.
Four games into the Milwaukee Bucks’ season and the duo find themselves at the bottom end of coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation with only Dellavedova finding his way onto the court, albeit just for four minutes.
In Dellavedova’s case, he now appears to be the third guard in the rotation with Eric Bledsoe occupying the starting point guard position, while Donte DiVincenzo – the 17th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft – has seamlessly slotted into the backup role thus far.
Prior to Bledsoe arriving via a trade from the Phoenix Suns in the early stages of last season, Delly was quite often the starting guard alongside Malcolm Brogdon. Former coach Jason Kidd did elect to use Brogdon as the starter during various times, however.
DiVincenzo developed into somewhat of a specialist off the bench during his college days, having picked up the Big East sixth man of the year award earlier this year after his efforts for the NCAA Champions Villanova.
In the early stages of the season, DiVincenzo appears to be an astute selection by the Bucks and given Bledsoe can be erratic in his performances he may soon find himself on the court for longer periods of time.
A decision on Delly’s future may not come down to the Australian himself, as he finds himself on a contract worth around $10 million a season and the Bucks may see that as taking up too much room in their salary cap.
Switching attention to Maker, where he remains a curious case for Milwaukee since being selected with the tenth pick in the 2016 draft.
While he has given glimpses of his ability during his first two seasons in the league, you could arguably assume the 21-year-old quite hasn’t developed as well as the Bucks organisation would have liked.
Maker has slipped down the pecking order this summer following the arrival of Brook Lopez from the LA Lakers, after just one season with the organisation.
The former Brooklyn Net has already assumed the starting position for the Bucks, offering valuable service in the early exchanges of the new season.
Coming off the bench, Budenholzer has elected to use John Henson and Ersan Ilyasova and the pair have done more than a respectable job thus far.
One positive for Maker is that these guys have plenty of experience and he should use his time to learn as much as possible from that trio given their experience at the level.
Given the situation both players find themselves in, they must be beginning to ask whether they are ready to stick it out for team success in a weak Eastern Conference or if they need a move away to further develop their own game.