Milwaukee Bucks Outlook After Draft

D.J. Wilson to the Bucks

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Last night, the Milwaukee Bucks added another piece to their “Team All-Length” montra coined by Thon Maker.

Milwaukee added D.J. Wilson, a positionless piece from Michigan. Standing at 6’10” with a 7’3″ wingspan, Wilson can shoot, play the pick and roll, and alter shots at the rim. In the second round Milwaukee took Sindarius Thornwell, but traded his rights to the Clippers and acquired Sterling Brown’s rights from the 76ers.

Here is a look at the team’s players under contract, including draft picks:

PG: Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova, Gary Payton II (non-guaranteed)

SG: Khris Middleton, Sterling Brown, Rashad Vaughn

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mirza Teletovic

PF: Jabari Parker, D.J. Wilson

C: Greg Monroe (opted into player option), Thon Maker, John Henson

And players who could hit the open market:

PG: Jason Terry (FA)

SG: Tony Snell (Restricted FA)

SF: N/A

PF: Michael Beasley (FA)

C: Spencer Hawes (player option)

As for how the draft picks affect the roster, the selection of D.J. Wilson makes Michael Beasley look a whole lot more expendable. Despite finding an NBA home for the first time in a while, Beasley may not be worth the amount of money he will be asking for. Beasley does provide a great scoring punch off the bench but his defense isn’t stellar.

Rashad Vaughn’s spot on the team is completely up in the air. Vaughn was given the chance to be the team’s starting shooting guard but failed to provide anything, averaging just 3.5 points and 11.2 minutes per game while shooting just 32.1% from three.

Sterling Brown is NBA ready and could push Vaughn far down the depth chart. Brown profiles to be a much better defender than Vaughn, and after shooting a career 45% behind the arc at SMU, Brown is the better shooter. Unless Vaughn shows something in the little playing time he gets, his time in Milwaukee is limited.

Milwaukee’s cap space will to be small, as Greg Monroe’s opt-in and the likely re-signing of Tony Snell makes their cap space very limited. Unless Milwaukee decides not to bring back Snell or make a trade to alleviate cap space, the Bucks can acquire no more than a role player via free agency.

Jason Terry, meanwhile, was still effective even at age 39. Shooting a career high 42.7% from three, Terry was also effective as a leader and motivator for the young players on the squad. Terry could sign a veteran minimum contract to return, or becoming an assistant coach is an option.

Spencer Hawes came over to Milwaukee through the highway robbery deal that was the Miles Plumlee trade. In limited playing time Hawes averaged just over 4 points and 2 rebounds per game. Hawes owns a player option and it is unclear whether he will opt in.

The new CBA brought a very interesting component to almost every team’s offseason: two-way contracts. The G-League has become more and more effective for teams to utilize as a breeding ground for prospects, and the NBA took notice. Each NBA team will have two extra roster spots for two-way contracts, players who can move up and down from their respective G-League affiliate.

The new component gives bigger opportunities to undrafted free agents, as Oregon big man Chris Boucher just signed a two-way with the Warriors. The Bucks just signed Bronson Koenig as a UDFA, and is expected to sign a two-way with the Bucks. It will be interesting to see who else the Bucks sign, and could possibly restructure Gary Payton II’s contract to become a two-way deal.

Jabari Parker suffered yet another ACL tear in the middle of the season. Parker was averaging over 20 points per game and was enjoying a breakout season and was even a favorite for Most Improved Player. Everyone will be watching to see if Parker can come back with the same explosiveness he showed before the injury.

Milwaukee is looking to build off of an encouraging 42-40 season, which featured them losing a competitive first round series to the Toronto Raptors. This offseason and how they play their cards could be crucial for the Bucks to take that next step.

Milwaukee’s plan at the moment seems to be to build around superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. They have done that by acquiring 3-and-D player Khris Middleton from the Pistons back in 2013, drafting Jabari Parker number 2 overall in 2014, taking rising star Thon Maker with the tenth pick in 2016, and taking possible Rookie of the Year winner Malcolm Brogdon in the second round.

The Bucks think that the future of the league is positionless basketball with lots of length. They may be right and they have pieces in place. If D.J. Wilson pans out or they add another piece next year, the Bucks are ready to contend. Expect Milwaukee to win 43-45 games and contend for a first round victory next season.

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