Bucks’ pre-playoff overview


One would be hard-pressed to rekindle, and, for that matter poke, any more embers when all the old bank statements are turned to ash. Well, as is the case with Bucks Summer League players, many of whom have the cushioning of the Wisconsin Herd – the Bucks’ new G-League developmental team – beneath them, to axiomatically shield them from instant release at the conclusion of Summer League.

For example, Bronson Koenig, who, despite sinking three downtown baskets against the Los Angeles Clippers, has looked like an apparition heretofore in Las Vegas, has a two-way contract. He will be paid in a tiered salary, will make $75,000 G-League salary and, possibly, additional based on the time he spends as a member of the Bucks’ roster, which, based on the implementation of this contract, can expand to 17 players.

For now, I believe the Bucks were too quick to sign Koenig, but I get the facet of bringing him to Oshkosh, even if it’s for selling a few more tickets off the name and rewarding the UW-Madison product for his contributions as a college player. As was mentioned earlier, though, the prospects implied in the two-way contract are very team friendly, and when considering the ballooning cap and reams of paper thrown in every which direction so far this summer.

Some players, no matter their deontic status in the NBA sphere, are playing like their life depends on it. Rookie, and first-round draft choice, D.J. Wilson has looked confident with the ball up till this point, being a sticky presence in the paint, also. He grabbed eight boards in the team’s most recent game against the Clippers on July 10. Wilson, and recently drafted guard Sterling Brown to a lesser extent, are all but penciled into the Bucks second unit, and we should know relatively soon when that becomes official.

Rashad Vaughn has averaged 26 points the last two games, finally shooting at an efficient clips, inciting his teammates to get over their 29-point drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, on the first day of Summer League in the City of Sin. Sure, Vaughn, a former first-rounder himself, has the most NBA experience of anyone on this current installment of Bucks Summer League, but it has to be reassuring to see him be ascendant, given that, statistically he hasn’t grown too much.

Vaughn seems to be a lock, as he’s shown he’s more than a shoddy sparkplug from downtown, showcasing his ability to put his head down and drive to the basket.

Players who likely won’t see time in a Bucks uniform this year but could get some run in Oshkosh – where the new G-League team will be located – include Travis Trice, a former Michigan-State product, who has fluently run fastbreaks with ease, whether off a steal attempt or serving as a darting outlet. He has the I.Q. of someone who clearly was influenced by Tom Izzo, which should be a plus for Milwaukee. Yes, he shot 7-for-27 (combined) from the field in the team’s first three games, but his defensive setting and experience should put him over the top.

Elsewhere on the roster, Gary Payton II seems like a surefire starter on the Herd roster, if not a 12th man for the Deer. He seems to have taken his quick hands and reaction time from his father, especially on while playing perimeter D, and, at this rate, any fundamental defense is prime defense. The son of the Glove exhibits a high basketball I.Q., much like Malcolm Brogdon, a rare thing for players less than two years removed from collegiate play. Maybe there is incentive for staying more than a year at a Division I school. (Wink, wink, Mr. Silver.)

This isn’t the final declaration, as there should be time for more players to guarantee themselves a spot in Oshkosh. It really comes down to whether or not more firewood is placed on the controlled inferno.


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