The Milwaukee Bucks opened their 2018 NBA Las Vegas Summer League campaign yesterday in dominant fashion, running out 90-63 winners over the Detroit Pistons.
The Bucks unfortunately went into the contest without their newest first round draft pick, as Donte DiVincenzo was left out with groin soreness. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal’s Matt Velazquez, DiVincenzo is participating in full court drills, but didn’t want to risk further damage in game competition.
Donte DiVincenzo says he's been doing full-court work. Doesn't want to further aggravate his injury. Hopes to play in SL, maybe as soon as Sunday, but no timetable yet.
— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) July 7, 2018
Despite the former Villanova stars absence, the Bucks still rolled out a roster with Sterling Brown and D.J Wilson active, in front of a strong contingent of Bucks fans at the Cox Pavilion.
Let’s take a look at a few of the key contributors.
In his second Summer League showing, D.J Wilson looked a more comfortable and relaxed figure on the court. He appeared to move up and down the floor really well, and opened his scoring on a nice finish on a Jordan Barnett lob.
— Mike Cianciolo (@MikeCianciolo) July 6, 2018
Wilson finished with 17 points and five rebounds, going 2-for-4 from beyond the arc in 25 minutes. Though the game was a blow out, Wilson showed some development in his ability to shoot of the dribble, and on occasions aggressively flew for rebounds. His catch-and-shoot 3-point shot looks solid, so if he is able to hit the glass hard it will put him in a far better position to see court time during the regular season.
Overall, it was an encouraging first outing for Wilson.
Heading into Summer League, Brown was a guy you expected would be a high level contributor for this Bucks team. It’s been a tumultuous offseason for Brown for well-known reasons, but it was just nice to see him back out on the floor in Bucks colours.
Brown played 17 minutes, racking up 14 points and grabbing three rebounds for his troubles. The major talking point with Brown was his body size, as he certainly looked to be beefed up from his already strong build last season.
Up close I didn’t believe Brown looked overweight, rather strong – really strong. Sterling got to the line for four free-throw attempts, and on both occasions got there by bullying his defender off the dribble.
It was a nice outing to shake the rust off for Brown, who did nothing to suggest he won’t continue to build on his solid rookie season in 2017-18.
Without doubt the Game 1 MVP and talking point from the day was former UNLV big man Christian Wood. In a dominant performance from the first minute, Wood racked up a monster line of 23 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks – even knocking down his one 3-point attempt and getting fouled on another.
Wood was aggressive on the glass at both ends, finishing endless dunks and swatting shots into the press rows behind the basket. The Cox Pavilion crowd was loving every minute of the display, and you have to believe Bucks GM Jon Horst was equally as impressed in the crowd.
Christian Wood is having a JAM fest!! 😤 pic.twitter.com/hMPE218ebF
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 7, 2018
The 22-year-old Wood has bounced around the league with various teams since leaving UNLV in 2015. He was a highly touted prospect coming out of college and performances like yesterday make you wonder if he’s finally ready to make the leap in the NBA. For all intents and purposes he looked like the guy the Bucks desperately need yesterday – Summer League disclaimer alert.
After a dominant display in the Summer League opener, the Bucks will now get a day off before facing the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening – 6PM CST.
The Mavericks are resting Luka Doncic for the tournament, but will still look to be a step up in competition from the Pistons. Dallas went down to an extremely talented Phoenix Suns squad yesterday 92-85, and will be looking to notch their first win of the competition.
Follow Kane Pitman on twitter: @mkebucksaus