Game 1: Bucks 81, Cavaliers 75
Well the win was good, especially since we would not see another throughout the Summer League. It was nice to see our young players gel together quickly and start 1-0. It was also encouraging to see that Thon Maker is more NBA-ready than some people thought. It was his first true test against higher-level competition, and he looked engaged and ready to go, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Rashad Vaughn, on the other hand, did not have a great start. He may have been playing through an injury on his shooting hand, but 9 points on 4/16 shooting is not what the Bucks wanted to see from their former first round pick. As for a non-roster player, Terran Petteway also looked solid, notching 16 points on consistent shooting.
Game 2: Bucks 86, D-League Select 91
Flipping the script of the previous game, Rashad Vaughn came out firing against the D-League Select. Though in a loss, Vaughn chipped in 24 points on 10/18 shooting. He also added 6 rebounds and 4 assists to round out his day. Maker looked even better in Game 2 as well, snatching 17 rebounds to go along with 17 points for another double-double. Malcolm Brogdon put in another nice outing, where he was 50% from the floor en route to a 14 point performance. As a team, the Bucks finished with 10 more fouls than D-League Select, and surrendered a -18 point differential from the free throw line. The bench struggled all around, as they combined for 21 points on 38% shooting and also contributed 11 total fouls.
Game 3: Bucks 81, Grizzlies 85
After two phenomenal games, Thon Maker calmed down in this one. Ending his streak of double-doubles at 2, Maker finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes. However, he did average a foul every three minutes he was on the floor, and fouled out because of it (10 fouls is the limit in the Summer League). Like the first game, Terran Petteway had another nice night. He finished with 21 points on another smooth shooting performance. Vaughn added 16 points, but it was a very inefficient 16 points. Volume shooting is not something he can do when it comes to the NBA season, so he will need to become much better as a spot-up, knockdown shooter. Although he does nothing special, Brogdon had another steady outing. He shot the ball better in this one (7/12) and scored 15 points to go with 5 assists. Overall, it was certainly a good sign to see the team be lights-out from the free throw line. Despite the loss, the Bucks were 21/24 from the stripe, 87.5%.
Game 4: Bucks 64, Mavericks 81
Can you shoot the ball any worse than the Bucks did in this one? The team shot a dreadful 30% from the floor for the entire game, and the Mavericks walloped them. No one who played more than five minutes finished with a positive plus/minus in this one. The best performance of the day was given by Ra’Shad James, who shot 50% from the floor and finished with 15 points. Aside from his game, there was not much else to like about this one. Maker was the leading scorer with 17 points, but he also only grabbed 3 rebounds. And for a 7’1″ player, you need to expect more boards than that. Brogdon and Vaughn were fine in their command of the offense, but they couldn’t hit a shot all night. The two guards combined to shoot a horrendous 6 for 29 (20.6%) and had 15 points.
Game 5: Bucks 89, Rockets 92
Yet again, Brogdon and Vaughn could not find the bottom of the net. They were slightly better in this one, but 7/27 (26%) for 21 points is not going to cut it. They need to be more efficient. Maker once again had a nice stat-line with 12 points and 9 rebounds, but he was only 3/10 as well (though 2 of those makes were from behind the arc). The main issue with his play in this game, however, was his defense. Although he has the length and ability to block shots, he needs to add lots of weight in order to play physical defense down low. Montrezl Harrell addressed this weakness of Maker and scored the game-high 20 points. In a positive note for the Bucks, Ra’Shad James had a great game off the bench. He led the team in scoring with 19 points, and did so on 8/12 shooting.
Thon Maker: A-
Maker did lots of good things during the Summer League. First, he accomplished the tremendous feat of fouling out during a Summer League game. In high school and college, you are allowed five fouls. In the NBA, that number is six. However, in the Summer League, you can foul TEN times. Yes, Thon fouled out when he was called for his tenth foul. Aside from that, he nearly averaged a double-double in his five games. He showed the ability to spread the floor by knocking down six threes and could be a solid pick-and-pop threat for Giannis this season. He was also very active on the floor, showing tons of effort. For a guy who will likely be an energy player as a rookie, his hustle should earn him a few more minutes. He was often the first player to loose balls, and this allowed him to get several easy scoring opportunities. In his last matchup against the Rockets, however, his biggest weaknesses was shown. Maker is not a physical defender, and he struggled with Houston’s Montrezl Harrell. Harrell was able to back him down in the post and finished with 20 points. Although this is worrying, we must remember that Thon is only 19 years old and has plenty of time to develop into an interior defender who can also be a stretch-5 on offense.
Malcolm Brogdon: A-
As encouraging as Thon Maker’s performance was, Brogdon looked just as good. He struggled shooting the ball, and his woeful 16.7% from three speaks to that, but there is so much more to like about his game. Over the course of the games, Brogdon was terrific in running the offense, recording 22 assists to only 3 turnovers. He was impressive in how he was always in control and definitely took on a leadership role for the team. Clearly he struggled shooting from the floor, but his 4 for 7 from the free line is the weirdest thing to me. Free throws are often indicative of how well a player is shooting the ball due to the rhythm of the shot and the volume in which they are practiced. If someone is off from the charity strike, then their whole shot will likely be out of whack. And for an 89.7% free throw shooter as a senior in college, going 4 for 7 is an oddity. Still, it is only 5 games, so there is plenty of time to work out the kinks in preparation for next season. Assuming that he can figure out his shot (which seemingly doesn’t get above the rim), Brogdon could secure some very valuable minutes for the Bucks, a team that struggled defensively last year. Malcolm might not be as quick as some people would hope for, but he was not the Defensive Player of the Year in college for nothing. The guy can flat-out defend. That, taken with his poise on offense, should yield some pretty good results for the second round pick out of Virginia.
Rashad Vaughn: C+
After a rough rookie season, Bucks fans were hoping to see some improvement from Vaughn during the Summer League. However, Vaughn really struggled shooting the ball, connecting on less than 25% of his three-point attempts. For next season, Vaughn’s ideal role was to be a knockdown shooter off the bench, but as of now it doesn’t look like he can even fill that slot. Sure, he played with stitches on his shooting hand, but we are yet to see Vaughn really shoot the lights out with Milwaukee. Rashad is only 19 years old, however, and there is plenty of room for him to develop. Although it would be nice to see him have a successful year with the big club, Vaughn could spend some time in the D-League this year, should the Bucks acquire a D-League team.
Jared Berggren: C
Berggren did not play many minutes in the Summer League, so it hard to judge his performance. He did not do anything wrong in his minutes, but he also was not super effective either. He took no shots, and was hardly an imposing force blocking shots off the bench. It was exciting to see the former Wisconsin Badgers standout in a Bucks uniform, but it will not last. At 26 years old, Berggren still has plenty of basketball left in him, but those minutes will need to come overseas.
Prince Ibeh: C+
Ibeh did about exactly what we expected from him. He is not an aggressive scorer, but he can play hard defense and block shots. In only 38 total minutes, Ibeh swatted 7 shots. Due to this, he was pretty effective off the bench, but it is doubtful that he will be on an NBA roster this season. Ibeh is 22 years old, and still has plenty of room to develop. He could spend the next year or so in the D-League and if he can develop a better offensive game, then reaching the NBA is not out of the question.
Le’Bryan Nash: C+
Nash surprisingly did not receive a great amount of minutes. A volume scorer both in college and overseas, Nash was reasonably effective in his minutes. He had decent shooting percentages, albeit in a very small sample size, but his lack of minutes seems to show that he will be playing overseas once again this season. It would have been nice to see Nash get a few more minutes, but maybe he will get an opportunity with another team in a training camp or for next year’s Summer League.
Devin Williams: D
Like Nash, Williams was another guy who I thought would get more minutes. He struggled in his minutes, shooting horribly from the field. In total, Williams had more fouls than points and rebounds, which is not a good sign. In fact, Williams averaged picking up a foul every 2.7 minutes he was on the floor. This former West Virginia forward will have to look outside of the NBA to pursue his basketball dream.
Terran Petteway: B
Another member of the starting lineup, Petteway was definitely impressive for the Bucks. He was reasonably efficient with his shot, and proved to be a decent defender. Petteway is a great competitor and could easily receive a training camp invitation from the Bucks or another NBA team. His 1.6 steals per game led the team, and his shooting on the wing is a nice trait. Petteway might not be a great player, but the Bucks do have three roster spots remaining for 2016-2017. Do they use one on Terran? We’ll have to wait to find out, but he was one of the best performers during the Summer League.
Ra’Shad James: B+
Another solid performer outside of the three on the roster, James had a nice few games. He shot the ball very well and varied his offensive game well with three-point shooting, midrange, and attacking of the basket. And at only 6’1″, grabbing 4 rebounds per game is a nice statistic to have on his side. At 26 years of age, this could be one of the last opportunities for James to make an NBA roster. He was good enough in these 5 games to earn a training camp invite somewhere, but it is what he does there that matters now. Can he be impressive enough to sign a contract?
Stephen Sir: C+
Sir was as advertised during the Summer League. He is a smooth shooting player who can light it up from beyond the arc. Aside from that, the 33-year-old veteran lacks depth in his game. Sir was very limited in his minutes, but came up big against the Rockets, adding six points in short order to get the Bucks back into the game. It is highly unlikely that Sir latches onto an NBA roster, especially considering his narrow skill-set and age.
Joshua Smith: B
As a decent around-the-rim scorer and rebounder, Smith had a solid Summer League. He has the ability to knockdown a midrange jumper and is a big body who can take up space in the paint. He is not a great shot-blocking center, but does a nice job stepping in front of passes and creating turnovers. Not a high-minute type of guy, but he is serviceable in his spot. Maybe a little undersized for a center and not quite quick enough to play power forward. Still, the possibility of joining an NBA team is real. If not, Smith can always go back to the D-League and keep working for a contract.
Julyan Stone: C-
Stone is a very interesting player. He doesn’t hurt you when he is on the floor, but he doesn’t seem to help much either. He is not a playmaker, nor is he a scorer. He is a decent defender, but nothing spectacular. He can occasionally knock down the open three, but not much else. Yet…he played 18.6 minutes per game in the Summer League, which was the sixth-most on the team. He has an incredibly low usage rate and is very comfortable with his role, but it is highly unlikely he finds room in The Association this year.
The Bucks certainly have a bright future ahead of them behind the likes of Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. This Summer League showed that there is hope for a couple more players to join that core. Thon Maker was definitely impressive for such a raw prospect. He will definitely get a decent amount of minutes as a rookie in the front court, especially if Greg Monroe is traded. Their second-round pick Malcolm Brogdon also looked good. Although he is 23 years old, he brings a great team attitude and (if he gets his shot back) could be a solid 3-and-D bench guard. Rashad Vaughn struggled for much of play, but showed flashes of what he might be. Remember, he is still 19 as well. Those three will definitely be members of the opening day roster, but will we see someone else from the Summer League join them? Only time will tell.