Bronson Koenig: The Marathon Continues

Bronson Koenig, the University of Wisconsin and La Crosse Aquinas product, was hoping to hear his name called Thursday night at the 2017 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers went undrafted.

Earlier in the day, Koenig and The Players’ Tribune released an article written by Koenig himself that eloquently and confidently stated why he belongs in the NBA. Here’s what the article said in nine short words: “I’m the best shooter in this year’s draft class.”

At the end of Koenig’s article he quotes his favorite rapper, Nipsey Hussle, and says TMC; The Marathon Continues.

Even though Koenig wasn’t selected during the draft Thursday night, he signed with a team very shortly after.

That team happened to be our very own Milwaukee Bucks. It’s reported that Milwaukee intends to sign Koenig to one of the new two-way deals that is created by the CBA  this year. That deal indicates that he would spend the majority of his time with the new G-League team, the Wisconsin Herd, but can also practice and/or play with the Bucks.

Koenig will have every chance to prove himself as he will likely be asked to run the Summer League team as well. He will have quite a few interesting options around him as D.J. Wilson (first round pick), Sterling Brown (second round pick), Jalen Moore (undrafted) and possibly Thon Maker will be in Las Vegas.

I expect Koenig to be able to show off skills that were severely limited in college. Mainly, his passing ability. Koenig only averaged 2 assists per game his senior year at Wisconsin but that is more indicative of the system he played in than his passing ability. At times he was able to flash great court vision and incredibly accurate pocket passing.

He measured at just a tad under 6-foot-3 which gives him decent size compared to most NBA point guards. His wingspan of 6-foot-4 is only average for a player of his height, which will lead to some of his defensive struggles we will get into later.

What makes Koenig most valuable to the Bucks at all aspects of the organization is his ability to shoot from the outside. He has one of the most beautiful and fundamentally sound jump shots you will ever see. Because of this, his shot is very consistent and productive. He shot 39.5 percent from downtown last year on an incredibly high 7.3 attempts per game.

That is amazing on two fronts. First, opposing teams knew that Koenig had limited driving ability and relied mostly on his 3-point shot. The scouting reports were out on him to play him tightly and force him to put the ball on the floor. Even with teams knowing that he was still able to get off 7 three’s a game, most of them good shots by the way.

The second reason that is such an amazing feat is that of the sheer volume and efficiency. Bronson shot an extra 1.2 3-pointers last season and actually increased his percentage, although only by .5 percentage points. That is still impressive because we typically see a decrease in a players’ shooting percentage when the attempts go up.

Koenig also has a great mid-range and pull-up game that compliments his outside shooting. He’s able to use his sound fundamentals to pump-fake and get a defender up in the air. After that, he uses one or two dribbles to get to the elbow and hit a pull-up from there. That’s incredibly important as he is not nearly athletic or skilled enough to finish around the rim and amongst the trees.

Defensively is where Koenig is going to have to make the most progress. His limited wingspan and lateral quickness put him at an automatic disadvantage. He will do okay in Summer League and the G-League but when matched up against the quick point guards of the NBA he will struggle mightily.

Unfortunately, there’s not a way a player can make huge improvements in their athletic ability. Koenig will have to rely on his basketball IQ (which is extremely high) and hard work to become even a serviceable defensive player. He will definitely rely on his teammates and the big men down low to clean up after his shortcomings.

Make no mistake about it, shooting is the reason the Bucks are interested in Koenig. Word around Koenig’s camp is that he is an incredibly hard worker and busts his tail every single day. If he can continue to do that and improve, he might have a chance to stick around as a role player in the NBA.

His ceiling is probably that of a Jose Calderon. A limited player athletically but a truly great shooter from the outside. Calderon has played in the league for 14 years and counting so that isn’t a knock on Koenig’s skill at all.

For Koenig, the Marathon is only just beginning, let’s hope he makes it to the finish line with the Milwaukee Bucks.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here