I’ll preface this by saying that very few people expected Wilson to have a significant role on this roster, due to the composition of the roster and Wilson’s relatively raw game. Conversely few people expected that we would be here at the end of the season, with him having played virtually no meaningful minutes. The 17th pick from the University of Michigan, had a pretty lackluster rookie season, which is probably too kind of a descriptor. He just could not break into the rotation for the life of him tallying a total of 71 minutes played, tallying double digit minutes just twice in a lopsided loss and a lopsided victory.
Highlights: Didn’t get Hurt?
Wilson did not have much in the way of highlights this season, his summer league was almost a year ago now so I am not sure that even counts. He had a lot of energy on the bench, but he had to earn the checks somehow. Using any stats on him would be completely unfair as his sample size is miniscule. We as fans know little about DJ’s game beyond what he showed at Michigan and Summer League. The hope is that the coaches know something we do not and there has been improvement behind closed doors. The only solace is that he had an entirely healthy season with NBA coaching and conditioning.
Lowlights: Total Lack of Game Time
There was a couple of games this season where the Bucks were missing Mirza Teletovic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker leaving Wilson as the only theoretical PF left on the roster. Even in those games, with no one in front of him, he could still not get any run. I often warn people to not over assume what the coaches see in practice, but the fact that he could not get onto the court says a lot. His 71 minutes played was the lowest by a Bucks drafted rookie (healthy sorry French Draymond) since Darrington Hobson in 2010. An optimist would say Michael Redd only played 35 minutes in his rookie season, but I’m not an optimist.
Grade for Season: D
Wilson escapes an F, only because I graded him as a raw prospect coming out of the draft. If Teletovic had played all season, Wilson would be closer to a C, but the fact that the depth in front of him was weak for most of the season definitely has to lower the grade. Wilson like all first round picks was expected to play at some point during the year, of the 28 first round picks that played this season (one did not come over, another was recovering from injury) only Tony Bradley played less minutes.
Role Next Season: Backup Power Forward
If Jabari leaves there will be open minutes at the PF spot. If the Bucks are truly out already on Wilson they will decline his option this summer. Personally I do not see practice, but I think it is too early to be at that position. Wilson was always going to need time to acclimate, Michigan’s system is very player friendly and their players under John Beilein have always taken a bit of time to become solid NBA players. Some eventually figure it out, and some do not. Wilson himself was a late bloomer in college, not really breaking into the rotation until his junior season. Physically he needed a little bit of maturing and his defense was not quite ready. I personally expect a breakout season next year, starting with a big showing in summer league. His athleticism and shooting might not be enough to make him a starter, but he should be able to give the Bucks solid back-up minutes.