Summer League begins for the Bucks on Friday. Newly recruited assistant coach Sean Sweeney will be giving us our first glimpse into the basketball mind that is Jason Kidd. We will be facing the Cavs, Suns, and Jazz, late games against stiff competition in the land of the dry red wind. Bucks fans hope to see some of the oft promised high octane offense, to go with a clever use of our team's touted length. Hope in this franchise is all about the future. On Friday we will see our core working together for the first time to create a more lovely tomorrow.
Giannis is so young and so ... different that even after a year it is hard to know what we have. We know about the insane blocks, the lightning quickness, the awareness and willingness to learn that suggests great things. This Summer League should be Giannis' takeover.
That's the hope anyways. Giannis gets it now. Against the lesser competition of the Summer League, he should be a Peloponnesian Assassin, cutting in like a spear in jagged assaults and snapping back down on defense like a veteran hoplite. I want to see these young Bucks run, like the wind, like Grandma's in the hospital, and I want to see Giannis leading the charge. There's so much possibility that it is hard to know what to look for.
He's 6'11" now, should we care about rebounds? He's a great ball handler and passer now, should he be taking the ball up the court? Should he be hitting threes, working on his midrange, developing a blooper? I don't know. The potential of Giannis is very exciting, but it can be a terrifying thing as well. I hope we understand the man a bit more by the end of this.
Jabari! What can be said that hasn't already been said? Jabari might be the SL MVP, that is if the Bucks don't sit him first. We haven't seen a great scoring Buck in SL in a looooong time. Parker should see minutes at the PF and SF positions as the Bucks figure out his best place (seems like everything is leaning hard towards Parker at PF).
We should be pleased by his all around game, though it should be understood that Parker will not be giving up the ball often. Parker will be taking a lot of shots, I imagine once he shakes off his nerves he'll be making a lot of them too. Though foul calling can be very loose in SL, I'm interested in seeing Parker get to the line. He has the body to muscle into and-1 situations, which would be welcome for a Bucks team that has had trouble getting calls in the past.
Jabari comes into the league with few question marks, really the only one being persistent doubts about his D at a professional level. Summer League is a terrible way to measure defense, but it's all we'll have for a while. As long as Parker shows focus and intensity at that end he should silence the critics.
Point guard of the future or future leader of the Iowa Stampede? We won't discover Nate's fate in SL, but this should give us a clearer picture of how he functions with our two most important players. If Nate shows chemistry, true fat-lob-throwing, no-look-dishing chemistry with the pair, we can talk about his future as the Bucks starting PG.
A key area of interest is Wolters' outside shot, as that will be key to sticking in the NBA. Wolters entered the NBA with a reputation as a scorer, so far he hasn't really lived up to it. He's been efficient inside the arc for a little guy, but he has to get his 3PT% above the .290 that he showed last year.
JOB is the Bucks' Summer League heavy. He's going to be huge compared to the competition, capable of dominating the boards. I expect him to be too aggressive though, he's this year's most likely to foul out candidate. JOB will crash the boards, dunk with fury, and get his pocket picked like a Frenchman on St. Twillings day. We may never see him again.
Everybody's favorite ten day contract is back for more action, likely his last with the Bucks. Wright was actually pretty good for the Bucks last year, at least comparatively. However, he lacks a true place on this team. He serves only to take minutes from guys we'd like to see develop and is NGed next year, so this is an audition for the rest of the NBA. I expect Chris to dominate the raw competition, to the point where he might not get played if he is too ball dominant. I'm not expecting him to jack shots, but a player with nothing to lose will see more to gain from each possession.
Ben Brust & Jordan Taylor
Every year the Bucks bring some Wisconsin or Marquette guys around for summer league. It's a decent bridge of reconciliation for college fans and a shot for guys who haven't made it to get another look. Brust and Taylor are more intriguing because they actually cover positions of weakness for the Bucks. One or both of them should get decent minutes in the backcourt with Wolters, which may be enough to get people excited. Don't. The only way either guy is making this squad is as part of a blatant tank job. Unfortunately, both guards have long roads ahead of them that may never lead to an NBA contract.
Brown is a 6'6" SF who might be able to scrape together a place in this league as a 3PT specialist. Look for him to be out to establish his outside shot during SL play. He really has no future on this team, roughly a tenth of the shot that Wright has.
The rest, JaJuan Johnson, Kenny Kadji, CJ Williams, and Kenny Frease and all roster filling chaff. Frease will get a good chance as one of the few bodies to fill the center spot, but that should still be JOB's role to foul out of. Johnson is a former first pick that never really got a shot, but he's a 6'10" 220 lbs PF. Kadji is a PF who went undrafted and shortly signed with the Cavs. Williams scored efficiently in the D League, but he's a tweener swingman who does little else.