Well, the draft has come and gone, but in case you just woke up a few hours ago and missed it all, don’t worry. We’ve got all the coverage you could ever hope for, and we’ll get our first look at first-round selection DJ Wilson later today in his introductory press conference.
While the Draft is one of the more exciting aspects of the offseason, one can’t forget that, at the end of the day, it is but a primer for the crown jewel of irrelevant basketball: the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. Yes, that’s right; tune in to see your favorite rookies, sophomores, and end-of-the-bench players compete in normally messy basketball beginning July 7th when the Bucks face the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In honor of the return of semi-competitive basketball, this week our Roundup will be focused largely on which names have been confirmed or rumored to be attached to the Bucks contingent this year. There will be a few other pieces around the team mixed in, but this week is Summer League Week, so without further ado:
Former VCU guard JeQuan Lewis hopes to make most of opportunity with Milwaukee Bucks (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
One of the first names to emerge out of the ashes immediately following the Draft’s conclusion was that of VCU’s JeQuan Lewis. Lewis, a 6-foot guard coming off of his senior season, went undrafted, quickly announced an agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks to join the team in Vegas in a few weeks time.
It is interesting to note that Lewis’ contract will give him a full slot within the Bucks organization: He’ll participate in Summer League and has a training camp invitation, and if he doesn’t make the pro roster he’ll find a slot in the G-League with the Wisconsin Herd. His prospects have to be at least somewhat bright given Milwaukee’s need for point guard help, so who knows? Perhaps a great stint in Oshkosh will see him one day in the NBA.
With all that in mind, here’s his DraftExpress page for your researching needs.
Tim Kempton to play for Milwaukee Bucks in NBA Summer League (The Brown & White)
Yes, Tim Kempton is coming from a relatively smaller program, and yes, the Milwaukee Bucks already have about a thousand big men on the roster, but you know who else went to Lehigh University? CJ McCollum, that’s who. That has to count for something, right?
All irrelevant comparisons aside, Kempton will be suiting up for Milwaukee in Summer League, though you would put his odds at finding a place on the team beyond that as quite low. He averaged 20.4 points and 10.3 rebounds a game last season, but he may find it difficult to carve out a spot in the NBA. We’ve got plenty of slight bigs to be pushed around on the roster as it is. He’ll look good in that Summer League uni, though.
Tyler Roberson Will Fight For a Job In Summer League With Bucks (Inside the Loud House)
A forward from Syracuse takes the next spot on our list, though he is another player who, for all intents and purposes, will most likely not see his NBA career move much past Summer League minutes.
Roberson is noted as a defensive-minded player, which while useful in some aspects, is difficult to rely upon to really have an impact in the NBA. Against similar skill-levels in Vegas he may show a few things, but it may be difficult to do enough that can’t be replicated with other abilities by other free agents and undrafted players out there.
If you thought the Bucks were ignoring relatively unknown Euro players, Achille Polonara is here to calm your fears. The 25-year-old Italian forward will be coming to Milwaukee for a week of training and then will head south as part of the Summer League roster.
At 6’8”, the Italian has been playing pro basketball in Italy since 2009 and currently plays for Pallacanestro Reggiana in Serie A. His statistical profile indicates that he plays a bit like a stretch forward, averaging 10.5 points a game on 60.5% on twos and 37.9% beyond the arc (on 3.9 attempts per game) and 6.8 rebounds a night. Apparently he can get up and dunk when necessary, too.
While he may be unlikely to make the final roster, his current overseas contract supposedly has an “escape clause” which would allow him to join the Bucks if things trend that way.
MTSU's Reggie Upshaw signs NBA contract (The Tennessean)
Another Summer League signing, another forward on his way to Milwaukee with the news that Middle Tennessee State’s Reggie Upshaw agreed to a deal with the Bucks a mere half-hour after the Draft concluded.
Upshaw worked out for nine NBA teams before the Draft and felt that his showing with the Bucks was the best of the bunch. He was a key player for MTSU in his junior and senior seasons helping lead the school to the NCAA tournament both seasons. His 14.3 points a game, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals indicates a good all-around player who may bring something to the table.
At 22, he may be close to as finished a product out there, but he’ll be a useful on-court tool in Vegas at the very least. Here’s a highlight video from the first round of the tourney this year (WARNING: It may trigger poor Minnesota fans such as myself; if you’re into Maroon & Gold, do not watch).
One of the final names to have emerged is that of Utah State’s Jalen Moore. His is the story of a player who picked up an increasingly large workload for Utah State with the departure of upperclassmen over the years.
He would eventually go on to lead the team in defensive rebounding and has a knack for pushing the ball up the court in transition. Offensively, he’s a very solid catch-and-shoot scorer and an able pick and roll player. Average build and athleticism limits him a bit defensively, but he certainly isn’t a lost cause.
Potentially good Summer League player, though an unknown beyond that.
Another name coming fresh off the wire:
Former Rebels Sebastian Saiz (Heat) and Stefan Moody (Bucks) will play in NBA Summer League https://t.co/QiZf7EQAM8— Chris Hudgison (@ChrisHudgison) June 25, 2017
A final note on the way out: Apparently Giannis wants to crush U.S. dreams internationally, and he wants to do it very soon.
While on tour with his annual “Antetokounbros” event, Giannis informed a crowd of 15,000 that one of his next big goals, besides winning a championship in Milwaukee, is to bring the Greek national team to prominence internationally.
The last time the Greeks beat the U.S. in competition was in 2005-2006, and the teams won’t face one another until at least 2019 in the FIBA World Cup, but hey, if this keeps Giannis motivated during the offseason to continually improve, I’m willing to sacrifice some international success!
With that, another Roundup comes to a triumphant close. Luckily for all of us, the Bucks will be right back in the news cycle with their introductory press conference today for DJ Wilson.
For those a bit confused as to the whereabouts of second-rounder Sterling Brown, our friend Frank Madden has a rough theory as to why his being part of the team hasn’t been officially announced yet:
Not sure the details but Brown swap may be waiting until July 1 to be official (ie I wouldn't panic) https://t.co/u4IQK6Vu4C— FrankMadden (@fmaddenNBA) June 25, 2017
So everyone just take a deep long breath. I’m not hyperventilating, you’re hyperventilating!
And finally, if you’re feeling down at all this week or are suffering from withdrawals now that the Finals are over, just remember: Summer League begins in less than two weeks, and there’s a real good chance that Thon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon, and... Rashad Vaughn will be suiting up once again.