Now that the draft has settled and the Milwaukee Bucks most likely window shopping during free agency, it seems natural for fans that need Bucks content to check out the summer league. With that, we have a primer on all the information you need to impress your friends (the ones who stay that is):
The summer league will be taking place in Las Vegas, NV and the Bucks’ schedule is below:
Friday July 7: vs Cleveland Cavaliers 5:30PM CST (ESPN 2)
Sunday July 9: vs Brooklyn Nets 5:00PM CST (NBA TV)
Monday July 10: vs Los Angeles Clippers 9:00PM CST (ESPN 2)
After the three matches are completed, the playoffs will begin and the Bucks will play a minimum two games after that. Dates and opponent will be updated as the games progress.
Just before the 4th of July Weekend, Milwaukee officially released the roster and is listed below:
Tim Kempton - Center (rookie)
Bronson Koenig - Guard (rookie)
JeQuan Lewis - Guard (rookie)
Thon Maker - Center (1 year)
Jalen Moore - Forward (rookie)
Gary Payton II - Guard (1 year)
Achille Polonara - Forward (rookie)
Tyler Roberson - Forward (rookie)
Travis Trice - Guard (rookie)
Reggie Upshaw Jr - Forward (rookie)
Rashad Vaughn - Guard (2 years)
- While not listed on the Bucks announcement, I would fully expect 2nd rounder Sterling Brown to be on the summer team roster once the league makes the trade with Philly official.
- The guards on this list all seem to be playing for a chance to be on the 15 man roster. GPII is an incumbent, but strong play from Koenig could supplant him. Koenig is reportedly already signed to a two-way contract, and GPII’s non-guaranteed deal means he could be cut if he doesn’t give Milwaukee any reasons to keep him.
- There could be some players who would be potential G-Leaguers for the Herd, like Upshaw Jr and Jalen Moore. I believe the ability is there for each of them to thrive and am interested to see what they could do.
- Travis Trice is on his second go-round with the Bucks’ summer league team. He was a standout at Michigan State and shot the ball well in his nine games in the G-League last year, hitting 51.6%. I’m not sure that’s sustainable, but it’s something to watch.
- Last year’s first round draft pick Thon Maker will be playing for a second year in a row, which I both like and dislike. It wouldn’t hurt to give him more run at center and get him more repetitions of being a rim protector, but I also feel like he would be better served spending time in the gym and bulking up.
- Rashad Vaughn will be playing in his third summer league; if he struggles again, it will not be pretty.
Player to watch: D.J. Wilson
The Bucks’ first-round draft pick will most likely be playing the four alongside Thon, giving an idea of how the two may possibly play together during the upcoming regular season. The summer league’s style of play will be a great way for Wilson to get his feet wet in NBA(ish) action. His shooting and versatility should be highlighted, and hopefully he can use his length to create some problems for opposing team’s offense. While we shouldn’t expect him to light up the summer league circuit, it would be nice to see him show some rebounding ability and hit around 35% from 3.
Predicted Starting Lineup
Gary Payton II
Being the team’s most talented and important players, Wilson and Thon will undoubtedly take the starting center and power forward spots. Vaughn will be viewed as the seasoned vet so he will likely round out the front-court. However, a player like Brown, Upshaw, or Moore could shake it up if they prove themselves coming off the bench. The guard spots were toughest to predict. I went with Koenig to give the team some positive, home-state PR and provide steady ball handling. The second guard spot goes to Gary Payton II. He’s the most familiar with the organization and could complement Koenig with his speed and ability to attack the rim.
The last few years, Milwaukee has done relatively poorly during Summer League. This year it would be nice to see the Bucks win at least two of the three games and make a solid run in the tournament. Having Thon on the squad will be helpful in terms of rim protection and having the motor needed. Vaughn needs to step up as a go-to guy after going through two summer leagues. The guard combo of GPII and Koenig will give the Bucks both a slasher and shooter needed to space the floor. After a somewhat frustrating summer, it would be nice to see the Bucks give some positives to the fans. I believe the Bucks will start off fast against Cleveland and come out with a win. Brooklyn’s assembly of young, talented players will give them an edge and a sharp shooting display will propel the team pass the Clippers. It’s our year for a strong summer league and I say we can make it to the semi-finals.