Welcome to “Kulning the Herd,” our weekly recap and preview of everything going on with the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. What is kulning exactly? It’s an old Scandinavian herding call/song form. Take a listen to a small sample here.
What a wacky roster week for Wisconsin.
The first bit of news came on Tuesday night with Milwaukee Bucks rookie, D.J. Wilson, being sent down to the Herd.
The Bucks have assigned forward D.J. Wilson to the @WisconsinHerd of the @NBAGLeague.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 3, 2018
He will be in uniform tomorrow night as the Herd takes on the Canton Charge at 7pm in Oshkosh » https://t.co/u635Nb1Zy0 pic.twitter.com/bF9YbADjzJ
The timing of the move meant that Wilson would miss the Bucks’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Wilson’s previous Herd assignment was when the Bucks had no game and it was a way to get him some minutes. This move is not the most encouraging sign for last year’s first round pick as the Milwaukee front office is making sure Wilson gets no NBA minutes on purpose. The fact that Wilson stayed with the Herd throughout the weekend signals that at this point in his development, there are no minutes for him in Milwaukee.
The next bit of roster news came Wednesday afternoon and featured some patented G-League roster weirdness. The Washington Wizards assigned forward Chris McCullough to the Herd.
Yes, another team was able to assign one of their two-way contract guys to another NBA team’s affiliate club. The Wizards do not have a G-League affiliate of their own, so they are able to do this. They are getting one next year though! The new team will be called the Capital City Go-Go which is a reference to the go-go music that the DC area crafted. Their in-arena music better be 100 percent go-go music.
News broke on Thursday that Herd volume scorer, James Young, had been scooped up by the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-way deal.
The Sixers are planning to sign James Young of the Wisconsin Herd to a two-way contract, league source tells @2Ways10Days.— Adam Johnson (@AdamJ_NBAGL) January 5, 2018
Young averaged 22 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field during his time with the Herd and many were clamoring for the Bucks to give him a shot in Milwaukee. The former first round pick of the Boston Celtics seems to have finally figured things out and is back on track to being an NBA roster fixture. Great news for the young man.
So now we move onto the domino effect portion of this roster chaos. The Milwaukee Bucks plan to waive DeAndre Liggins (Update: They did) which opens up a roster spot for one lucky basketball player.
Per league source, I can confirm that the Bucks plan to waive DeAndre Liggins before his contract becomes guaranteed. Opens up a roster spot.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) January 7, 2018
Who that player is remains a mystery, but it seems like it could be one of the Bucks’ current two-way players, Sean Kilpatrick (currently with the Bucks) or Joel Bolomboy (currently with the Herd). News came late Saturday night that the Bucks have signed Herd guard, Xavier Munford, to a two-way contract.
Sources: Milwaukee is signing guard Xavier Munford of G League's Wisconsin on a two-way NBA contract. Munford has averaged 24 points for Bucks' affiliate.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 7, 2018
That puts the number of Milwaukee two-way contracts to three. That is one too many. Either Kilpatrick or Bolomboy have signed with the Bucks, or one of them has been waived. We don’t know! (Update: Now we do! Bolomboy is the chosen one) (Update 2: Bolomboy is not the chosen one! He was waived of his freshly upgraded NBA deal and Kilpatrick had his two-way contract converted into an NBA deal. Bolomboy’s rights are still with the Herd, but he cannot re-up on a two-way contract (he is basically what James Young was, contractually speaking). The Bucks now have a two-way contract slot open).
The Herd also had some on-court action this past week. Three games against three of the bottom teams in the Central Division, which the Herd sit atop of. To recap the roster moves: D.J. Wilson and Chris McCullough were available for all three games, while James Young played his final game on Wednesday night.
Wednesday, January 3rd vs. Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)
After the Herd blasted past the charge on December 30th, the rematch saw Wisconsin win, but not as comfortably. Xavier Munford dropped 31 points on a mind boggling 12/13 shooting night from the field, as the Herd squeaked past the Charge, 128-126. Wisconsin outscored Canton by 20 points in the second half to seal the comeback.
Cliff Alexander recorded another double-double off the bench, scoring 25 points and securing 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. D.J. Wilson got the start and played for 25 minutes. In that time he tallied 15 points and grabbed exactly zero rebounds; he did hit a three-pointer though. In what would be his final game in a Herd jersey, James Young finished with 15 points on 5/11 shooting.
Friday, January 5th @ Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons)
In their previous two meetings, the away team came away victorious each time. Unfortunately, that trend changed as the Drive put their foot on the pedal and never looked back, beating the Herd 142-100. New guy, Chris McCullough, lead the team in scoring with 20 points off the bench.
It was an ugly affair from the jump, as the Drive got out to a 40-16 lead after the first quarter. Nothing was falling for the Herd as they converted on just 24 percent of their three-point shots. D.J. Wilson recorded another 15 point game, but this time he added four rebounds. After shooting 92 percent against Canton, Xavier Munford only connect on 30 percent of his shots. From top-to-bottom, it was one of those nights for the Herd.
Saturday, January 6th @ Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls)
How would the Herd respond against the last place team after getting routed 24 hours earlier? Not too encouragingly was the answer. The Herd trailed early and often and could not muster up a second half run, falling to the Bulls 122-104. Joel Bolomboy recorded a double-double, netting 17 points and hauling in 14 rebounds.
Final: @windycitybulls 122 @WisconsinHerd 104. The Herd will play in the NBA G-League Showcase on Wednesday vs. Texas Legends. Pregame at 4:50pm & Tipoff at 5:00pm on 99.1 & 95.3 The Score!#MoreDeerToFear— The Score (@thescorewi) January 7, 2018
D.J. Wilson put up another zero rebound performance, but this time being held to nine points and a -25 rating. JeQuan Lewis and Chris McCullough were great coming off the bench. Lewis dropped a team-high 25 points and dished out seven assists. McCullough joined Bolomboy in the double-double department, adding 15 points and 11 rebounds of his own.
From The Score’s tweet above, you can see mention of a G-League showcase. The Herd, along with the other G-League teams, will be in the Toronto area next week taking part in a scouting showcase. Each team plays two regular season games and the centralized location of the games make it easier for scouts to, well, scout. The games can be heard on 99.1FM in Oshkosh and 95.3FM in the Fox Cities and seen on Facebook Live and Twitch. So let’s dive into this week’s upcoming Herd action.
Wednesday, January 10th vs. Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks)
The Legends are currently hovering around .500 and if this were a road game I would have them knocking off the Herd. However, even though the Herd are reeling I think a change of scenery in the Toronto suburbs will serve as a time for this kind of newly formed to bond and gel and work out the kinks.
Friday, January 12th vs. Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)
The Herd’s second showcase game will pit them against an Austin team that is comparable to the Herd, record-wise at least. I think the Herd drop this game for no reason other than the fact that I have a gut feeling they will split their showcase games.
Last week, I had the Herd going 3-0. Yikes. I’m playing it a bit more conservative this week as they have two neutral court games for the showcase. A 1-1 record seems fitting to me as they adjust to life without James Young and probably Xavier Munford.
Any predictions of your own? General comments or questions about the Herd, or even the G-League? Share them in the comments below and stop by next week as we recap the games above and look forward to week number four of the Herd’s inaugural season.