We won’t get many Sunday games for the Milwaukee Bucks while football still rules the sports calendar, so on this Packers-less day, it’s a perfect chance to round out the weekend with another preseason match-up against the Washington Wizards.
A 118-111 victory in Dallas kicked off this two-game road trip for Milwaukee. It took only 23 minutes for Giannis to amass 34 points, driving and dunking over whatever Maverick dared to defend him. Donte DiVincenzo notched 14 points, while Ersan Ilyasova added 18 in his preseason debut. It’s been a pretty ho-hum preseason for most of the guards vying for the two-spot, with Pat Connaughton, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver not making any plays too splashy, with the exception of Korver’s 9-point outburst against the Jazz. Sterling Brown has gotten a little more run, but was also dealing with an injury. All of those guys are proven commodities though, so there’s not a whole lot to learn from this exhibition season. Today, we should get another chance to see the less green players plenty against a horrid Washington squad. D.J. Wilson and Eric Bledsoe will remain out.
Player to Watch: Dragan Bender
Bender’s continued his competent preseason play with 17 points, six boards and three assists against the Mavericks. Preseason seems like the perfect time for a raw player to flash some skill versus the scrubs, but it’s much better than the alternative. That’s been a trend across the board for most of Milwaukee’s lower-rung players too.
After a contest against Chinese competition and a home-and-home series to kick off preseason against the New York Knicks, Wizards fans will get a chance to see their team face actual competition today. Barbs aside, Washington shouldn’t pose much threat during the regular season given their reliance on youth outside of Bradley Beal. They jettisoned Otto Porter Jr. last season, and John Wall is still recovering from his horrific injury streak.
Player to Watch: Rui Hachimura
The rookie from Gonzaga seemed to have quite differing draft grades from experts coming out, and some thought of this pick as a reach. I’m always excited to see how new guys adapt, and even just watching if Bender, a bust to this point, can have his way against Rui could offer some intrigue. Outside of Bradley Beal and possibly Admiral Schofield, I can’t drum up much excitement for anyone else.