It appears that Jon Horst and company didn’t want to wait long to fill that final roster spot, electing to take a flier on some former Phoenix Suns damaged goods in Dragan Bender, per Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent F Dragan Bender has agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, league source tells ESPN. Bender, 21, was the No. 4 overall pick to Phoenix in the 2016 NBA Draft.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2019
Given the glut of forwards and bigs angling for real minutes this season between Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, Robin Lopez and incumbent starters Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, the likelihood of Bender getting much real run is slim to none. However, like Christian Wood before him, taking a flyer on someone clearly pegged with talent that never quite blossomed always looks good for the optics of a 15th roster spot.
I’ll be curious to hear how much guaranteed money is involved here, as the deal is likely to come in at a minimum level. Bender, a former number four selection by the Phoenix Suns, will still only turn 22 this upcoming season. The desert’s bleating front office declined his fourth-year option, and he’s been on the fringes of free agency until Horst decided to scoop him up. His outside shooting needs work. He’s at just 32.1% for his career, although his sophomore season was his only that featured considerable volume from outside (322 attempts) and he connected on 36.6% that season. That’s a cherry picked stat, to be certain, but it shows there’s some level of competency buried in there!
Who knows if he’ll pan out to be anything much at all besides a guy to make preseason games worth watching, but I think we’re all more content seeing the front office take a flyer on a young dude whose been languishing on one of the League’s preeminent dumpster fires rather than a washed out chucker like Monta Ellis. Sorry to the Monta stans. We’ll find out if Bender can recapture anything that earned him the nickname Croation Sensation.