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Ranking the Roster 2019: D.J. Wilson Dips Out at #11

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The fashionista forward still has a ways to go

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons - Game Four Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

With a bevy of veterans still on the board, it appears the voters turned to one of the few young guys still peppering Milwaukee’s roster with some upside, D.J. Wilson. As everyone here knows, Wilson was essentially left for dead prior to the start of last year. If I told almost any Bucks fan he would finish this high in the exercise merely a year after ending up in last, I’d expect complete befuddlement. Instead, Wilson emerged as a competent backup power forward in limited minutes, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

His guard-like tendencies may not flash on the offensive end, but it serves him well in his ability to switch defensively and recover near the rim. On top of that, his slender frame makes it seem like he shouldn’t be able to bang on the boards, but he had an impressive ability to time his leaps plus bend his body to deter defenders as he grabbed the ball. Given another year of seasoning, there’s a reality where Wilson could take Mirotic or Ersan’s spot in the jumbo lineup that Bud liked to employ at times.

The primary drawback continues to be his stunted ability on offense. Hitting 36% of his triples was a start, but he’s dealing with a limited sample size (114 attempts last year) and his shot still looks like it’s on a zip line to the basket. Near the rim, he gets manhandled and doesn’t show nearly enough touch, hitting just 57% of his shots near the rim per Cleaning The Glass. Learning some of Ersan’s awkward putback skills would serve him well into the future. Given he could function as a proper big at near 7-feet, he could still stand to gain weight to better serve the Bucks on screens as well.

There remains the question of how much Bud will lean on Wilson. Bud’s predilection for veterans pushed the former Michigan Wolverine back on the bench after his midseason flashes. He played a fair amount down the stretch of the season when the Bucks started to coast, but barely played at all against Detroit and nothing meaningful beyond that in the Playoffs. He’s still on a rookie contract, and will remain so through next season if Horst opts to pick up his fourth year option. Affordable, with a tad more upside potentially lingering, I can understand why he went after Ersan in these rankings, but I’m generally of the mind veterans may fare well in this exercise given they’re more likely to play a role in the Playoffs.

Wilson is an intriguing test case for this season. His path to playing time is potentially further muddled by Robin Lopez’s arrival. Despite emerging under Bud, I’m not sure he’ll play well enough to sway Bud from leaning on the elder statesmen. Was last year a flash in the pan, or the start of a stew that just needed longer to marinade? I guess we’ll find out, but for now, it’s back to the voting. Here’s a link to yesterday’s full results.

Click here to vote for the next least valuable Buck


2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking

11. D.J. Wilson

12. Ersan Ilyasova

13. Donte DiVincenzo

14. Dragan Bender

15. Thanasis Antetokounmpo