When you are drafted in the second round, you have the low expectations with the potential of some high rewards. You get a little bit more benefit of the doubt because, hey, any tangible skill from a second round pick is good. If you can not be a complete waste of space, that improves a team’s asset management and gives fans a little bit of optimism. In the end, sometimes we dream big for second round picks because maybe there is something there, plus the Bucks have done well drafting in the second round recently. After a close race, that may or not have involved some foul play, Jordan Nwora has exited at his own jersey number.
Jordan Nwora came in as a rookie with an interesting profile; if you are someone like me, you probably don’t follow college basketball that closely and after Milwaukee drafted him, I did some digging to see what exactly is intriguing about him. After the short research on the 2020 3rd team All-American, I figured Nwora would be, at best, an off-the-bench guy who can hit some shots while maybe being solid on the defensive side. Well, I got one of those things right which may create the conundrum of Nwora.
Let’s start with what Nwora is good at. When you are a rookie, the expectation is any playing time is good and just find something to make you stick out. Any NBA level skill is good to have and you should lean on that. Well Nwora definitely has an NBA skill and that is to get buckets in every way shape and form. Off the dribble, catch and shoot, drive to the rim, Nwora can do all of that for club and country.
A walking (birthday) bucket. @JordanNwora pic.twitter.com/j9rFC0UhFL— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) September 9, 2021
30 BALL— NBA (@NBA) August 10, 2021
Jordan Nwora sizzles for 30 PTS, 8 REB and 6 AST in the @Bucks' MGM Resorts #NBASummer League opener pic.twitter.com/jGJ6GKDMKw
Jordan Nwora just dropped 33 points on 7-12 3P for Nigeria against Germany.— Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) July 28, 2021
Nwora played 20+ minutes four times for the Bucks this season and averaged 22.5 points in those games. Those games had varying levels of meaning but it's well established he's a bucket. Very curious.
Nwora’s scoring is more of a microwave/volume type which means he probably doesn’t need much to get going and when given the greenlight, he will get the shots up. The main focus of this ranking the roster exercise is to see who can provide value in the postseason. While he is still new to the league, Nwora’s ability to score could be of use when the Bucks’ offense gets in a rut. While he can shoot your way out of difficult times, he may also shoot you into them as well.
So remember when I said I thought Nwora would be a solid defender? Well that isn’t looking too promising so far. Whether it’s the speed of the league, the physicality or lack of effort, Nwora just isn’t a good defender at all. With a paltry 0.4 defensive win share and -0.6 defensive box plus minus per basketball reference, that doesn’t help Nwora’s case of wanting playing time. If there is one thing Budenholzer will want, it is defense and playing someone who is a sieve on the defensive side won’t see you play in meaningful minutes. Obviously there is still time for him and even some improvement could make a large difference, but that will have to be the area he needs to improve to be more than just a bench guy picking up DNPs. Nwora also sometimes has TOO much of a greenlight that might as well be the autobahn. The summer league highlighted that maybe Nwora is too comfortable looking for his shot, but that likely is less of an issue if he is sharing the court with Giannis/Khris/Jrue and he takes a more catch and shoot role.
Nwora has a skill that is at an NBA level, which is really good for someone drafted at pick number 45. His non-guaranteed contract also gives the Bucks some flexibility on how they want to move forward with him as well. His shooting is potentially enough to be a spark for Milwaukee, but too many shots and poor defensive showings might mean he is a non-factor in the postseason. Who knows...but for now, let’s enjoy the vibes and the garbage time stat padding.
The 12th Most Important Player to Milwaukee’s Postseason Success is...
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