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Bucks vs. Raptors Summer League Final: O Cana-d’oh

DJ Wilson gets the last laugh

2022 NBA Summer League - Milwaukee Bucks v Toronto Raptors Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks got another helping of humble pie from the Toronto Raptors, losing their final 2022 Summer League game, 80-69. Box Score

Given that this was technically a midday game, it wouldn’t be Bucks weekend matinee basketball without a sluggish start. A lot of the attempts were high percentage, clean looks, but the team struggled to get them to fall. For the first time in awhile, it also looked like coach Vin Baker was asking the team to run particular sets to get MarJon Beauchamp into a designed action, although no luck on getting them to fall. Lindell Wigginton struggled to score to help lift the team, and it took the insertion of Iverson Molinar with about three minutes left to turn the tide; he immediately got a few bucks to fall driving while also getting a steal and fastbreak dunk. Otherwise, not much else of note, Bucks down 16-18 after one.

It was the start of the second quarter where it started to sink in that these guys might be pretty tired and only sort of motivated to close out the third-place game with a proper level of intensity. Milwaukee would allow the Raps to open up with a 9-0 run before Dewan Hernandez finally got a basket to fall before MarJon duly ran into Hugo Besson to give the ball away to Toronto yet again. Honestly, everything the Bucks were doing looked really bad, out of sorts, and ineffective. In over seven minutes of play, Milwaukee scored 4 points. I mean...

A Beauchamp three (the only one the team would make in the half) to beat the shot clock and a Sandro Mamukelashvili free throw to close the half kept it within a reasonable 12 point deficit. Bucks down 26-38.

The start of the third quarter was much of the same, and then rapper/entertainer Flavor Flav was brought into the broadcast booth for a free-wheeling, all-access interview which quite literally played over any footage of the basketball game happening. There was a 7-0 Toronto run that viewers at home saw not a single second of. Therefore, I have no basketball analysis to offer, however we can all take heart from Flav revealing that “MarJon Beauchamp got bars”. Exciting!

Vin Baker went with the all-bench lineup to start the fourth quarter, sitting the lackadaisical starters in favor of some evaluative minutes for some of the lesser-played guys. What hurt most was not going down 20 points numerous times, but seeing DJ Wilson dancing like a madman in celebration while his crew of merry Canadian residents put the team that drafted him to bed. He’s Lanky Smoove alright; Smoove in shifting his loyalties.

However, while DJ danced, the Bucks fought back, ripping off a 10-0 run off the back of playing like they actually care and have some stakes to look good. Guys started competing for rebounds and driving right at the Raptors defense to make things happen. Matthew Hurt, Timothy Soares, Marcus Greaves, all helped add a few buckets and plenty more energy, but the deficit would prove too much to overcome as the Bucks fell to a final 3-2 record in Vegas.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • This was by far the worst outing by the starters, especially the guys who have continuing ties to the team after Summer League. MarJon Beauchamp (7 points, 2 blocks, 1 steal) was mostly negative on offense and didn’t have many memorable standout moments on defense. Sandro Mamukelashvili (3 points, 9 rebounds) must’ve been told to allow other guys to get shots up or otherwise decided to take a backseat. Lindell Wigginton (11 points, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers) also struggled mightily to get anything going for himself or others.
  • Toronto got up 43 three-point attempts compared to Milwaukee’s 23. What is this? A Mike Budenholzer-coached team or something?
  • I thought Iverson Molinar showed some promise, though he was often unable to be a presence on the defensive end getting knocked off his stance with just a little bit of contact. I’d have almost liked to see Vin run anyone but the starters throughout this game just to get a sense for which bench Summer League players may be worth keeping around the wider organizational structure.
  • No minutes at all for Luca Vildoza which makes that two games in a row without an appearance for the Argentinian.
  • Dewan Hernandez was probably the only starter who made positive impacts in line with expectations. 10 points and 7 rebounds while playing within his skillset which, at this level, can take you a long way. That’s likely the reason he was kept in the lineup while the Bucks bench guys did their best to regain a late lead.
  • Noah Eagle and Jim Jackson were on the broadcast today, although they approached it more like a conversational podcast more than anything else. I struggle to recall them saying anything about the Bucks during 40 minutes of game action. However, the production team did get Eagle pretty good by putting this pic of him from high school up for a solid minute to minute and a half (photo credit to site co-overlord Mitchell Maurer):

That wraps things up for the Bucks in Vegas. Although the team finished on a low note, I think there was still a lot to like from this experience. MarJon looked like he has the tools to be something far quicker than expected, Mamu showed out throughout most of the past 10 days, and Wigginton continued to look worthy of at least a camp deal, if not a deep bench role with the Bucks.

For a few weeks in the desert, that’s not bad at all.