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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Denver Nuggets Summer League Preview: Get Your Besson On

NBA basketball returns to your screens!

NBA: Summer League-Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve waited over two long months since you last saw Milwaukee Bucks basketball, and today the wait finally ends! Sort of. The Bucks kick off Summer League in Las Vegas today versus the Nuggets’ Summer League squad, the first of at least four games where we’ll get to watch the youngest Bucks in what may be their most significant action until next year this time, at least for a few of them.

Where We’re At

After a few years of less interesting rosters thanks to not making a first-round pick prior to 2022, the Bucks are trotting out a group in Vegas that features four players who the Bucks drafted in the past two years. 2023 36th and 58th overall picks Andre Jackson Jr. and Chris Livingston will be there. 2022 first-rounder MarJon Beauchamp will be there. 2022 second-rounder Hugo Besson will be there, fresh off a season alongside Victor Wembanyama in France. That quartet is enough to get any forward-thinking Bucks fan intrigued.

Then there are the guys who have already appeared in the NBA, including one in Milwaukee. Newly-promoted guard A.J. Green will be there, even though he’s no longer on a two-way and is now on a standard contract. Basketball folk hero Tacko Fall will be there, all 7’6” of him. Three guys who have played a smattering of games around the league over the last few seasons—Nico Mannion, Paris Bass, Tyler Bey, and Tyler Cook—will be there. Jabari Parker will not be there, sadly.

Adding onto that stacked crew are Alan Griffin and Vin Baker Jr., the sons of new Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin and assistant/Summer League head coach Vin Baker. Finally, there’s recently-signed two-way man Omari Moore out of San Jose St. and former Gonzaga star Drew Timme on an Exhibit 10. How can you go wrong with this roster? Plenty of players that we can dream about becoming a Bucks developmental success. How fun would permutations of Jackson/Green/Beauchamp or Besson/Moore/Livingston be alongside a Timme/Fall frontcourt?

As for the reigning champs, they’ll feature first-rounder Julian Strawther, Timme’s former teammate, plus early second-rounders Jalen Pickett and Hunter Tyson, from Penn State and Clemson, respectively. I’m assuming Denver will also be playing heavily through 2022 30th overall pick Peyton Watson, who played only 200 minutes last season across 28 games, regular and postseason combined. They seem to really be high on the former UCLA wing and probably hope he can help fill the newly-opened Bruce Brown-sized hole on their perimeter. Collin Gillespie, one of their two-way players out of Villanova, missed his entire first season in the NBA with a leg injury and will look to get back on track with another Summer League stint. Otherwise, their roster consists primarily of players without NBA experience.

Player(s) To Watch

Plenty of choices here for the Bucks, but I’ll go with Andre Jackson Jr. Milwaukee currently is very light in the backcourt as far as ballhandling goes, lacking any NBA players with point guard experience. While that situation probably (hopefully?) will not last, Jackson’s combination of athleticism, length, multiple years of high-level NCAA experience, and floor general skill profiles him as a potential option in the Bucks’ guard corps. That being said, it’s always a tall ask to expect any rookie to contribute meaningful NBA minutes on a contending roster, especially the further he was drafted from the lottery. Also, we probably shouldn’t read too deeply into anyone’s Summer League performance, good or bad. Still, as with any player, we’re likely to see flashes of what he can do on an NBA court. Hopefully, Baker Sr. starts him alongside Green and Beauchamp.

Game Info

This one tips off at 4pm Central and is viewable on ESPNU. Sounds like a good excuse for an early happy hour, if you ask me.

Editor’s Note: A reminder that there will not be separate game threads for Summer League; just the preview pieces for each contest.