Back in Milwaukee on what feels like his sixth two-way deal in a year and a half, Lindell Wigginton has been formally voted off the player value island by you, the readers of Brew Hoop. Just because a guy is deemed to have a low potential ceiling doesn’t mean he won't find his way to minutes on the 2023-2024 Milwaukee Bucks, though. You look at that roster and tell me who else has much, if any, experience as a “lead” “ball” “handler”!
Long-time Bucks watchers (by which I mean those who have tuned in since at least the 2021-2022 season) will be quite familiar with Wigginton’s game. At 6’2” with a frame weighing in anywhere between 185-195 pounds, he’s a guard who looks far shorter and more compact than the numbers on the page would suggest. His physical dimensions suggest a player who could aspire to be a disruptive force defensively, breaking through point-of-contact pick and roll motions. Unfortunately, undersized and caught like others between the yo-yo of being The Man in Oshkosh and a nobody in Milwaukee, his skillset just hasn’t caught against NBA competition.
This will now be Lindell’s third season spent with Milwaukee in some form or fashion. In 26 NBA appearances, he’s been an unremarkable scorer (5.0 points on .449/.341/.614), a bang-on neutral facilitator (1.4 assists to 0.9 turnovers), and something of a non-factor defensively (he registered 0 steals in seven appearances last year). Compare that to his flashy numbers in 20 games with the Wisconsin Herd last year in which he averaged out at 22.3 points (.465/.383/.833), 6.0 assists (2.9 turnovers), 3.9 rebounds, and a steal a game, and its hard to reach any conclusion other than his level probably being a step below the upper echelons of basketball.
And there’s no shame in that at all.
While Wigginton is unlikely to see much further growth in his game at age 25, he’s been press-ganged into emergency ball-handling duties before under departed coach Mike Budenholzer. In a world where any minutes he does see will almost assuredly come as a victory cigar or in a pinch when someone not named Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, or Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to bring the ball capably up the floor before handing it off to someone else, there are worse deep bench options than Lindell. Sure, he’s a downgrade from the likes of Jevon Carter when it comes to 1) Defense 2) Scoring and 3) Borderline delusional self-belief, but he has a proven history of being able to move a possession from one end of the court to the other without dribbling off his foot or folding under moderate on-ball pressure.
What’s that you say? You want a ~10 minute video of grainy footage released earlier this year from a YouTube account with a subscriber count with more than a whiff of the wharfs of Vladivostok about it? We’ve got you:
I’ll tell you what, there wasn’t a single easy shot in any of those clips. If there is anything Lindell is good at, it's getting layups and shots off drives to drop that have no right doing so at all. That and his rise/release on jumpers is incredibly quick and smooth. A shame he’s been meh hitting shots from range in the league.
So there you have it: A guard who can do a job for 5-10 minutes if you absolutely need him to. With a point guard rotation as deep as literally just Jrue Holiday, it isn’t hard to see why GM Jon Horst felt comfortable bringing Lindell back around for one last job.
Astute reader/commenter stoneAge pointed out on Omari Moore’s sendoff piece that two-way players aren’t eligible for playoff minutes. Still, this series has editorial standards and we can’t discount the possibility of Lindell getting converted to a full pro contract down the line. Therefore, to the polls!
Gut Check: how confident are you that Lindell Wigginton will be in the playoff rotation?
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1 — Not in the rotation at all.
2 — Might play a few rotation minutes here and there.
3 — Will get some minutes depending on the series.
4 — Will be a part of the rotation, playing steady minutes.
5 — Firmly in the rotation, playing heavy minutes!
With our two-way players out of the way, it is on to the actual roster for the electorate to decide on. Will Thanasis Antetokounmpo successfully vie for the title as least-valuable full-time Buck? Or, with Chris Livingston around, is an upset afoot? When does Ersan Ilyasova enter the fray? All that and more are up to you:
The 15th Most Important Player to Milwaukee’s Postseason Success is...
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Andre Jackson Jr.