Out of nowhere, Wilson emerging as Bucks contributor
Welcome to the 2018-19 edition of the Young Bucks Tracker. Each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Bucks in the future from the Wisconsin Herd or a current member of the Milwaukee roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.
This is the 7th edition of the 2018-19 Young Bucks Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Forward D.J. Wilson
Call off the search party, Wilson has been found.
Largely relegated to the bench or playing in the G League in his first 1 1/2 seasons, Wilson has emerged in Milwaukee’s last two games.
With Ersan Ilyasova out with an injury, Wilson has gotten some court time and taken full advantage.
In Monday’s win over Detroit, Wilson played 25 minutes, 44 seconds — easily the most time he’s seen since being drafted in the first round in 2017 — and scored a career-high nine points (on 4-of-5 shooting) with three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
On Wednesday, not only did Wilson again score nine points in nearly 24 minutes of action, but he also had a career-high 10 rebounds (four offensive), which matched his total from last season, and was on the floor in critical stages of the close win over New Orleans, including the final nine minutes of the game.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer noted in his postgame press conference that “sometimes there’s a silver lining when guys miss games” — as in other players get an opportunity — and later noted that Wilson brings a lot to the table with his athleticism.
“Great to see DJ play significant minute (and) play a significant role,” Budenholzer said.
Wilson had been inactive for the Bucks’ first 22 games before making his season debut Dec. 5. He played again five days later, but was inactive for Milwaukee’s next two contests before Ilyasova’s injury gave him another shot in Detroit on Dec. 17.
But that doesn’t mean Wilson wasn’t working, as Bucks color commentator Marques Johnson noted in a tweet Thursday.
2 points about @Lanky_Smoove 1) Coaching staff has spent much time w/him on help/recover. 2) Has really quick feet in compartmentalized area
— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) December 20, 2018
Wilson still has only played 68 minutes this season, but then again, as a rookie he played just 71 minutes … in 22 games. Based on what we’ve seen the past two games, we like his chances to greatly surpass his playing time from a year ago.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo has shot 61.5 percent of better from the field in four straight games. Since 1983-84, only two Bucks players have a longer such streak (min. six FG attempts): Ricky Pierce, six straight games from Nov. 11-20, 1986, and Frank Brickowski, who did it five in a row from Dec. 15-26, 1992. In three games, “The Greek Freak” shot 69.8 percent while averaging 33.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Read this for more about Antetokounmpo’s (yet again) stellar week.
— After missing two games, Malcolm Brogdon returned Wednesday and had 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win over the Pelicans.
— Khris Middleton is shooting just 32 percent from the field over his last nine games, dating back to Nov. 26. He made 7 of 16 shots at Detroit, including 3 of 6 3-point attempts, but then just 5 of 13 vs. New Orleans. Middleton, a notoriously good free-throw shooter, also is making only 77.4 percent of those attempts from the line over that stretch, but he’s been better lately, going 15-for-16 (93.8 percent) over his last four.
— Tony Snell hit on 7 of 13 3-point attempts last week (53.8 percent).
— First-round pick Donte DiVincenzo is shooting just 20.8 percent for the floor over his last six games, dating back to Nov. 28 (he also was not used in three games during that span). DiVincenzo was sent to the Wisconsin Herd, who are playing games Thursday (vs. Memphis) and Saturday (vs. Stockton) in Las Vegas.
— The Herd played just one game last week, on Dec. 14, beating Maine. Wilson had 21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Christian Wood 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.