Damien Inglis: First Look At Milwaukee Bucks Rookie


It was a moment Milwaukee Bucks fans had been waiting for for a long time. Summer League may have given a brief glimpse of what Damien Inglis could potentially offer in the NBA, but injury and the quality of competition made it unadvisable to really read too much into his performances in Las Vegas.

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On Tuesday night, the Bucks faced off against the Chicago Bulls in their pre-season opener on the road in the United Center, and finally, Inglis looked healthy and got to test himself against real NBA caliber competition.

The 20-year-old was making his debut for the Milwaukee Bucks over a year after they selected him with the 31st pick of the 2014 Draft. An injury suffered in a pre-draft workout for the Oklahoma City Thunder may have stalled Inglis’ progress to this point, but the good news is that he looks ready to play and contribute.

On a night when this year’s Bucks draft pick Rashad Vaughn grabbed the limelight with a 20 point showing, Milwaukee’s fans finally got to stop speculating about what Inglis might look like, or how he could help.

No longer were they tasked with the impossible task of trying to read into a player’s worth by examining his numbers from his time spent as a teenager playing professionally in the second tier of French professional basketball, instead Damien Inglis was in the building, and he was letting his game do the talking.

The Bucks may have fallen to a 10 point defeat overall, but the solid performances from Inglis and Vaughn amongst others meant that it was far from a wasted exercise.

The forward from French Guiana played 28 minutes on the night, falling just short of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. An assist, a steal, and a couple of blocks rounded out an impressive showing for Inglis, although his 3-8 from the field showed that plenty of room remains for improvement.

What was worth taking note of so?

Well, first of all, Inglis’ attitude was impressive. He not only provided energy like you expect from a young player fighting to leave a lasting impression, but he did so with a combination of fearlessness and strong awareness.

On the defensive end of the floor, Inglis displayed tenacity and patience. He does not seem like the type of player who’s going to quit on plays. Take the following block as an example:

As E’Twaun Moore barrels towards the rim, Inglis shows a touch of rookie enthusiasm by biting on the pump fake, yet he’s smart enough to stay aware, and as a result executes a perfectly timed strip block to guide the ball out of bounds.

Later in the game, Chicago’s Doug McDermott became the hot hand and thought that he was going to seamlessly cruise past Rashad Vaughn and Charlie Westbrook on his way to the rim, but chasing down the play from behind, Inglis had other ideas.

Long strides and long arms play a big factor in that ability to block shots, but they also partner with a player’s basketball IQ when it comes to rebounding too.

The Bucks did not have a good night on the boards, something that has almost become a tradition against the Chicago Bulls, but after a strong showing on the glass from one long European in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Inglis then stepped up and followed suit.

The whole point of the rebound is to establish a strong position, so that not only can you limit the opposition’s attempts, but also to help to initiate the offense in a speedy fashion. This strong box out of McDermott followed by a pinpoint accurate outlet to Johnny O’Bryant demonstrated Inglis’ understanding of how to play the glass.

On top of solid, fundamental rebounding like that, Inglis showed that his length will allow him to grab possessions for the Bucks that shouldn’t even necessarily have been his.

The pick of the bunch was one play on the offensive glass though. Inglis highlighted both his determination and his natural ability coming up with the ball in spite of being swamped by four Chicago players. The finish didn’t come, but that’s something Milwaukee can work with.

Finishing, and indeed greater touch is likely going to be something the Bucks will make a priority with the youngster’s development. Inglis left a couple out there in the form of heavy handed hook shots and clunky jumpers, but the tools are definitely there, they just need polishing.

Take for example the following play. Inglis took McDermott to school from the top of the perimeter all the way to the hoop, as he showed the ability to exploit a mismatch and force his way to the rim with a mixture of skill and force.

Inglis’ strength was much more impressive than many anticipated, and he seems capable of causing havoc down low with his combined strength and speed. Like Antetokounmpo before him, Inglis’ athleticism means that he’ll do his fair share of work in the air too though.

That perfect connection with Jorge Gutierrez was the first of many air shows the Bucks will hope to see from their young forward talent over the course of the season.

One pre-season game is nowhere near enough evidence to proclaim that Inglis is good, or that he can indeed be a truly meaningful contributor. Saying that, Bucks fans are now in a much better spot to make projections about Inglis, and if that performance is repeatable for him, it’s only a matter of time before he finds himself in an important role.

Next: Pre-Season Game 1: Bulls 105 Bucks 95 Notes and Reactions

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