What are the Milwaukee Bucks Doing with Damien Inglis?

Oct 10, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Damien Inglis (17) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Detroit won 117-88. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Damien Inglis (17) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Detroit won 117-88. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the Milwaukee Bucks fanbase loving him and there being a rotation opening at his position, Damien Inglis has hardly played this season. What gives?

Damien Inglis is in a strange situation right now. He’s currently dealing with an ankle injury and has sat out a few games. There’s nothing odd about that, but what is odd is that even when Inglis was healthy he just wasn’t seeing any NBA minutes.

Inglis has seen just 39 minutes across the seven games he’s entered this season. To put that in perspective, Chris Copeland has gotten 135 minutes, and he doesn’t know what defense is. Inglis may not be any better than Cope, but he sure is younger.

More from Bucks News

Inglis is just 20 years old, and he won’t turn 21 until late May. Bucks fans love the youngster. Ever since Giannis Antetokounmpo began to take off, people have been excited about Inglis. Both Inglis and Giannis play forward and come from relatively unknown European leagues.

That seems to be where the similarities end. While Antetokounmpo has worked hard since he came over to the NBA, there have been whispers about Inglis’ drive and motivation being a problem over the last few months. Nothing more than very quiet whispers have surfaced yet, but considering he’s mysteriously gotten no run those rumors seem at least plausible.

It’s not like there haven’t been opportunities for Inglis. Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker have both missed time this season, and the only other forwards on this roster are Inglis, Copeland and Johnny O’Bryant. O’Bryant has been a diamond in the rough for the Bucks, but he’s certainly not fighting anybody for small forward minutes.

The Bucks have also gone small to fill that spot, by sliding up Khris Middleton and running with some combination of  Jerryd Bayless, O.J. Mayo, and Michael Carter-Williams. But now that Greivis Vasquez is out for the reason, the guard rotation isn’t as deep either.

Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Since he played 12 minutes in a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on November 10th, Inglis has gotten exactly three minutes and 50 seconds in the NBA. He was inactive for many of those games thanks to making a trip to Canton and more recently being hurt, but for most of December Inglis was marked as active.

For that same stretch, from December 5th to December 26th, Jerryd Bayless was inactive due to injury. Since Vasquez was also out, Milwaukee had two point guards, three shooting guards and two small forwards available, and that’s counting Copeland.

That’s about as thin as the Bucks have been at wing all season, and Inglis got less than four minutes between 11 games. Those weren’t all close contests either. In five of the games Inglis sat out during that stretch, the Bucks either won or lost by 13 or more.

So he’s clearly out of Milwaukee’s rotation at this point. It would seem logical to send him down to the D-League then, and that’s exactly what the Bucks did back on November 22nd. Inglis then played in three games with the Canton Charge, and did fairly well.

He wasn’t a world-beater down there, but at least he got to play. Inglis got 65 minutes across those three games–almost double what he’s gotten all season with the Milwaukee Bucks. But Inglis was mysteriously recalled to Milwaukee on December 5th to play those four minutes over 11 games.

It’s possible that Inglis was merely an injury backup, but even without Bayless and Vasquez it’s not like Milwaukee was asking Chris Copeland to start or anything drastic like that. In fact, since December 5th Copeland himself has played in just three games.

So maybe Inglis is in the NBA right now for more than just emergency situations. Could the Bucks be trying to include Inglis in trade talks?

Related Story: Seven Potential Trades Milwaukee Could Make

Although his current injury might slow down the process, having Inglis in the NBA as opposed to the D-League makes him much more available to trades according to D-League expert Chris Reichert. He won’t be worth much by himself, but Inglis could be a nice throw-in to help complete a different trade.

It’s certainly possible the Bucks just wanted another option off of their bench in case of injury too, though. There’s no way to tell unless somebody comes out and says something, or Inglis is either re-assigned or dealt.

Next: The Bucks New Year's Resolutions

Once he works through this ankle injury, hopefully Damien Inglis’ future will become a lot more clear. Whether that future includes the Milwaukee Bucks or not is impossible to tell at this point.