Milwaukee Bucks: What If Rashad Vaughn Starts To Contribute?

Nov 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Rashad Vaughn (20) during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Rashad Vaughn (20) during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks are already a team brimming with young talent, but if Rashad Vaughn can contribute it could change the fortunes of the Bucks this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks have many young, potential-filled basketball players. The foundation of the team is Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, but this squad is more than just the core. The Bucks also have a bevy of talented players doing their best to fit alongside them: Greg Monroe, John Henson, Michael Carter-Williams, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, Miles Plumlee, and Thon Maker.

The 10 Bucks players named above are those whom most pundits and fans expect to deliver the greatest contribution to the team’s win column this season. Even the second round pick, Malcolm Brogdon, and older guys like Steve Novak and Jason Terry, are expected to do some positive things on and off the court to help the Bucks.

That leads us to Rashad Vaughn. No one is talking about Vaughn because he has done very little in the NBA so far in his career.

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What if he was to actually live up to the expectations placed on him when he was drafted though? He was taken in the middle of the first round of his draft class only 12 months ago and because of that we shouldn’t give up on him quite yet.

Vaughn still has a chance to reach glory. He just completed his rookie season and even though he didn’t look like he belonged in the NBA he still could change that tune. Being the second youngest player in his draft class means that Rashad just recently turned 20. That makes him the second youngest player on  one of the youngest teams in the entire association.

Youth can be frustrating when you’re waiting for a team to reach its potential. It definitely can work against you in the present, but sometimes a young player can just click and become pretty good out of the blue. If that happens to Vaughn the Milwaukee Bucks are in for a real treat.

Milwaukee improved their shooting in free agency but an unforeseen improvement from Rashad would make the Bucks an even better shooting team. For all intents and purposes, the reason he was drafted at 17th overall two years ago was because he can shoot. But most recently in Summer League Vaughn did not show this. He shot a paltry 24.2 percent from three at Las Vegas just a couple of months ago.

Even with that poor performance against subpar competition, Vaughn still displayed brief flashes of great shooting. This shot is an example of the things he does right when launching a three. He catches the ball right in his shooting pocket and then proceeds immediately to shoot. There is no wasted motion which means the shot goes up fast. And the shot is pure and fluid and all the things that make basketball coaches happy.

If Rashad can convert looks like this regularly than his basketball career won’t be ending anytime soon. It isn’t just shooting that makes him worth keeping either. He is an all-round skilful, offensive player. He can dribble and drive and score inside or outside with a variety of shot types. The athleticism mixed with the scoring know-how indicate a lot of potential that could be tapped into really soon.

Defense has always been his weak spot and he needs to get ostensibly better in that area, but having guys like Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Dellavedova, Henson, and Plumlee on the roster should help to take some of the pressure off of him to be amazing on that end straight away. All he needs to do is continue to learn and be proficient with his own assignments. He doesn’t have to revolutionize the way the Bucks play D, he just has to fit into their system.

So, if he has a major renaissance this season then what will that mean for the Milwaukee Bucks? Well the Bucks now have a lot of guards, seven in total, but only three of them are guaranteed for major minutes: Middleton, Dellavedova, and Carter-Williams. That means at least one of the Vaughn, Brogdon, Ennis, and Terry quartet will have the opportunity to play meaningful minutes on a regular basis.

If Rashad becomes at least an average NBA player he could certainly become the best of those four. If he becomes an above average or even good NBA player then that changes things for Milwaukee significantly. Middleton is a stone cold lock for a minimum of 35 minutes per game, but after that it is more fluid than it may appear at first.

An effective Vaughn would make the Bucks better in all aspects of the game offensively. His shooting and scoring abilities would help spread the floor and open up space, while his scoring punch could have a lot of benefits off of the bench too.

So, as much as almost all of the indicators for current success are lacking from Rashad Vaughn’s recent performances in Summer League and last season, young players have the potential to make sudden jumps in production.

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Vaughn can enter this season with the motivation to prove everyone wrong, and until he gets a chance to do that, he can’t be written off just yet.