Milwaukee Bucks: Grades for D.J. Wilson draft pick

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports /


While there are plenty of elements of Wilson’s defense that need refinement, he’s got all of the tools required to be a very good NBA defender.

The concern will be how he handles more traditional, bully-ball forwards and centers trying to back him down. Much like on offense, while Wilson may not fully understand how to use his still growing frame in contact, he has no such problems in leveraging his length.

Wilson will be able to close off space around the paint and in the passing lanes with his 7’3″ wingspan, but it’s his 9’1″ standing reach that could really cause opponents nightmares.

As Wilson’s frame fills out he’ll be perfectly built to contest shots at the rim with his verticality, and that’s something he’s already got an impressive track record of.

Wilson blocked 1.5 shots per game in his final year as a Wolverine, and even beyond those counting stats, his length and reach will challenge opponents looking to pass or shoot over him.

Add good lateral quickness and the defensive instincts of a player who spent years guarding wings before a late growth spurt, and there’s no question that Wilson possesses the kind of defensive versatility that has obvious appeal to a team like the Bucks.

Wilson did have issues with consistency on both ends of the floor in college, and retaining his focus will be more important than ever against NBA opponents. Still, he starts his time with the Bucks with a solid base of defensive tools, and the potential to become a real force on that end down the line.

Grade: B