Milwaukee Bucks Summer League Preview: Brooklyn Nets

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 12: D.J. Wilson /

After a rough start on Friday, the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday in their second Las Vegas Summer League game.

The Milwaukee Bucks did not start off on the right foot in the Las Vegas Summer League, as the Bucks got blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League squad on Friday night.

More from Behind the Buck Pass

Instead of dwelling on that awful performance, let’s try to look forward. The Brooklyn Nets are the next team on the SL schedule, and maybe the strangest Summer League team taking part in the Las Vegas tournament.

The Nets essentially bring half of their team down to Summer League. Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Archie Goodwin all played in the Nets first Summer League game. Additionally, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson also coaches the Summer League squad.

That’s one thing to look for when these two teams square off. Here are some more, starting with redemption.

Time to bounce back, Thon

Thon Maker was less than great against Cleveland on Friday. Thon had more fouls (six) than he did points (four) or rebounds (five) against the Cavaliers, and he was dominated on both ends by Edy Tavares.

This led to a hopefully small contingency of Bucks fans wondering if Thon is fit to start next season. Drawing that kind of conclusion from a Summer League game seems ridiculous, but it would be nice if Thon could remind everybody watching on Sunday why he earned the starting gig last season.

Prince Ibeh, who started for the Nets at center in their first game, also wasn’t great. Thon should be able to do better against him after a rough first game in Las Vegas.

Speaking of bouncing back…

D.J. Wilson could also use a bounce back game after what unfolded on Friday. He put up 11 points but it took him 13 shots. Having more shots attempted than points is never a good ratio.

The entire Bucks team, including Thon and Wilson especially, needs to bounce back from a poor shooting performance from three-point territory. Milwaukee shot a terrible 15.4 percent from beyond the arc against Cleveland, making just four of 26 attempted threes.

Making more triples should make everything easier for the Bucks offense, which managed just 53 points in their last game. Despite that awful point total, not every Buck was bad in their first Vegas game of the summer.

Battle of the guards

The Bucks guards were their strong point against Cleveland, as Rashad Vaughn and Gary Payton II were the only Bucks to make more than half of their shots aside from Jalen Moore, who recently inked a two-way contract with Milwaukee and who made two of three attempted shots against Cleveland.

Vaughn and Payton II will have their work cut out for them if they’re going to repeat their efficient shooting nights. Brooklyn’s guards are good, and Dinwiddie and Whitehead both have more NBA experience than Vaughn or Mitten.

It definitely helped those two that 5’9″ Kay Felder got big minutes for Cleveland in their game against the Bucks. Matching up against better guards might mute their performances some, making what Thon and D.J. Wilson do on Sunday evening even more important.

Celebrity watch!

On a more fun note, there are lots of celebrities, both in the NBA world and the real world, that have taken in games during Las Vegas Summer League so far. It turns out, rich and famous people tend to find themselves in Vegas sometimes. I wonder why.

Floyd Mayweather was in attendance for the Bucks first game, probably because of his undeniable Rashad Vaughn fandom. A smattering of NBA players were there as well, including Khris Middleton, as well as Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, who joined the broadcast for a little while.

Next: Takeaways from the Bucks loss to Cleveland

There’s no telling who will show up to Sunday night’s game. Maybe it being on a Sunday instead of a Friday will deaden the crowd a little bit, but who knows! Here’s hoping somebody interesting ends up joining the broadcast this time around, to liven up the game a little, especially if things aren’t going Milwaukee’s way.

The game tips off at 5 p.m., and will be televised on NBA TV.