Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks see D.J. Wilson as more than a four

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 9: (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 9: (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Although the term stretch four has been used plenty to describe Milwaukee Bucks rookie D.J. Wilson, the Bucks see him as more than a four.

NBA Summer League basketball is, largely, useless. Adam McGee, Jordan Treske and I talked about that at length on a recent episode of Win In 6, but for the most part there isn’t much to take away from Summer League.

D.J. Wilson looking more like a wing player than a power forward, though, was one thing that might’ve been worth noting for Milwaukee Bucks fans. Wilson seemed tiny compared to some legitimate NBA big men, something the Bucks seem to have noticed.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Milwaukee’s general manager, Jon Horst, could see Wilson playing more as a small forward than a power forward in the NBA.

"“He’s more than a stretch four,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said last week at halftime of a Las Vegas Summer League game.“He can shoot the ball, and he can stretch it out at the four spot, but you’ve seen him this week. He can put it down on the floor, he can pass, he’s becoming a better rebounder as he gets stronger. I think he can defend threes.”"

Rebounding and getting stronger are probably the two biggest areas of need for Wilson, who is not physically imposing. He struggled to grab boards in college, only averaging 5.3 rebounds per game in over 30 minutes as a power forward, mostly, at Michigan.

The Bucks, as it were, have a huge need for rebounding and physicality. Greg Monroe brings both things, but Thon Maker does not. Giannis Antetokounmpo has spent the summer getting absolutely ripped, but any Mirza Teletovic minutes take away strength, rebounding and most things aside from three-point shooting.

The team’s more urgent need, though, is for a legitimate backup small forward. When looking through the Bucks projected rotation for the 2017-18 NBA season, it’s striking how either Wilson or one of Sterling Brown and Rashad Vaughn is currently slotted as the bench unit small forward.

Wilson might not get a choice about guarding threes — the Bucks need somebody who can play that role. Tony Snell can slide up if another guard enters the lineup, but actual depth tends to be helpful for teams going on playoff runs.

If Milwaukee can get away with playing Wilson there for now, it could plug an important hole for a while. At 6’10” and 240 pounds, Wilson looking small might be an optical illusion more than anything else, a result of the rookie forward simply playing like a perimeter player.

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He will need to get better at banging down low at least somewhat, but having long, athletic wing players who can shoot, handle the basketball and guard multiple positions has been an advantage for Milwaukee already. Wilson joins Snell, Middleton, Giannis, and Thon as a player who fits that description, giving the Bucks a ton of defensive versatility.

With their roster currently full at 15 players and the team over the salary cap already, internal growth will be a must if the Bucks are to improve (although playing in the Eastern Conference may deceive fans into thinking Milwaukee is better than the team actually is). D.J. Wilson will be a part of that.

Next: Are there free agents left worth clearing cap space for?

Whatever position he begins his career at, it’s Wilson’s versatility and lack of a set position that might end up making him a smart draft pick for the Milwaukee Bucks.