Milwaukee Bucks: D.J. Wilson’s quiet rookie season and the potential for regret

Milwaukee, WI - FEBRUARY 2: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee, WI - FEBRUARY 2: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 31: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 31: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Wilson’s rookie season so far

Despite his potential, the early returns on D.J. Wilson’s career have been disappointing, to say the least.

Wilson has appeared in only 18 games with a total of just 60 minutes, most of which has been garbage time. There’s no stat that could provide any real context to Wilson’s minutes, as the sample size is too small to even consider, which is far from the most concerning issue with his season.

The most worrisome problem is just how lost he appears to be on the NBA court, regardless of the competition. This has led to a frequent cycle of Wilson being assigned to the Wisconsin Herd, only to be recalled from the G League a short time later.

While spending time playing with the Herd certainly isn’t the worst idea from a development standpoint, unfortunately, Wilson’s time in the G League hasn’t provided too much cause for optimism either.

Wilson has started in all nine of his appearances in Oshkosh, averaging a solid but unspectacular 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game on 46 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from deep. These are hardly awe-inspiring numbers for a first-round pick competing against below NBA-level talent.

Considering Wilson’s body type and age, there was always a chance that the pick could be something of a project for the Bucks. In that regard, the G League has provided Wilson with greater freedom to showcase some of his tendencies and skills that caught the eye when he was at Michigan.

With the Herd, Wilson gets greater opportunity to take the ball up court and push the pace in transition. He looks comfortable and often impressive going from end to end at pace, but any sort of passing ability that could help him to become an intriguingly versatile forward is still a work in progress. With 2.9 turnovers per game for Wisconsin, Wilson’s assist-to-turnover ratio in the G League is a pitiful 0.82.

Wilson’s G League play has also provided glimpses of how he can be an effective defender when asked to switch. The 21-year-old is long and relatively quick, allowing him to cover multiple positions. Wilson’s problems as a tweener defensively are apparent when he has to step in front of a faster wing in isolation or hold his own against a center inside, though.

Now that we have taken a look at the beginning of Wilson’s career, let’s talk about a few players the Bucks could have taken instead of him in the first round, in the order that they were drafted.

(Note: for this exercise, it is probably fair to assume that selecting any of these players would not have affected the trade for Eric Bledsoe)