Since being brought on as a two-way player by the Milwaukee Bucks a little more than a month ago, rookie forward Bonzie Colson II has displayed his wide array of skills playing with the Wisconsin Herd.
There have been few constants for the Wisconsin Herd throughout their second season in the NBA G League.
For starters, a total of 25 players have suited up for the Herd over the course of the campaign, and that’s not counting new addition Amjyot Singh, who’s recently been brought in with returning franchise scoring leader Xavier Munford off on Team USA duties ahead of their final round of FIBA World Cup qualifying.
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While roster turnover is part and parcel for all teams in the G League, the level of movement that has been persistent throughout the Herd’s season has certainly taken a toll on the court, judging by their 9-26 record at the All-Star break.
Despite their struggles throughout their sophomore campaign, silver linings have still surfaced from the G League for the Herd, and the Milwaukee Bucks as a whole.
The biggest being the development that both Sterling Brown and D.J. Wilson have put in during their respective handful of assignments to Oshkosh and how it’s led to them becoming mainstays in the Bucks’ rotation as the season has progressed. Christian Wood has followed in their footsteps by continuing to refine his craft and putting up monstrous numbers during his regular assignments to the Herd just as he has over the last few seasons across his various stops in the G League.
And now the Bucks’ most recent two-way player signing, Bonzie Colson II, is inching his way up that list of positives since being signed to a two-way contract back on January 15.
Coming to the Herd by way of the Canton Charge, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ G League affiliate, Colson had enjoyed a very solid rookie season after going undrafted in last year’s draft, which was partially due to the fact that Colson stood as an injury risk after breaking his foot on two separate occasions during his senior year in South Bend.
That hasn’t slowed Colson down in the slightest in his move to the Badger State, as the 23-year-old Colson has brandished his wide-ranging talents and gifts on both ends of the floor over the last month with the Herd. In his 11 appearances with the Herd so far, Colson is averaging 16.1 points on shooting splits of .460/.373/.833, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks.
Offensively, Colson has instantly stepped in as the Herd’s most proficient marksman from long range as he’s shooting 38.1 percent from three on the year between both Canton and Wisconsin. That alone is a big boost for the Herd to give them an adept frontcourt floor spacer to mirror the free flowing, let it fly offense their parent club is running less than two hours away (it also should be noted the Herd rank dead last in the G League in terms of team three-point percentage).
Colson’s skilled shooting doesn’t just come from behind the three-point line, though, as he’s displayed his smooth in-between game, whether it’s to attack off the dribble to throw up a high arching floater or to put his back to the basket game to good use with his favorite moves being his fadeaway and turnaround jumpers.
The one area of Colson’s scoring that is lacking is his ability to embrace contact and make his way to the free throw line, as he’s attempting 3.5 free throws per 36 minutes throughout his rookie season, though it’s fair to wonder if his recent injury history has played a significant part in that aspect of his game.
Switching sides, Colson’s defensive services are equally tantalizing for the variety of ways he makes his mark on that side of the court. Thanks to his seven-foot wingspan, Colson’s able to cover plenty of ground to block or alter shot attempts by opposing players and to do so without garnering a whistle (Colson is averaging only 2.5 fouls per 36 minutes this season across both stints).
We’ve seen multiple instances of how that has made him a stealthy isolation defender and despite his tweener status, Colson’s strength and defensive instincts give him the ability to effectively act as a small-ball five for small bursts as Herd head coach Jordan Brady has already utilized across the last month of play.
The impact of Colson’s versatile capabilities has currently made him one of the few Herd players to hold a positive net rating for the season, though it is ever so slightly positive at +0.6 points per 100 possessions, per the G League’s stats database. His presence has also spurned the best stretch of the Herd’s season as they have gone 5-6 since Colson came aboard.
With Colson’s two-way contract reportedly spanning both this season and next year, the Fighting Irish alum’s development will continue to bear monitoring as he continues to try and elevate his game, all in an effort to realize his dream of playing in the NBA.