Milwaukee Bucks: 5 guards to target in free agency

PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 18: (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

T.J. McConnell

T.J. McConnell may be one of the less glamorous names that can be thrown out among this year’s free agent class, even in the lower salary range that the Bucks will almost certainly be operating in. Still, it would be a mistake to underestimate his effectiveness.

Not only did McConnell work incredibly hard to scrap and claw his way into the NBA after going undrafted out of Arizona in 2015, but he’s already outlasted many of his peers and beaten all expectations for what his NBA career could be.

McConnell’s time with the 76ers may well come to an end this summer as they’ll be forced to focus on more pressing concerns, such as retaining Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, but if that’s the case he’ll leave Philadelphia with a legacy that accurately captures his personality and essence as a player.

Having entered the league as one of the countless rotating players who enjoyed a cup of coffee with the 76ers when The Process was in full swing, by the end of last season, McConnell was effectively the last remaining player from the 10-72 Philly squad. Embiid had been drafted, but had yet to play a game at that point.

McConnell sticking with the Sixers, and more generally in the NBA, can be attributed to a combination of heady play, a tireless work ethic, and a team-first mindset.

If you were considering signing McConnell for a larger role, his unwillingness to let fly from deep, and the inconsistent results that can follow when he does, would seem to be a major stumbling block.

As an end of bench player providing cover and helping to maintain a positive, focused, and competitive environment on a daily basis, that shouldn’t be a consideration, though. McConnell will apply himself defensively, offer a steady pair of hands while creating efficiently as a secondary ball-handler, and score more than you’d expect thanks to a nifty floater.

If another team doesn’t bite at a higher price, McConnell at the minimum would represent a nice piece of business.