Milwaukee Bucks: Why Jordan Nwora deserves legitimate minutes

Jan 4, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA (Nick Monroe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 4, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA (Nick Monroe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) /

Rookie forward Jordan Nwora has been getting increased minutes in the rotation for the Milwaukee Bucks, and he is making a case to solidify his spot for good.

With a 5-3 record, the Milwaukee Bucks have had several bright spots early in the 2020-21 season, and rookie Jordan Nwora has been one of them.

The Louisville product spent the early parts of the season playing in the final minutes of marginal defeats or victories, mostly to get his feet wet in the NBA waters. Although that meant the game had already been decided and the pressure was minimal, the rookie showed substantial promise on the offensive end with his ability to score at will.

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The Bucks fanbase had been yearning for the rookie to get more minutes in the primary rotation, and unfortunate circumstances helped grant their wish. Milwaukee’s wing rotation has been hit with injuries recently, with Torrey Craig, Pat Connaughton, and Sam Merrill all sidelined for different reasons.

With those three out, head coach Mike Budenholzer has called upon Jordan Nwora for meaningful minutes, and he took advantage. In Wednesday night’s 130-115 victory over the Detroit Pistons, Nwora checked into the game in the second quarter and had something of a breakout performance.

In 15 minutes, the rookie logged 11 points, shooting 4-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Nwora displayed that sweet touch offensively that made him such a compelling fit for this Milwaukee team, and he did it with his confidence through the roof.

In addition to his prolific night on offense, the forward was active on the defensive side of the ball, finishing with a block and a steal each.

Jordan Nwora might have opened the door for a more prominent role in the Milwaukee Bucks’ rotation moving forward.

Although Nwora is the youngest player on Milwaukee’s roster at 22 years old, he’s showing in brief spurts that he can help them win now. The forward is currently averaging 7.3 points per game on .500/.538/.875 shooting splits over 10.2 minutes per game and is making the most of his minimal playing time. While these numbers come from a small sample size of games, the potential is all there for Nwora.

The offensive skill set that he possesses, particularly from behind the arc, makes him a seamless fit in this system that has adopted a let it fly mentality for several years. The Bucks are currently shooting the lights out from 3-point range to start the season and lead the league in total 3-point makes (141) and 3-point percentage (43.7 percent).

The variety of ways in which Nwora has been able to hit shots, whether on or off the ball or knocking down smooth step-back threes, has shown why the Bucks believed him to be one of the best shooters in this draft class.

While there is no doubting his prolific ability on the offensive end, one area that Nwora needs to improve is his defense. Leading up the draft, Nwora’s defense was always listed under his most apparent weaknesses, which helped him slip to the Bucks at No. 45 overall. Improved play on defense will hopefully come with time, but right now, Nwora needs confidence, and that comes with meaningful playing time and reps.

With one of the oldest and most experienced rosters in the league, it might seem like a gamble throwing the youngest player on the team in the mix as a regular. However, this is something that the Bucks have already done with Donte DiVincenzo, the team’s second-youngest player ahead of Nwora. The third-year guard has seen more minutes with each passing season, and now, he is off to a fantastic start as the team’s starting shooting guard.

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While that does not guarantee success for Jordan Nwora, the formula is there. The rookie has shown untapped potential early on, and if he can continue producing for the Milwaukee Bucks, he could be the steal of the draft contending on a championship-caliber team.