Milwaukee Bucks put trio of rookies on assignment to G League

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the Milwaukee Bucks‘ rotation well defined 20 games into the 2020-21 season, playing time has been hard to come by for the Bucks’ rookies and two-way players.

That’s what it came as no surprise to see the Bucks assign Sam Merrill and Jordan Nwora as well as two-way player Mamadi Diakite on assignment to the G League ahead of their season down in the bubble getting underway later this month.

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Merrill is heading to the Memphis Hustle, Nwora is slated to join the Salt Lake City Stars and Diakite will be transferred to the Lakeland Magic. Two-way player and G League MVP runner up, Jaylen Adams, still remains with the Bucks as NBA rosters can have 13 total players dress for games this year.

Of course, the Bucks’ own G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, opted out of participating in this truncated G League season down in Orlando. It was reported by the New York Times’ Marc Stein that the entry fee for playing in the bubble was $500,000 for an affiliate.

While the Herd will not be playing, the Bucks will have to foot the bill for sending the likes of Diakite, Merrill and Nwora on assignment with their respective clubs for the moment.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ trio of rookies will assuredly get playing time down in the G League.

By being sent on assignment, all three of Diakite, Merrill and Nwora will see the majority of their reps come in the G League rather than in Milwaukee, given the order of things at the moment.

Before the Herd opted out of the bubble, Bucks general manager Jon Horst discussed with reporters the challenges of trying to get playing time and developing their rookies with the challenges brought on by the coronavirus:

"“The Herd has done an incredible job the last few years and will continue to be a really, really beneficial part of our program and an asset to our program. But with a lot of the restrictions with staffing and COVID and everything that goes on, there’s an argument to say that the best development for those guys will to be as close to us as possible this year. But also, whether it’s with the Herd, or if not with the Herd, with different teams in that bubble, getting guys opportunities and exposure to play, to play five-on-five basketball and competitive basketball if they’re not getting that at the Bucks level, that is something we’re considering as we try to weigh these options of whether or not to be part of the G-league bubble.”"

Now all three have the setting to get some minutes, though it will come with different teams that won’t necessarily play to the same tenets and principles of the Bucks’ system like the Herd had done under head coach Chase Buford last season. Both Nwora and Merrill have each seen the floor for 82 and 55 total minutes, respectively, while Diakite had yet to see any action or even being listed as anything other than inactive.

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With all three now on G League assignment, we’ll be sure to stay tune to how all three fare when they get their time to shine when the G League season starts one week from today on February 10.