Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Merrill recalled from G League assignment

Dec 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Milwaukee Bucks finally put a stop to their losing streak, they brought back a familiar face in the process.

The Bucks announced ahead of their 98-85 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night that they have recalled Sam Merrill from the G League where he had been on assignment with the Memphis Hustle.

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The basis behind the Bucks recalling Merrill from the G League does come as a corresponding move to two-way player Jaylen Adams entering the league’s health and safety protocols.

With both Adams and fellow Bucks Jrue Holiday in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, their already thin backcourt depth is thinning even further before recalling Merrill.

Now whether Merrill can parlay this opportunity into some playing time remains to be seen as he was not available Friday night and we’ll have to see of his status going into Sunday night’s clash versus the Sacramento Kings.

Could playing time be in store for Sam Merrill now that he’s back with the Milwaukee Bucks?

To say Merrill’s assignment with the Hustle had its ups and downs would be an accurate assessment. Over his five G League appearances, Merrill averaged 11.2 points on .349/.344/.167 shooting splits, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals across 28.9 minutes per game.

Merrill’s brand of consistent sharpshooting struggled to take hold over his brief time with the Hustle, but he made up for it with his heady decision making when making plays for others as well as disrupting plays on the defensive end. That was especially key as evaluating how Merrill would perform up to NBA-level speed was something I was personally looking for, even if it’s against players that are just scratching and clawing to find their place in the league like Merrill.

Given his versatile usage both on and off the ball as well as his strong defensive chops, we’ll have to see what the bar for entry into the Bucks’ rotation looks like for the 24-year-old. To this point, the vast majority of Merrill’s 55 minutes have come with results well in hand for the Bucks or the opposition.

After all, there has been no official update on when we can expect Holiday to return back into the mix and despite his encouraging turn in the Bucks’ starting lineup Friday night, D.J. Augustin has had a rough go so far this 2020-21 season. The Bucks’ wings/combo guards of Pat Connaughton, Donte DiVincenzo and Bryn Forbes have all had their uses on both ends of the floor.

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With the Bucks’ rotation pretty defined at this stage of the season, time will how or if Merrill will factor into the Bucks’ rotation moving forward, should his stay in Milwaukee remain permanent for the rest of the season.