Milwaukee Bucks: Three rookies are showing potential despite limited time

Jan 30, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 30, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Merrill
MIAMI, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 29: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sam Merrill is still looking for his shot in limited minutes.

Sam Merrill was selected with the 60th pick in this past draft by the Bucks, and the fit was immediately easy to comprehend. Merrill made a name for himself as a sharpshooter during his four-year stint at Utah State, and the Bucks are always in the hunt for more shooting.

Merrill did get some burn in Milwaukee’s 129-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night with nearly eight minutes of meaningful time. The guard chimed in just two points on 1-of-3 shooting, but his only basket was a significant one, as Merrill finished at the rim off a steal to knot the game at 103 late in the third quarter.

Yet, the 24-year-old guard has not seen much time with the team as he’s logged a total of 72 minutes this season and  with very few of them coming outside of mop-up duty. Merrill has instead spent most of his playing time with the Memphis Hustle of the G League, where he has participated in five games with the team.

The guard averaged 11.2 points in that span while shooting 34.9 percent from the floor and 34.4 percent from 3-point territory. Merrill’s offense has been streaky, but he has made an impact elsewhere with 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. His numbers certainly are not as compelling as Diakite’s, but the potential is still there.

The Bucks drafted the guard because of his floor spacing capabilities, and once he can find some consistency with that shot of his, he will be a meaningful contributor on this roster.