Milwaukee Bucks: Why Jordan Nwora is poised for a big role in year two

Mar 27, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Following their title-winning season, the Milwaukee Bucks will brace for free agency, where some of the dominos are already falling.

Many understood that running it back with this entire roster intact would be virtually impossible, and it appears that one name they could be without next season is Bryn Forbes. As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday, Forbes will decline his player option worth $2.3 million for next season and re-enter free agency after one year in Milwaukee.

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It always seemed feasible to believe that this news was coming, but with Forbes likely seeking a hefty payday following a career-year shooting the basketball, the guard may have played himself out of Milwaukee’s price range.

If he does indeed leave the franchise once free agency begins, the Bucks will face a tall order trying to replicate his offensive production, but one player that could look to fill his shoes would be Jordan Nwora.

Jordan Nwora could find himself playing a key role for the Milwaukee Bucks next season

Although he did not play a key role throughout their title run, Nwora certainly had an eventful rookie season with the Bucks. The second round selection showed glimpses of potential when he received minutes for the Bucks, exceeding 20 points in three of the four contests he appeared in for more than 20 minutes this season.

While his playing time was scattered, Nwora’s shining moment of the season came in Milwaukee’s final regular season game against the Chicago Bulls. With most of the regular lineup ruled out of the contest for various reasons, Nwora came off the bench and delivered a stunning performance. Playing 36 minutes, the forward would score 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting, including 4-of-8 from deep, ultimately putting on a show in the team’s 118-112 loss. At this moment, many genuinely considered that the Bucks had something special on their hands with this 22-year-old.

With Forbes likely inking a lucrative contract elsewhere and the Bucks having their hands tied financially, Nwora could step into a bigger role from day one next season. The biggest way the forward could help the Bucks would be with their outside shooting, which will certainly take a hit if Forbes does indeed take his talents elsewhere. The guard boasted the fourth-best percentage from 3-point territory in the league during the regular season at 45.2 percent, which will be hard to duplicate.

Uncoincidentally, Nwora’s sweet-shooting is why the Bucks made the obvious decision to draft him when he was still on the board with the 45th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He was fantastic during his three seasons at Louisville by shooting a combined 39.4 percent, and he was efficient during his rookie year in the NBA by shooting 45.2 percent. Of course, the latter was a much smaller sample size due to his mightily lessened role, but the efficiency was there as he shot 28-for-62 for the season. If he can keep things consistent and shoot the basketball at a high rate with efficiency, there is no reason he could work his way up the chain immediately.

In addition to shooting, Nwora must spend the offseason improving his ball-handling, defense, and his overall game, but one thing that is certain is that his offense is special. Currently suiting up for the Nigerian Men’s Basketball Team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the forward showcased his skills by scoring 33 points on 13-for-20 shooting, including an impressive 7-of-12 from behind the arc in the team’s loss to Germany. The potential is there for Nwora, but it will be up to the Bucks to unearth it next season and beyond.

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While nothing is set in stone, the writing is on the wall that Forbes will be headed elsewhere after a memorable year with the Bucks, and that could mean Nwora’s time is coming.