Milwaukee Bucks: First reactions to signing free agent Semi Ojeleye

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 26 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have been rather quiet to start 2021 NBA Free Agency, but they made an interesting move Monday night.

That would be that they have signed Semi Ojeleye to a one-year deal, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the financial specifics have yet to be released to the outside world, it would be feasible to believe that the Bucks did not break the bank with this signing, but they may have found a hidden gem.

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Ojeleye had spent the previous four years playing with the Boston Celtics, making a name for himself by playing some robust defense. While he is not a household name, Bucks fans will recognize Ojeleye as he was oftentimes tasked with guarding Giannis Antetokoummpo whenever the Bucks and Celtics would square off. Now, the 26-year-old will join forces with the two-time MVP in Milwaukee, and his fit with the reigning champions might be more than meets the eye.

Semi Ojeleye could be a promising piece for the Milwaukee Bucks after signing him in free agency

As previously mentioned, Ojeleye has made a name for himself due to his persistent play on the defensive side of the ball. Standing at 6-foot-6  and weighing in at 240 pounds, the forward is strong and can hold his own against larger players such as Giannis, for reference. That prowess will help him earn minutes in the rotation while playing alongside other top-notch defenders like Giannis, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton.

With he is not an otherworldly defender, Ojeleye will help keep the defense on their toes with some help on that end. His importance is only heightened more so following the controversial departure of P.J. Tucker, who left the Bucks to sign a two-year deal with the Miami Heat. With Tucker unexpectedly out of the picture, the Bucks had a massive hole to fill defensively, and while Ojeleye alone does not patch that issue up entirely, it is a solid place to start.

While the Bucks know that Ojeleye will unquestionably help bulk up their front line defensively, one compelling development will be his game offensively. Averaging just 3.5 points per game for his career, he is certainly not much of a scorer, but his long distance shooting has improved as of late. Ojeleye has shot 106-of-285 from behind the arc over the past two seasons with Boston, translating to an efficient 37.2 percent. This Milwaukee team is always looking to add perimeter shooting, and while Ojeleye is certainly not a knockdown shooter, he could be serviceable for the occasional attempt.

Overall, this is a solid move for the Bucks. It will be overshadowed by the fact that the front office managed to bring back Bobby Portis on a relatively cheap deal and let P.J. Tucker walk out the door to immediately sign with one of their biggest rivals, but the potential is there. Ojeleye could see meaningful minutes in the rotation from day one largely due to his defense, and this move could eventually pay dividends down the road.

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Stay tuned as more details flood in regarding Ojeleye’s contract with the Bucks and what other targets might be coming next.