Milwaukee Bucks: Takeaways from interesting loss to Denver Nuggets

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 03 (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 03 (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Badgers: D'Mitrik Trice
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 12: (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks wrapped up their 2021 NBA Summer League campaign with a 94-87 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Both Jordan Nwora and Georgios Kalaitzakis did not play in the Summer League finale with various minor injuries.  In their absences, the Bucks still had a couple of standout performances. Turnovers were the big problem for the Summer League Bucks, with 27 of them in this game — compared to just 10 for the Nuggets. They shot relatively well (46.5 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from deep) but couldn’t hold on to the ball and especially so in the second half.

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For the Nuggets, Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland had another strong showing. He led the Nuggets with a team-high 20 points and five assists. He really heated up in the second half after not being able to find his shot to start the game. Overall though, it was a rough performance from the Summer League Bucks in terms of their record, finishing 1-4. But Summer League is always about more than winning games, especially for the Bucks’ youngsters.

For the second year players such as Nwora, Mamadi Diakite, and incoming rookies in Kalaikzakis and Sandro Mamukelashvili, it’s about getting reps in games since there won’t be as many opportunities for them in NBA regular season games. Luckily for them, the Bucks should have their G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, back to get some more in-game reps.

It’s also about finding any intriguing young players that could come into training camp and either catch on with the Herd or even grab their still-vacant second two-way contract spot. From those perspectives, the Bucks had a pretty successful 2021 Summer League as they got their young players a ton of in-game reps, and there were some guys from outside the organization that had some nice flashes.

Regardless, here are some important takeaways as the Milwaukee Bucks closed out the 2021 Summer League.

D’Mitrik Trice made his case in the Milwaukee Bucks’ final Summer League game against the Denver Nuggets

As Nwora sat out the last game of the Bucks’ Summer League trip, they needed someone to step up offensively and score some points. Enter guard D’Mitrik Trice, the former Wisconsin Badger.

Trice was easily the Bucks’ best player at the offensive end, both scoring and creating offense for others. He led the way with a game-high 24 points, shooting 10-for-16 from the field and 3-for-6 from behind the arc, dished out three assists, and led the team with a +5 rating.

He was so impressive off-the-dribble, both shooting and going to the rim. He did a great job at creating separation against bigger defenders, hitting multiple jumpers from the midrange after drawing a switch against a big man. Trice was in his bag a lot in this game, even though it wasn’t enough to pick up the win.

Trice may not have gotten the shot that he was expecting coming into Summer League, playing only 7.3 minutes per game before the Summer League finale. We wrote about guys who could play their way into a two-way contract with a strong performance this summer, which Trice was a candidate for. This was definitely the best single-game performance of the players who are not already under contract with the Bucks.

Overall it was just a great display of shot-making and decision-making from Trice, who made his case as someone who should catch on with a G-League team at the very least.