Milwaukee Bucks: Instant reactions to signing Johnny O’Bryant

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 13: (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 13: (Photo by Rocky Widner/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have filled one of their two open roster spots and it’s an old friend! According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bucks have signed big man Johnny O’Bryant to a training camp/Exhibit 10 contract. According to Charania, O’Bryant is expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp.

Although the deal is a bit surprising, given that O’Bryant hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2017-18 season, but he recently worked out for several interested teams (including the Bucks) and apparently must have impressed enough to get a shot at a spot in training camp.

Fans might remember that O’Bryant was drafted by the Bucks 36th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and spent two seasons with the team until going to the Denver Nuggets and then the Charlotte Hornets. In his 100 games played for the Bucks, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds but averaged just 39.5 percent from the field.

O’Bryant was just a young pup back then at 21 and 22 years old, he is now 28 years old and is looking to make a return to the NBA and it’s going to come with the team that drafted him.

Instant reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks signing Johnny O’Bryant

While the actual player they signed might be surprising, it’s not surprising that the Bucks are looking to sign more players with size. Following the release of Mamadi Diakite, the team needed more depth in their frontcourt (which was already a concern) and they have proceeded to sign Javin DeLaurier and now O’Bryant to training camp deals.

They aren’t the biggest or flashiest names, but the Bucks must have some belief that one of these guys can potentially take a roster spot whether that be one of the 15 standard contracts or a two-way spot, currently occupied by Justin Robinson.

The Bucks seemingly do have an open spot on the active roster after waiving Elijah Bryant right before training camp. Sitting at 14 standard contracts, the Bucks could (and I would argue should) use that spot to help fill out their frontcourt depth.

In O’Bryant’s most recent NBA season with the Charlotte Hornets, the 6’9″ big man played 36 games and averaged 10.5 minutes, 4.8 points, and 2.6 rebounds per game. He also developed a bit of a 3-point jumper, taking over one per game and converting on 32.6 percent.

That 3-point jumper progressed further when O’Bryant went to play overseas, where he took 273 total 3-pointers in 73 games (3.7 per game) and hit at a nearly 32 percent rate. It’s not huge but for a big man that took only seven total 3s in his first 112 games, it’s a big development especially if he wants to make it back into the NBA.

Just from a few of the clips here, O’Bryant’s mechanics look solid when shooting from long range. He has a good base and looks smooth on the release. He was even hitting step-back jumpers and post fades! In all seriousness, it’s good to see that O’Bryant has worked on his game and evolved as a player while out of the NBA. I’m sure part of why the Bucks took a chance on him was because of that improved shooting touch from 3-point range, showing it wasn’t just a fluke in time with the Hornets.

I can’t honestly say that O’Bryant would help the Bucks right now, seeing that he hasn’t played an NBA game in a few years but it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a flier on him. Maybe he doesn’t impress enough to make the team but can go to the Wisconsin Herd instead.

The Bucks should still be looking to add a more NBA-ready frontcourt body, but it’s obvious they know where their weaknesses are on the roster. There’s a real opportunity to be had in training camp to fight for a spot with the defending champs and O’Bryant will be one of those guys getting a chance to do so.

Milwaukee still has one contract slot open in their 20-man training camp roster and it would behoove them to add another player, at any position, just to get a good look at them. Expect to see another announcement soon on a player the Bucks are bringing into camp.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 newcomers to be excited about in 2021-22 season. dark

Welcome back and best of luck in training camp, Johnny!