The Milwaukee Bucks badly need a second unit spark, who will it be?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 07 (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 07 (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

It is no secret that the Milwaukee Bucks are dealing with an array of injuries to the second unit right now. George Hill has been out since January 28 with lingering neck soreness, and the guard is likely to be sidelined through the NBA All-Star break. Pat Connaughton will also miss time as he underwent surgery on Monday to fix a fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand, which will keep him out for four weeks. With two incredibly important bench pieces out of the lineup for the time being, the Milwaukee Bucks must now embrace the “next man up” mentality.

Who will step up for the shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks?

The obvious answer here is Jordan Nwora, who has been in and out of the rotation this season. The forward has struggled to carve out a role for himself, with most of his playing time coming when the Bucks are missing a few pieces on a given night. Nwora has shown flashes of scoring potential time and time again throughout his first two seasons with Milwaukee, and with two of their leading bench scorers sidelined, the 23-year-old could help pick up the slack offensively.

One of the biggest gripes with the former second round selection has been his game-to-game inconsistency, which has been on display over these last three games he has played. During the Bucks’ recent loss to the Phoenix Suns, Nwora came off the bench and scored two points on an abysmal 1-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes as he looked lost on the floor. In Milwaukee’s next game versus the Portland Trail Blazers, Nwora looked much better by scoring 17 points on 50 percent shooting, providing a solid scoring spark off the bench. Then he scored nine points on nine shots in the Milwaukee Bucks’ latest victory over the Indiana Pacers.

In addition to his inconsistent numbers, Nwora has been plagued by some lousy defense and oftentimes egregious shot selection. Both of those have been massive weaknesses for him this year and are largely why he has been kept out of the regular rotation. Nwora has all the tools to be a great defender and can certainly work on seeking better shots, but there is a time when he has to stop talking about it and simply start doing it. The lethal scorer has all the potential in the world to be a key contributor for the Milwaukee Bucks, particularly in this stretch, but he must work on being passable defensively and playing smarter offensively.

Another name is Wesley Matthews, the veteran wing who joined the Bucks mid-season and made a strong impression immediately. However, after his red-hot start, Matthews has cooled off as he is having a horrendous February by averaging 1.3 points per game while shooting 17.6 percent from the floor and 14.3 percent from three in six games thus far. Considering he is playing 15.3 minutes on average this month, those numbers are certainly not going to cut it.

The Bucks never envisioned that Matthews would be a double-figure scorer when they brought him in, but he could undoubtedly be better than this. If the veteran swingman could hit a three with some consistency, it would help tremendously. Looking back, Matthews has not hit multiple 3-pointers in a game since January 13, which is just awful. With Hill and Connaughton sidelined, Matthews will get more looks offensively, and the Bucks desperately need him to find a rhythm quickly, as he has turned into a liability offensively. He is undoubtedly more than capable, as the veteran has several notable performances this season – 16 points versus Houston, 13 points at Charlotte – and they will need him more than ever in this upcoming stretch.

Matthews missed Milwaukee’s last game with a right toe injury, but hopefully he can return sooner rather than later.

The last name is a surprising one, that being two-way guard Lindell Wigginton. The rookie has seen more minutes over these past three games, and the results have been hit or miss. While he failed to make much of an impact versus the Suns, Wiggington showed off his confidence in the loss to the Trail Blazers by scoring 11 points off the bench. He followed that up with a stronger showing against the Indiana Pacers by scoring 12 points off the bench. Not only is the rookie scoring at a high level, but he is making hustle plays and doing all of the little things to make the Bucks a better basketball team. While he has been far from perfect, Wigginton has played well in his extended minutes.

The Bucks would benefit greatly if their two-way guard in Wigginton could give them quality minutes off the bench as they maneuver through these tough times.

While any of these three are capable of providing the spark that Milwaukee needs, perhaps the answer could also be external. The Bucks have been repeatedly linked to Goran Dragic in the buyout market over the past few days, and he could be just what the champs need with all of their current guard issues. The former All-Star would be a significant addition as Hill’s return is uncertain at this point with very little being revealed about his ongoing neck soreness.

Although it could change if the Bucks do add Dragic, the answer to Milwaukee’s second unit spark question for now is Nwora. If the forward could simply get a grip offensively by taking smart shots and cutting back on the bone-headed decisions while playing serviceable defense, he could be just what this team needs right now off the bench.

Next. 3 reasons to love the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for Serge Ibaka. dark

Whatever the case, the Bucks need some help off the bench if they will stay afloat in this stretch. Stay tuned to find out just who it might come from.