Lindell Wigginton is showing early promise for the Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 14: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 14: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

I know, I know, ok? I’ve been very complimentary of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ last two two-way players and I’m doing it again for Lindell Wigginton after a strong couple of individual performances.

Wigginton is the third player to have been cycled through their second two-way slot this season (Sandro Mamukelashvili, of course, occupying the other), after guards Justin Robinson and Javonte Smart were unsuccessful in their bids to stick around long-term despite promising starts.

Well, here we go again. Wigginton has put together a few nice games when given extended minutes due to George Hill’s absence (as well as a general need for bodies to fill minutes) and maybe this is the guy who can grab hold of the second two-way spot for good — though I may be a little biased.

Lindell Wigginton is making the most of his opportunity with the Milwaukee Bucks

So, for most of you that don’t know, I’m Canadian. Born and raised in Toronto, but have been a Bucks fan for over 10 years now. There hasn’t been a ton of Canadians on the Bucks since I became a fan (shoutout to Tyler Ennis), so it was really neat when the Bucks signed Wigginton to a two-way contract.

He also made a bit of Canadian history, being the first player to sign an NBA contract after playing in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (he played for the Hamilton Honey Badgers). You know how it’s cool for those of you born in Wisconsin to see Wesley Matthews play for the Bucks? It’s like that, but a little less cool for me.

Anyway, seeing Wigginton succeed these last couple of games has been really fun. First of all, the Bucks could use anyone stepping up right now, and having it be a two-way player is awesome. Second, for me, it’s always cool to see Canadian talent succeed and especially when it’s not someone highly touted like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Jamal Murray.

He initially saw minutes in blowouts, like when the Bucks were beating up on the Golden State Warriors or got beaten up by the Denver Nuggets. Since Hill has missed an extended period with neck soreness and they traded away ball-handling in Donte DiVincenzo, head coach Mike Budenholzer basically had no choice but to turn to Wigginton against the Phoenix Suns.

I’ll be honest, he did look a little overmatched in his 17 or so minutes and it was apparent when he was asked to guard Chris Paul. Any rookie looks bad guarding CP3 though, so I didn’t put a ton of stock into it.

In the last two games though, against the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers, Wigginton definitely looked like he belonged.

Despite it being a 15-point loss to a stripped-down Blazers squad, the 23-year-old was a plus-13 in his 17 minutes, showing energy and toughness as well as some shot-making.

That was fully on display against the Pacers, playing a career-high 28 minutes and putting up 12 points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal. He went 3-of-6 from behind the arc and Budenholzer had a ton of praise for him afterward.

“His toughness and competitiveness,” Budenholzer told reporters when asked about what he liked from Wigginton. “We talk about that being the number one thing we’re looking for, he competes. Defensively, he gets after it, just really like the things he can do, both on the ball and off the ball. Offensively, he’s got confidence, he attacks the basket, gets to the free throw line, makes some 3s. I think he’s getting more comfortable but to not lose his confidence, not lose his competitiveness. He’s helping us — tonight for sure and we’ll need him more.”

Depending on how things go for the Bucks on the buyout market with Goran Dragic available, Wigginton could be looking at some more run. Grayson Allen left the Pacers game and is questionable for tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.

If the Bucks can land Dragic, that would only be another veteran for Wigginton to lean on. In an interview with CityNews Toronto, Wigginton said that he’s been able to learn and ask questions from some of the Bucks veterans.

“I’ve been trying to speak to the older guys in my position that have been on the stage for a long time,” Wigginton said. “Like Jrue Holiday, George Hill, guys like that. I’m just trying to pick their brains and trying to figure out what makes you stick in this league. It’s not even just on the court stuff; it’s off the court stuff, too. So, it’s just been a blessing to be able to learn from great veterans like them. You know that they are always looking out for your best interest.”

Wigginton has made his mark with his energy and it has impressed his head coach. He may not get a ton of looks when the Bucks are fully healthy, but it’s a step in the right direction for a guy who’s had a long road to get to his first NBA contract.

I would already be intrigued by a guy like Wigginton who plays with such aggression and emotion, but it makes it a little more special being that he’s one of the few Canadians I’ve got to watch on the Bucks.

3 reasons why the Milwaukee Bucks should pursue Goran Dragić. dark. Next

Here’s to hoping he can continue to impress in his time with the defending champs.