Milwaukee Bucks: Grading Lindell Wigginton’s season at the All-Star break

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

The Milwaukee Bucks have used their second two-way slot on a number of different guards this season but have appeared to finally settle on Lindell Wigginton for the remainder of the season.

He has only been with the Bucks for a short time and got more playing time closer to the break. Part of that was due to injuries but he also impressed in his extended appearances and earned some trust from head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Coming out of the break, there may not be as much playing time available for Wigginton depending on George Hill’s health and Jevon Carter’s play, but perhaps he’s done enough to earn a look in the future.

Evaluating Lindell Wigginton’s 2021-22 season with the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA All-Star break

Wigginton has played in 10 games for the Bucks, averaging 4.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in 10.5 minutes per game. You shouldn’t read too much into his percentages, but he’s shooting nearly 54 percent from 3 (on 13 attempts), so that’s fun.

He has a larger sample size with the Wisconsin Herd. He shot the ball relatively well in 14 showcase games at 36.3 percent on 80 3-point attempts and averaged 17.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 0.6 steals in 29.4 minutes per game.

In the regular season, though, Wigginton has really struggled with his 3-point shot. In eight games, he’s shooting under 20 percent on 56 attempts, while averaging 17.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 34.2 minutes per game.

The all-around numbers are very nice in the G League for Wigginton, but it’s unlikely he’ll get that type of freedom in the NBA, so let’s focus on what he’s done in his limited action with the Bucks.

The 23-year-old has played in 10+ minutes in five of his 10 games, including the last four games before the break. He really came on strong in those four games and you could see him improving between those games and getting more comfortable with his teammates and the competition.

The Canadian struggled against the Phoenix Suns when asked to play behind Jrue Holiday with Hill out, but that made sense. He’s a rookie and going up against one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul.

Then, against the Portland Trail Blazers, Wigginton looked much, much better. Despite losing by 15 points, Wigginton was a plus-13 in 17 and a half minutes. He had 11 points, four rebounds, and played with a ton of energy in a game where a lot of the Bucks regulars seemed to be in a bit of a daze.

That carried into the next game against the Indiana Pacers, which has been his best all-around NBA performance to date. He played over 28 minutes and put up 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting (3-of-6 from 3), two rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

Wigginton’s energy has been one of his biggest assets in his limited NBA time, especially on defense and that caught the eye of Budenholzer. “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.”

It was a big sign of respect and confidence that Budenholzer went to Wigginton late in both the Pacers game as well as against the Philadelphia 76ers in certain moments

In the game against the Sixers, in particular, I liked how aggressive Wigginton was against Tyrese Maxey. He didn’t shut him down or have a ton of possessions against him, but he did a good job sticking with him off-ball and getting through screens to disrupt certain actions.

I’m hoping we still get to see Wigginton down the stretch, but I also realize they have a very tough remaining schedule and will want to focus on getting guys ready and building some cohesion for the playoffs.

BTBP All-Star Break Grade: C+

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I was already going to support Wigginton because he’s Canadian, but he’s shown enough in his brief NBA stint to have me intrigued for the future.