The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a disappointing season in which they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In order to make a deeper run next season, they should consider adding some veteran players on the veteran minimum.
As with every team lacking sizable cap space, leaning on veteran minimum contracts allows Milwaukee to add some much-needed experience to their roster whilst providing a cost-effective way to improve the team. The veteran minimum is a very low salary, so the Bucks would not have to break the bank to add these players, which would give the Bucks some flexibility. They would not be tied to these players for long-term contracts, so they could easily move on if they do not work out.
In the NBA, a veteran is defined as any player who has signed at least one contract with an NBA team. This means that a player as young as 23 could be considered a veteran, depending on their circumstances. Many players in the league have two or three years of experience playing on veteran minimum deals. This is because rookie deals, especially for second-round picks and free-agent rookies, are often relatively short.
If a player performs well on a veteran minimum deal, they may be offered an NBA veteran extension. However, there are a number of rules governing this, such as the player only having one or two years left on their current deal.
Here are some veteran minimum targets for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2023 NBA free agency.
No. 1 – Rodney McGruder
The Bucks have always been open to adding more defense and shooting to the team by way of veteran minimum pickups. Two years ago, it was Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood. They eventually added the likes of DeAndre’ Bembry and Jevon Carter for the same reasons.
If Rodney Hood didn’t work, maybe Rodney McGruder will.
This coming offseason, they could take a chance on McGruder, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent once his contract with the Detroit Pistons expires, though they do have bird rights on him. McGruder is set to be 32 years old by the start of next season after spending seven years in the association.
Rodney McGruder joined the Detroit Pistons for the 2020-2021 season after spending the previous three seasons with the Miami Heat. He signed a one-year contract with the Pistons as a free agent. McGruder’s role with the team was primarily as a shooting guard and small forward, providing depth off the bench.
During his time with the Pistons, McGruder played in 56 games and started in four of them. He averaged 17.3 minutes per game, contributing 5.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists. While he wasn’t known for his scoring prowess, he brought energy and hustle on the defensive end.
McGruder’s impact extended beyond the box score, as he was recognized for his strong work ethic and leadership qualities. He often served as a vocal presence on the court, providing guidance to his teammates. Despite his limited role, McGruder’s effort and intensity were appreciated by the coaching staff and fans.
The thing with Rodney McGruder is, you already know exactly what you’re going to get (and not going to get) out of him. He’s shot at least 39 percent from 3-point range in four of his seven seasons in the NBA. In each of those seasons, he attempted at least four threes a game despite playing just 15 to 19 minutes a night.
But on the other end, he challenged shots well and limited opposing forwards (a position in which he spent 40 percent of his playing time) to a decent 45.2 percent efficiency when he was the closest defender, per NBA.com/stats.
He’s not going to wow you with his handles or passing, but he’s been surprisingly consistent for someone who’s struggled to find a place in this league. He’s probably one of those guys who completely fit the mold of being a 3-and-D role player. And that should be more than enough for Milwaukee to take a chance on him.