9 Former Milwaukee Bucks still unsigned in 2023 NBA Free Agency

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 22 (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 22 (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Wesley Matthews
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 28 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Former Milwaukee Bucks still unsigned in free agency – Forwards

Wes Matthews: Matthews is a veteran guard who is a good defender and shooter. He averaged 3.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last season, but those pedestrian numbers belie the effect he’s had on this team every time he’s been here in the last few seasons. Whether you know him as the team’s Malcolm Brogdon replacement in 2020 or its primary wing defender a year ago, you know in your heart of hearts that Matthews is a fan favorite because of his strong locker room presence and even stronger point-of-attack defense out on the perimeter.

Bucks fans know he still has a lot in the tank — he locked down DeMar DeRozan in the playoffs just last year — and for a final roster spot, you could probably do much worse. According to Cleaning the Glass, Matthews was still in the 77th percentile in opponent effective field goal percentage just a year ago. He’s shown he still has a lot to offer contending teams, and he would likely be a solid mentor for some of the team’s younger defensive-minded guys. If the Bucks can bring Matthews back for yet another team-friendly deal (it would be his third with the team in the span of five years), it could certainly pay off.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Antetokounmpo is a (sometimes) versatile forward who is (sometimes) a good defender and hustler — at best. He averaged 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds per game last season, but to end this bit on his raw statistics would do a complete injustice to the net impact that “Thanasty” has had on the past few Bucks teams and, indeed, the franchise as a whole. It’s probably a lie at this point that his on-court contributions transcend the stat sheet, as he has shown signs of decline lately. However, his value off the court is what deserves talking about.

One could even talk this writer into the idea that there is no 2021 championship trophy without the locker room effect of Thanasis. Sometimes it really is that simple: Giannis is the team’s superstar, and Thanasis is his older brother. Thanasis helps to keep Giannis motivated and focused, and Giannis loves having his brother on the same team as him. At this point, he’s more than a cheerleader, a little less than a G-League player — the immaterial contributions of Thanasis are priceless, and the Bucks would be foolish to let him go. It’s for this reason that Thanasty is this writer’s pick for the final slot of the team’s new-look roster. It will be interesting to see if Thanasis is still on the team come next season — and where he’ll end up if not.