With Ersan Back, Bucks’ Frontcourt Deepens Further


One of the biggest surprises of this year for the Bucks has to be their depth. The last few years with Jason Kidd included sporadic rotations and ineffective use of the roster. Coach Mike Budenholzer has completely changed that. He uses his bench and uses it effectively. Bud puts his players in positions to succeed and encourages them to go out each night playing loose and playing their own game. No player has benefited from this philosophy more than DJ Wilson.

DJ (a guy that had been rumored in trade talks and virtually forgotten on the Bucks bench in his first year) is now playing significant minutes for the Bucks. Who would’ve thought?!

Quality Minutes From DJ

A couple of times he has even played over half the game. But the most impressive part about DJ is the fact that he is being productive in a role he is not used to playing– center. That’s right, DJ Wilson is essentially playing center when the Bucks play a small-ball lineup after Brook Lopez exits the game. In the last ten games Wilson is averaging 6.1 rebounds and 5.7 points per contest. The more telling story of his production, however, is the fact that he has had a positive differential in nine of those ten games– proving his effectiveness.

Deep Bench Poses Difficult Decisions for Bud

Even with the production that Wilson has contributed to the Bucks in the last few weeks, there is still a complication on the horizon: a healthy Ersan Ilyasova.

With Ersan already making his return from a broken nose against the Hawks, DJ Wilson could see his minutes reduced. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. With Ilyasova back, the Bucks become even deeper and can play a wide array of people at center and power forward.

This will keep Giannis Antetokounmpo fresher and keep the team healthier in the frontcourt. Ersan and DJ play very similar brands of basketball: active hands on defense, rebound the ball, and provide good screens and energy on offense. Because of their similarities, expect Coach Budenholzer to play the hot hand in the post while Wilson, Ilyasova and Thon Maker are all healthy.

Hopefully DJ’s hip injury isn’t anything serious and lingering so the Bucks can remain deep in the frontcourt. If it’s not, expect to see DJ Wilson to get somewhere around 10 to 15 minutes per game, spelling anyone from Lopez to Ersan to Giannis.

Let’s trust Budenholzer’s system and his impressive rotational decisions to lead the Bucks’ big men to success the remainder of the season.


About Matt Murphy

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