The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks are one of the deeper teams in the NBA. They don’t have a ton of big names like the Lakers or the Nets, but the chemistry and energy their bench guys bring makes their bench mob one of the best.
The bench is highlighted by fan-favorite Bobby Portis Jr., veteran point guard George Hill, and 3&D wing Pat Connaughton. Those guys are good, but what really makes the Bucks so deep are their talented second-round draft picks.
Jordan Nwora was the 45th pick in the 2020 draft. He showed flashes in his rookie season, averaging 6 points and shooting 45% from three across 30 games.
I liked him as a player then, but after his 2021 preseason performance, I’m really high on him. He’s super confident on the offensive end, so he scores effortlessly. His bag consists of smooth step-back and pull-up threes, which he’ll make even when he’s guarded.
When you can score like Jordan can, you’re gonna get rotational minutes. In Milwaukee’s opening night game against Brooklyn, we saw that he can make an impact on winning a game. He put up 15 points and made 3 threes in a blowout win.
Although he’ll need to improve on defense and be a better passer to become an All-Star one day, Jordan’s scoring should make him a solid starter for a long time. Snagging him late in the second round makes him a true draft steal, and arguably the biggest of his draft class.
Rookie big Sandro Mamukelashvili was picked 54th overall. I have no clue how a player with such a unique game and high ceiling fell that far in the draft.
Mamu is a guard in a center’s body. He’ll never play point guard, but he can definitely be a high post playmaker in the league (Think Domantas Sabonis). He can shoot the three, drive to the hoop with surprising speed, and make good passes. I have never seen a player who plays like Mamu does.
He will need time to develop those skills and become a consistent rotational guy, but it will happen.
If you want to watch Jordan and Mamu play, check out this mixtape I put together of their preseason highlights. You’ll be able to see the skill I’m talking about.
I have no idea how a perennial contender was able to get these two guys in the draft. It’s a huge deal, because even after they won a championship Milwaukee still isn’t a super attractive team for free agents. Drafting well is how you win games for a long time (the Spurs and the Warriors are two teams that have done this). Kudos to Jon Horst and Milwaukee’s scouting department.
Jordan Nwora and Sandro Mamukelashvili will soon take the league by storm, and I’m putting you on notice now. These guys are seriously special.
(And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m a Bucks fan. I mean it.)
(Also, shoutout to 2020 60th overall pick and former Buck Sam Merrill, who is a knockdown shooter. I’m excited to see what he’ll do with Memphis this season.)