Russell Westbrook isn’t going to Milwaukee.
Charlie Westbrook, though?
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Westbrook went undrafted out of South Dakota in 2012 and has played overseas and in the D-League since.
He’ll give Milwaukee 17 players, but
just 14 15 of them have guaranteed salaries. So, Westbrook will join Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Landry (both of whose contracts are fully unguaranteed) in competing to supplant a guaranteed player for a regular-season roster spot.
The Bucks already several players capable of playing Westbrook’s position, shooting guard: Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Rashad Vaughn, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerryd Bayless and even one of Michael Carter-Williams or Greivis Vasquez in bigger lineups. Without a clear need for him, Westbrook will really have to impress to stick past the preseason.
Jabari Parker. Giannis Antetokounmpo. Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams. Khris Middleton. John Henson.
Last season, with four of those six in place (Parker was injured most of the season, Monroe was in Detroit) the Milwaukee Bucks took a big step forward into the playoffs. They did it with great defense and the guidance of Jason Kidd.
Can they take another step this season? They should have an improved front line and offensive punch with Parker healthy and Monroe in the fold as a free agent. However, they Bucks sent veteran voices like Jared Dudley, how much will they be missed?
What matters more to GM John Hammond is continuity — he has a core in place now he thinks he can win with down the line. They just need time to grow and develop together. Look at what he said on The Baseline Podcast, as transcribed by Brew Hoop.
We’re trying to build around some kind of consistency with the nucleus of Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe and John Henson. Those six guys are the young core that we look and say that’s kinda the future of this organization, and that’s not discounting anyone else. Other players have to step and become a part of that group with us. But those guys are the group we hope we can build some kind of continuity with.
While we can debate whether guys like Henson or Carter-Williams are part of the long-term core for them, Hammond is spot on about continuity. But more than just continuity of roster, there has to be continuity of system and style. You can keep the same players, but if you change coaches and systems as often as Sacramento, it’s not going to matter.
Let these guys grow together and see what they can become under Kidd. They are still a few years away from being a threat to Cleveland (if they get there at all, we’ll see where their trajectory takes them) but the Bucks have to be patient and let it all play out.
Then right about the time they move into that new downtown arena, this could be a very dangerous team.
USA Basketball announced its expected minicamp attendees, prompting one major Utah Jazz question:
Where’s Trey Burke?
Turns out, Team USA had a late change of heart and invited Michael Carter-Williams instead. Simple enough.
But Jazz center Rudy Gobert wondered about a different Utah teammate:
That Derrick Favors didn’t make the 34-player camp speaks to the Americans’ depth. None of these players are headed to Las Vegas:
- Kyle Lowry
- Paul Millsap
- Jeff Teague
- Danny Green
- Zach Randolph
- Eric Bledsoe
- Greg Monroe
- Khris Middleton
- Hassan Whiteside
- DeMarre Carroll
That list doesn’t even include players like Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who chose not to attend. The U.S. is just loaded with talent.
It’s not hard to argue Favors should have been invited over some players who were. But try making the case he belongs on the final 12-man Olympic roster. That’s practically impossible, making this snub mostly academic.
But if Gobert wants to cape for his teammate, that’s just great.