With 14 roster spots filled with guaranteed contracts the Milwaukee Bucks have one spot to fill. Will they opt for more lineup flexibility or do they choose the best player who can fill a need?
Wood has reportedly signed a deal that has $100,000 guaranteed, however this does not guarantee him a spot on the roster.
With John Henson and Thon Maker, both capable of playing center, still on the roster adding another player who cannot play on the wing would seem unnecessary. Signing Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova in the off-season has seemingly done enough to shore up the Bucks’ bigs situation. Also, in emergencies D.J. Wilson could see some playing time. Therefore, Wood and Zeller would in many ways seem like overkill on this roster.
Although Zeller filled a need for a more physical center late last season, that role has since been taken up by Lopez. With Lopez being able to knock down threes he is a large upgrade over Zeller, who isn’t quite as far along in expanding his range in that sense. While Zeller did provide consistency in his playing time with the Bucks, it seems as though his time with the team is up.
Wood was a shining star in Las Vegas, playing for the Bucks Summer League team. He made the Summer League First Team after averaging 20.4 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. While it seems he has made a jump in his play, he has been given chances at the NBA level before. Wood has been a part of both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Hornets, although neither of those stays lasted very long.
Wood’s improved play in Summer League seemed to intrigue plenty of teams, but it did not result in him getting a call in terms of being offered a guaranteed roster spot, as many thought it would. Wood still has plenty of potential, being only 22-years-old. If he does not make the Bucks’ roster, which is still very much a possibility, expect him to land with some NBA team, even if it’s on a two-way contract.
That leaves Muhammad and Frazier. Muhammad was with the team for the final part of the season last year while Tim Frazier played all year as a backup in Washington. Muhammad would offer more versatility as he can comfortably play the three, and the four in a small ball lineup. Frazier, on the other hand would offer a solid backup point who knows his role.
Frazier has struggled from three his whole career, coming in at just over 31 percent. Where he does excel is in terms of being a playmaker. For his career, Frazier has averaged 8.1 assists per 36 minutes. His instincts on the offensive end are very good, he takes care of the ball and can take advantage of mistakes while playing defense. While he may be something different for the Bucks at point guard, keeping him on the roster would create another spot where the Bucks have too many players with not enough minutes.
Muhammad on the other hand can put the ball in the basket. While he has a lower three-point percentage than Frazier, he shot 37.5 percent in a small sample size with the Bucks. Being able to play multiple positions, especially in a Coach Budenholzer lineup, puts him in the driver’s seat for the final roster spot. His ability to get the ball in the post and get a bucket is something very useful to have, especially if the team is going through a dry spell on the offensive side.
As many Bucks fans remember from last year Muhammad can struggle on the defensive end and can become a black hole on the offensive end. However, any man who joins a team as the 15th man will have holes in his game. Frazier would keep the ball safe and be able to hold his own defensively which would likely help the Bucks’ offense run smoothly. He also creates a sort of security blanket at the point guard position which the Bucks have not had in a while.
The Bucks have plenty of ways they can fill out their roster. They have a point guard who could provide valuable back up minutes, a versatile scorer who provides more wing depth, and a young player who could provide another projects for the Bucks, but will struggle to find playing time. Or they could even go with the option they went with last year and sign someone from outside of their training camp.
Whichever route the Bucks choose to take with their final roster spot they will certainly be in a better spot bench-wise than they were last year.