The Milwaukee Bucks’ second Summer League game ended in a 75-78 defeat at the hand of the Washington Wizards, but there were still a lot of positives to take away from the loss. Tobias Harris showed elite offensive skills at times, finishing with 24 points (10 of 20) and 12 rebounds, and, in his professional debut, John Henson was impressive with 20 points (8 of 17) and 9 rebounds.
The Bucks controlled most of the game, holding a double-digit lead for most of it, with Harris, Henson, and Doron Lamb (12 points, 6/13 shooting, 3 rebounds) all playing great early on. Their impressive play may have been a positive sign that all three of them have the talent and basketball knowledge to compete at the NBA level. The Bucks held a lead until 3:20 in the 4th quarter as poor point guard play, which slowed the Bucks offense all game, finally caught up to them. The Wizards were led by third-pick Bradley Beal who had 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting and who looked dominant at attacking the basket with his freakishly long arms.
The MVP of the game was Tobias Harris. He seemed superior to everyone else on the court in both talent and size. The Wizards couldn’t stop him in the post, he showed a somewhat unknown touch on his jumper, and he was constantly in the right position for defensive rebounds. If he can continue with this consistent offense throughout Summer League, then hopefully Hammond will stop talking about how it might be hard for Harris to find minutes behind Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Harris has the offense this team needs and he deserves to be on the floor.
Henson had an exceptionally strong start and showed a left hand hook shot that seems impossible to stop with his long arms. He cooled off as the game carried on and he settled for long twos way too often. But he showed a lot of promise and was consistent in getting great low-post positioning in transition. For the sake of Bucks’ fans sanity everywhere, it is great that he didn’t play like a bust today.
The sour spot for the Bucks was once again Larry Sanders, who may be physically unable to not leave his feet on pump fakes. He settled for jump shots all night and was even called out for it by John Hammond who said that the team wants Sanders around the basket cleaning up misses instead of shooting long twos. It seems that the big difference between Sanders and the Harris, Henson, and Lamb trio is that Sanders still doesn’t seem capable of grasping basic basketball fundamentals.
He hasn’t improved at reading offensive or defensive sets, and for a third-year player in Summer League, that is very troubling. But then he has moments like his impressive block late in the game where it is obvious he has talent, he just needs some hands and a brain to go along with it. Sanders shouldn’t be noticed when he is on the court and he should live at the rim. He was drafted as a project and he is proving to be one.
Doron Lamb continued his strong summer league, showing a consistent jumper that hasn’t been seen in Milwaukee since Michael Redd with knees. It would be great if the team gave him some PG minutes during the rest of Summer League as the poor play at that position has halted many offensive sets.
The Bucks’ roster players (sans Sanders) all played well and showed a lot of promise, with Harris, Henson, and Lamb all looking like they will be able to be contributors during the season if Scott Skiles ever plays them. Sanders looks like he may be getting pushed farther down the bench. The Bucks’ next game will be Thursday at 9:00 P.M. CST against the D-League All Stars.
Jon Hartzell is currently the newest contributor to Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter.