Haiku reviews 2014 edition: We hardly knew ye

Stephens. Jumping. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephens. Jumping. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

DJ Stephens

Jumps so very high
Other discernable skills?
Those remain unclear.

DJ Stephens most impressive attributes this season were his leaping ability and ability to have an agent whose father is the Milwaukee Bucks Director of Player Personnel, which seems like it could have had an impact on his sudden 10-day contract from the Bucks, given that five of the other players he represents have at some point been apart of the Bucks actual roster or summer league roster.

He did not make much of an impact, but he had two or three plays where he did jump very high. You will never be forgotten, DJ.

Typical Chris Wright. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Typical Chris Wright. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chris Wright

Series of 10-days
Only one man could win out.
It was the Wright move.

Puns in haiku form!

Wright was the most impressive 10-day contract recipient the Bucks had, as evidenced by this game, in which he had 14 points, three dunks and enough energy to invigorate a typically sleepy Bucks team for the entire first half. He’s known as a dunker, but as the video demonstrates, he’s not totally incapable of dribbling the ball the length of the court and finishing something other than a dunk.

In Wright’s few NBA minutes, with the Bucks and Warriors both, he’s rarely seemed overmatched. Sometimes he’s been put in situations where he’s failed, a game in which he was supposed to be guarding Evan Turner on the perimeter while going offense/defense for a foul plagued Khris Middleton comes to mind, but there’s a role in this league for him somewhere. The role may not be large, but in time, he’ll find a way, the same way guys like Darvin Ham and Jamario Moon did over time.

Whether or not he can develop a perimeter game defensively and a 3-point shot offensively will decide just how long the way he finds lasts.

Tony Mitchell

One minute per day.
His mark never really made.
Maybe this summer.

It’s possible Mitchell will return to Milwaukee this summer as apart of the Bucks Vegas Summer League team. I have no real indication that will be the case, but if the same regime is around, it would make some sense.

Coach Larry Drew seemed to enjoy what Mitchell did on the court in his limited time. He too had a highlight, one that drew quite a reaction from the Wolves bench, mind you, though he had much less opportunity on the basketball court during NBA games than Wright. But I’m sure Mitchell chalks this season up as a success, as he made his NBA debut and got paid like an NBA player for two business weeks.

Congrats to you, Tony Mitchell.

Luke Ridnour

Obtained in a trade.
Returned with expectation.
Soon he was shipped out.

A sad half season was all the Bucks got out of Luke Ridnour, one time maker of shots and deliverer of hard fouls. He was a big part of Milwaukee’s Fear the Deer run in 2009-10, as a guide for Brandon Jennings and frequent backcourt partner. But Milwaukee didn’t want to splurge on a backup point guard and, satisfied with Jennings abilities, let him move on to Minnesota. Since then, Ridnour hasn’t really been able to recapture the magic of his one great season in Milwaukee, but the Bucks hoped, back in familiar surroundings, he’d find a way.

It turns out small point guards that only shoot an average percentage from 3-point range might not age so well.

His season played out like many other players. He was hurt early and never really seemed to carve out a role alongside a developing Nate Wolters and combo guard Brandon Knight. Fans quickly jumped ship on him and pined for more Wolters developmental minutes. Ridnour kept playing, but kept missing shots. Eventually, he was shipped out alongside Gary Neal. 

His departure was much less acrimonious, but ultimately he was as almost big of a failure of an acquisition as Neal.

Udoh, with a rare basket. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Udoh, with a rare basket. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ekpe Udoh

On the court offered
so very little. Ekpe’s
Book Club was a hit.

The only memorable thing Udoh did all season was start a book club on Twitter.

It’s cool that he did it. It’s cool that he’s serious about reading books and actually setting a pretty positive example on a medium full of foolishness and immaturity. Plenty of YOUTHS are on Twitter and if a few of them see that an NBA player is doing a book club and want to get involved just so they can say they got to interact with an NBA player, than that’s an amazing thing. It looks like there’s a pretty small following, but a devoted following. He’s talked about flying people out to Dallas to chat books over the summer and he’s been very genuine about the whole thing, which I love, because so many players rarely seem genuine.

But he did very poorly as a basketball player this season. The book club is great, but he isn’t paid millions to talk about The Cask of Amontillado. I don’t say this to be a jerk, I say this because we could be a year or so from never watching Ekpe play in an NBA game again. His skill is defense and he’s still good at it. Opponents shot just 46.3% against him at the rim, which tied him with John Henson for third best percentage on the Bucks. But Henson offers much more as a rebounder and scorer. Ekpe offers so precious little everywhere else, it’s hard to see him sticking around without getting much better, quickly.

And the NBA seems like it’ll be a better place if Ekpe is around for a while. So keep on keeping on, Ekpe. It probably won’t be in Milwaukee, but hopefully it’ll be somewhere.

Categories: Ridiculous Things

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