Milwaukee Bucks Mailbag: Is Jordan Nwora trade bait?

Dec 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jordan Nwora (13) and Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) jump for the rebound during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jordan Nwora (13) and Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) jump for the rebound during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to find ways to win basketball games despite less than ideal circumstances.

They took down the Orlando Magic on Monday night despite missing Grayson Allen and Brook Lopez and watching Khris Middleton shoot 1-for-11 in his second game back. They also won two nights before that without Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Their schedule turns a bit harder over the next couple of weeks. They host the Sacramento Kings (13-9) on Wednesday night before traveling to Dallas to play the Mavericks on Friday. They also have games against the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, and Utah Jazz over the next week and a half.

With a lot going on in the Bucks’ world, I turned to you all to ask for questions on social media and received a great response. Let’s dive into topics that include Jordan Nwora, MarJon Beauchamp, Joe Ingles and more.

A Milwaukee Bucks mailbag with questions about Jordan Nwora as trade bait, MarJon Beauchamp’s role, Joe Ingles’ usage and more.

My guess is a little bit of both. Nwora has shown offensive potential since he first entered the league. He has a slithery way of creating space and getting shots off. His bag includes step-backs and a solid off-the-dribble game. However, his shot selection needs a lot of refinement.

He’s also off to the worst shooting start of his career. He has an effective field goal percentage of 46.3 percent–the worst of his career. The good news is he’s rediscovered his outside shooting stroke and it’s been on the rise for the last several weeks.

If he wants any chance of cracking Mike Budenholzer’s rotation, it’s going to be every other part of his game that must improve. He’s been working harder on defense this season, but doesn’t have the skills to be a successful defender. He’s a bit heavy in the feet and can’t stay in front of his man on the perimeter.

Milwaukee would also be open to trading Nwora as part of any deal (I presume), as his $2.8 million salary could be a decent matching piece to bring in a better, higher-paid player. Budenholzer and the Bucks are hopeful one of those scenarios comes to fruition for the long-term health of their team.

Although Beauchamp has had some good moments early in his rookie season, the fact is he hasn’t been consistently good enough to earn regular minutes. Couple that with the return of Pat Connaughton and Khris Middleton at the position Beauchamp plays and it will be very difficult for him to get playing time as the season wears on.

There will be spot starts and occasional times when the Bucks are resting their regulars where his number will be called, but I don’t expect him to be a part of the regular rotation.

What’s important to keep in mind is his long-term development. The Bucks didn’t necessarily draft him to become a contributor this April through June. He’s a part of their long-term plan and they’ll develop him on that timeline. In an ideal scenario, Beauchamp will play a key role in a post Lopez-Middleton-Holiday world. That’s the ultimate goal.

There was a question in last week’s mailbag about the starters when Middleton returns and I whiffed on that one. I won’t make the same mistake twice.

With Middleton back, the starting unit has been Holiday, Grayson Allen, Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Lopez. If everyone is healthy, the postseason starting unit shouldn’t be any different. Budenhozler chose that group because he thinks it gives his team the best chance at winning and wouldn’t change it up for the playoffs. Of course, a lot can happen between now and then (like Jevon Carter continuing to play well and overtaking Allen in the starting five).

This will be an interesting development to watch when Ingles returned. During his peak years in Utah, he was used as a secondary/tertiary playmaker and an off-ball spot-up shooter. That’s a fair expectation for his usage type in Milwaukee.

Bucks Film Room Dictionary: Sidelines Out of Bounds. dark. Next

The offense will continue to run through the Bucks’ big three, but Ingles could be the fourth option when he’s on the court. He’ll likely work on his two-man game with Antetokounmpo to see what the two can brew up. Surround those two with three shooters while spacing the floor and it could set up some fun sets. He’ll also spot up quite a bit in the corners. He made at least 46 percent on corner threes in three of the last five seasons.

I don’t expect him to be a major part of the offense and put up gaudy numbers. Think Allen usage type.