Future Watch: D.J. Wilson Rookie Basketball Cards, Bucks – Now that Lebron James has officially headed west, the Eastern Conference is up for grabs. So far this offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks have made significant moves to build a contending team around superstar (and arguably the best player in the conference) Giannis Antetokounmpo. One player looking to make an impact for the Bucks in his second season is forward D.J. Wilson. Selected 17th overall in the 2017 draft, Wilson has been working out in Las Vegas this summer as he hopes to become an essential part of the 2018-19 Bucks roster.
Born in Northern California, Wilson attended Capital Christian High School in Sacramento. Injuries sidelined him early in his prep career, which kept him off the radar for a lot of recruiters. He would experience a tremendous growth spurt during his junior season and put forth some impressive performances in offseason basketball camps. This was enough to earn him offers from USC, Gonzaga and Northwestern. He would ultimately decide to play for the University of Michigan.
Wilson’s freshman season for the Wolverines was cut short due to knee issues. He would only play in five games and was diagnosed with valgus deformity (“knock-kneed”). Fortunately, treating this issue with neuromuscular therapy helped increase his vertical jump by eight inches over his college career.
In D.J. Wilson’s sophomore season, he played in 26 games and averaged 6.1 minutes per contest. Despite his lack of playing time, he finished second on the team in blocked shots. Wilson took a grand step forward as a junior. He played in 38 games, starting in 36 of them, while averaging 30.4 minutes, 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He scored 15.3 points per game during the 2017 Big Ten Tournament as he helped the Wolverines to the conference championship. Michigan would go on to have a nice sweet sixteen run in the NCAA Tournament that included victories over Oklahoma State and Louisville. During the offseason, Wilson declared himself eligible for the 2017 NBA draft.
Wilson received a good number of first-round assurances from teams picking towards the back half of the round. He was seen as a late bloomer who took some time to grow into his body. At the combine, he measured 6’10” with a 7’3” wingspan and a 234 pound frame. He showed an ability to score from all over the floor, especially at the rim where he was an elite finisher. He would need to grow into his frame a bit at the NBA level, but many analysts thought he could develop into a formidable modern NBA big man. On draft night, the Bucks selected D.J. Wilson 17th overall.
In his rookie season, Wilson spent most of his time bouncing between Milwaukee and their G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. He played in 22 games for the Bucks, averaging only 3.2 minutes. In 11 games for the Herd, he averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.8 blocks over 32.5 minutes. While he didn’t see many reps in the NBA, he was able to get his feet wet against solid competition at the G-League level.
Though three summer league games in Las Vegas, Wilson is averaging 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Milwaukee’s new head coach, Mike Budenholzer, will give Wilson every opportunity to play role for the Bucks as they work towards solidifying themselves as a top contender in the Eastern Conference.
Wilson has the skills and ability to develop into a solid rotation big at the NBA level. He can score efficiently at the basket and has a respectable shot from deep to spread the floor. If he can improve on his rebounding and interior defense, he’ll fit nicely with the current Bucks squad.
Milwaukee currently has a lot of front court depth. They signed Brook Lopez this offseason, and they also have John Henson and Thon Maker. If Jabari Parker ends up coming back, Wilson may get lost in the shuffle and could see more time in the G-League next season. Still, a 10 minute per night role in 2018-19 is an upgrade over the minutes Wilson saw as a rookie, and he will do everything he can to make the most out of those minutes.
Of all the first-rounders from 2017, Wilson is easily one of the most forgotten. His rookie cards are at a great value and could see an increase if he’s with the Bucks and they make a nice playoff run next spring. In speaking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week, Wilson said: “I’m always motivated, whatever I do. That fire’s always been there. I’m ready to prove what I can do and showcase by abilities.” He’s worth a spot on your watch list.
Check out some NBA Summer League highlights from D.J. Wilson on July 9th, 2018:
Future Watch: D.J. Wilson Rookie Basketball Cards, Bucks – Stats
Future Watch: D.J. Wilson Rookie Basketball Cards, Bucks – Other Resources
- NBA.com Player Profile – D.J. Wilson
- D.J. Wilson – Secondary Market Pricing
- Future Watch: 2017 NBA Draft Recap, Most NBA-Ready Players
- Future Watch: 2017 NBA Summer League Top Rookie Players
Future Watch: D.J. Wilson Rookie Basketball Cards, Bucks – Image Gallery
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