In case you didn’t notice amid all the hubbub about wardrobe choices during the NBA Draft or all the free agent speculation following it, former Terrapin Greivis Vasquez (Montrose Christian) was on the move. Again.
The much-improved Milwaukee Bucks (41 wins this past season after 15 the year before) sent a 2017 first-round pick (via the Los Angeles Clippers) and the 46th pick of the 2015 Draft (Norman Powell) to bring in Vasquez for the backcourt depth and extra floor leadership they’ve been seeking. I’m probably prejudiced when it comes to Vasquez, a 2,000-point scorer for the Terrapins and one of the most colorful and passionate players to wear a Maryland uniform in recent years. That said, getting him looks like a good move for the Bucks. I’m mystified as to why Vasquez has been passed around so often in his six-year NBA career. The former first-round pick (No. 28 overall) began his professional career with Memphis, and has since played for New Orleans, Sacramento and Toronto before moving along to the Bucks. It’s not clear why anyone would be eager to move Vasquez, who brings effort and enthusiasm to the court every time out. The one time in his career so far he got starter’s minutes – 34.4 per game with New Orleans in 2012-13 – he averaged 13.9 points and 9.0 assists per game. Despite that kind of output (only three players in the league averaged nine assists per game last season), Vasquez has been limited to a bench role in the seasons since. He still boasts career averages of 9.2 points and 4.9 assists in 24.1 minutes per game. And, Vasquez has become a better 3-point shooter in the last two seasons, which appears to be a skill teams will value more and more because of where the game is headed, thanks to Golden State’s surprising success this past season. Nearly half of the former Terp’s shots the last two seasons have come from behind the arc (590 of 1233) and he’s shot .389 and .379 from beyond the arc the last two seasons. In an interview with Milwaukee reporters last week, Vasquez said he was looking forward to playing for Bucks coach Jason Kidd, a standout point guard himself in the NBA. “I played against him when he was an active player; I played against him when he was a coach for Brooklyn and now I’ve got the privilege to play under him,” Vasquez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also sounded excited about joining the Bucks’ young core of players – a group that includes point guard Michael Carter-Williams, athletic wings Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker and the recently acquired Greg Monroe (Georgetown) to provide low-post scoring. At 28, Vasquez is the oldest player on the current Milwaukee roster. “I like our team,” he said. “It’s a young roster, very promising. Great balance. We’ve got some vets and some young guys who can jump out of the gym and do some crazy things I’ve never seen in my life.” Carter-Williams (15.0 points, 7.4 assists last season) will probably be the starter at the point, But Vasquez said he would be willing to come off the bench, if needed. “I’m excited whatever my role is going to be,” he said. “Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it. Winning to me is the most important thing.” Winning, and finding a place in the NBA he can call home. “I really don’t want to be moving around no more,” he told the Journal Sentinel.If they brought me here and they gave up what they gave up, it’s reciprocal. We’re looking at a long-term relationship. Plus, this roster is very, very attractive. What leave when we can do great things over here?”
In other news, the University of Maryland’s athletic department announced on Sunday that point guard Melo Trimble (Bishop O’Connell) had been chosen for the 12-man U.S. basketball team that will compete in the Pan American Games July 21-25 in Toronto, Canada. Trimble, who averaged 16 points per game as a freshman last season, becomes the third Maryland basketball player to compete in the Pan American Games, joining James Gist (2007) and Walt Williams (1991). The U.S. team, which will be coached by Gonzaga’s Mark Few, has been placed in Group A and will match up against Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Brazil in pool play. The top two teams from each group in pool play (Group B is Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Argentina, move on to the medal round.