It took a long time for Sean Kilpatrick to make the jump from college All-American to the NBA. After years of grinding in the D-League and playing on 10-day contracts, the former Cincinnati Bearcat finally became a permanent fixture on a professional roster when he signed a three-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016.
Fast forward to early last month and Kilpatrick was suddenly out of a job. The Nets made a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers in which they acquired Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas and a 2019 draft pick for Trevor Booker. With the addition of two players, the Nets needed to tidy up their roster and they decided to cut Kilpatrick to do so.
I suppose it was a move that made some sense for the ever rebuilding Nets. This is not a team that is going to be competing for championships, or even playoff spots, for a few more years and the 28-year-old Kilpatrick might not have been a player that would be part of their next good team. However, it’s questionable, at best, to think that Nik Stauskas was a real upgrade at shooting guard other than the fact that he is four years younger.
But we’re not here to grade the trade. We’re here to discuss how Kilpatrick did not fade into obscurity following yet another bump in the road. Instead, he just did what he’s been doing his whole career — keep working and earn a spot. Following his dismissal from Brooklyn, Kilpatrick signed a two-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. It kept him in more limbo than he might have liked, but at least he was still playing pro ball. His patience and hard work were rewarded once again this week as his contract was converted into a full-season one.
That means Kilpatrick no longer has to worry about being sent back to the D-League and he can just work on helping the Bucks fight for a playoff spot. They are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference (22-18), so its likely that before the end of this season we will be watching Kilpatrick play in the postseason for the first time in his career.
So far, he has not been utilized heavily by the Bucks, as he is playing only 8.1 minutes per game, but he has an effective field goal percentage of 59.6 in that time and, most importantly, the team is +25 with him on the floor.
Even if the Bucks don’t plan on making him a regular part of the rotation, you can expect that Kilpatrick won’t let that stop him. Nothing has yet.