Milwaukee Bucks Draft Preview – 2011
With the NBA Finals complete and the draft just eight short days away, it is as good a time as ever to take some spare moments that aren’t reserved by the Brewers and look at what the Milwaukee Bucks could be thinking.
As of right now, Milwaukee has the #10 pick in the first round and pick #40 in the second set. During General Manager John Hammond’s tenure in Milwaukee, the team has not made any draft-day trades. Two trades impacted last year’s draft: they swapped into a better first-round pick from Chicago as part of the John Salmons trade, and they received Corey Maggette and a second round pick as part of another trade. The Maggette trade was made days before the draft, so while we are only a few days out, there is a precedent for Hammond to make some sort of deal.
There is generally more focus placed on the drafts of the NBA and the NFL because there are numerous instances of rookies stepping into their team and having meaningful impacts that year. Unlike the NFL and it’s dozens of player positions, the NBA has 5 core spots on the court that make it easier to draft based on need. When an NBA team is making its pick, it can look at its predetermined player rankings and generally find a player that will fit a vital role without having to sacrifice talent. Naturally, there are times when the “best player available” approach must be taken, but outside of the top-3, there is rarely a consensus BPA.
With that in mind, it is fair to assume that given the numerous outcomes that could happen before them, the Milwaukee Bucks have separate lists based on BPA and need: “if Player X is available, we pull the trigger immediately.” Otherwise they will go with a player that fills a current need on the team. The needs for the Bucks are mostly very simple. Despite the rumbling in recent weeks of a trade involving point guard Brandon Jennings, don’t expect him to be shipped out this offseason. Head Coach Scott Skiles has held firm on the fact that he is still so young and has tons of continued development in the years ahead. The team will be hoping that center Andrew Bogut returns in full health and can elevate to near-elite status. Fans still salivate at the thought of Jennings and Bogut ever becoming a version of the legendary John Stockton/Karl Malone duo.
Ignoring any player solely at the point guard or center position, shooting guard, small, and power forward are the spots still on the table. The Bucks currently have two main players that can play either shooting guard or small forward, Salmons and Carlos Delfino. Both players generally have a smooth shooting touch and are better suited as shooting guards, so we’ll eliminate that one as a need for now.
Focusing on current Bucks that fit in either of the forward spots, there isn’t a lot of reliable offense. The prime candidates for starting spots are Corey Maggette, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden and Larry Sanders. There are plenty of assumptions into how this group could have been better had the team not suffered so many injures. Regardless, there are a number of forwards in the draft that, if available, could contribute right away offensively. If I was John Hammond, I would grab the top guy available off of this list.
|It is anyone’s guess what Thompson’s potential is for future development, but of these five, he is the most NBA ready right now. He comes from a Texas system that often produces big players who can move well. Thompson has bits of talent on both ends of the floor and the right coaching system could make a better offensive version of Mbah a Moute out of him.
|The term “hybrid forward” is being tossed around with Marcus. He doesn’t quite fit the frame of a power forward, but he claims he can play both. Putting him exclusively at small forward, he could develop into a reliable player. If he has any kind of defensive bone in his body, that becomes a bonus.
|Though we are focusing on forwards, Burks has to be brought up as he has been mentioned often as a player the Bucks could target. He was an excellent scorer in college who will need to work on his range a bit. He does move very well with the ball, which is a talent that could mesh well when on the court with Jennings. Despite some of the talent brought in last season, Milwaukee needs quick, athletic types that can speed up the tempo of the game.
|Most people describe Markieff as a bigger but lesser talented version of his twin brother Marcus. Markieff’s skill is slightly more chiseled as a power forward, though he might not fit that role in the NBA. Markieff would have his hands full in the same group as Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol.
|The Bucks already made this pick last year in Larry Sanders: a player with height who would need to bulk up a ton of weight. Unless Motiejunas is already headed down the muscle-mass route, don’t expect the Bucks to go after him. Sure, you can’t teach a player height, but the Bucks must feel a sense of urgency with an “impact now” player as opposed to a “develop for later” player.