Now that we've recapped what everyone else thinks the Bucks will do, let's take a moment to step back, review the candidates, and let you vote for your pick. We'll have more detailed looks at all the prospects in the coming weeks, but we've put together quick summaries of the key names to whet your appetite. Based on the projections so far, we'll assume that Rose, Beasley, Mayo, Bayless, and Lopez won't be available and skip those guys altogether.
Player links take you to their DraftExpress profiles, and the stats are meant to give you some feel for what they've actually, you know, done on the court. The final number is their true shooting percentage, which provides a good feel for a player's overall scoring efficiency--it accounts for the increased value of three pointers while also rewarding players who get to the line and make their throws. For now we've included every player that's been projected by someone at the Bucks' pick, as well as a few others who will probably be in the mix as we lead up to the draft. Given the talent that will likely be available in the mid- to late-first round it might make the most sense for the Bucks to trade down, but for now we'll assume they stand pat. READ PLAYER SUMMARIES HERE.
The Current Mock Favorites:
What We Like: Gordon is a strong, explosive scorer who can both drive to the rack and shoot from NBA range. While his raw shooting percentages aren't great, he gets to the line a ton (10 fta/40 minutes), helping him post good overall shooting efficiency. His athleticism should also give him a chance to be a solid defender, though his height might be an issue.
What We Don't Like: Though he is only a kid, Gordon struggled at the end of the season following a wrist injury and the departure of Kelvin Sampson, raising questions about his mental toughness. And while he scored plenty as a frosh (20.9 ppg), he was a volume shooter who also turned the ball over a ton and showed little passing or rebounding ability. His height might limit his ability to defend SGs.
We Like: Already a grizzled veteran of the European professional ranks, Gallinari boasts excellent ball-handling and body control. He's shown maturity beyond his years as the leading scorer of a top-flight Italian team. With his handle and IQ he projects as a Turkoglu or Dunleavy-type SF. Most consider Gallinari a better prospect than Andrea Bargnani was two years ago.
We Don't Like: Watch a minute of his highlights and you can see he doesn't have the top-shelf athleticism of most lottery picks. That raises serious questions about his ability to defend NBA athletes, meaning his ceiling is likely lower than many of the guys he's competing with for lottery love.
What We Like: Randolph is a high risk/high reward type, but there was a lot to be impressed with in his only season in the SEC. His raw numbers as a freshman (15.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg) closely resemble those of Chris Bosh, another long, skinny southpaw. That said, his ball-handling and more perimeter-oriented style probably make Lamar Odom and Tayshaun Prince better comparisons than Bosh, at least early on.
What We Don't Like: He earned a reputation for poor shot selection (note his poor TS%) and turning the ball over far too much; generally he just has a ways to go in learning the game. Something of a tweener right now, he lacks the strength to play PF in the NBA and will need plenty of weight room work if he's going to ever be an NBA 4. A good rebounder in college, his strength may prevent him from translating that area of his game into the pros.
Other Guys In The Mix:
We Like: An electrifying open court player with the elite athleticism to lock up opposing guards, Westbrook has the talent and maturity to develop into a physical scoring PG who can also bring it on the defensive end.
We Don't Like: He's only had limited experience handling the point at UCLA, so drafting him in the lottery requires the leap of faith that he can make the transition to being a 1. And if you don't think he can play the point, then you don't want him in the lottery. While his open court exploits are well-documented on youtube, his effectiveness in the half court must improve, and he doesn't have a consistent three point shot.
We Like: A student of the game, Love was incredibly productive as a freshman, scoring at a very efficient rate while also showing he should be a good rebounder at the professional level. His fundamental skillset is as strong as you'll find in a big man his age. Attempting to improve his conditioning and explosiveness, he's already lost 13 pounds as he prepares for the draft.
What We Don't Like: Love's game has been described as "below the rim," which is a phrase you hate to see attached to a big man. He doesn't project to block shots at the next level and will need to do everything right to be even an average defender. His ability to get shots inside will require his guile and skills to overcome a lack of ideal height/athleticism.
We Like: Augustin was the main reason Texas improved following the departure of Kevin Durant, averaging 19.2 ppg while still tallying nearly six assists per game. He's got a terrific feel for the game.
We Don't Like: D.J.'s a better shooter than T.J. Ford was, but he's similarly small and his lack of explosiveness raises questions as to how he'll be able to defend the Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams of the world.
The Dark Horses:
We Like: Alexander is a big small forward who was a highlight machine while at West Virginia. He also has a pretty solid mid-range game, where he can get his shot against anyone thanks to his superior lift on his jumper. Having grown up overseas, he's only played organized basketball for about five years, so he's got plenty of room to grow. Still, he established himself with a terrific stretch of play down the stretch for Bob Huggins' this spring. Excellent shot-blocker for a wing-player and has a reputation as a tireless worker.
We Don't Like: He's still not the finished product, lacking three point range and the refined offensive skills to complement his natural talents. After playing mostly PF in college, Alexander could struggle with ball-handling and keeping up laterally with NBA small forwards.
We Like: Having practiced against Al Horford and Joakim Noah as a freshman, Speights had big shoes to fill in Gainesville but surprised many with his polished offensive skillset this season. It's certainly promising that he's better offensively than either Horford or Noah, and he's got the sort of body and athleticism that should make him a versatile big capable of playing the 4/5 positions.
We Don't Like: While Horford and Noah were off-the-charts in the intangible departments and above-average defenders, Speights' intensity and defense have been question marks thus far. Billy Donovan reportedly hasn't campaigned too hard for Speights to come back to Florida, in spite of the fact that an improved junior season probably makes Speights a sure-fire top five pick next year.
We Like: Not many 7-footers can do this, which is why Jordan is a likely lottery pick in spite of looking nowhere close to NBA-ready last season as a frosh. The development of guys like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard will probably make Jordan a very rich man by the end of June, as some team will be too intrigued by his freakish physical talents to pass him by.
We Don't Like: Pretty much everything else. He shoots 44% from the line, has no offensive game outside a couple feet from the rim, isn't a great defender and he'll turn 20 this summer, meaning he's a full two years older than Bynum and Howard were when they were drafted. Given how raw he still is, that leaves a lot of catching up to do if he's going to be a good NBA big man.