Skiles: "We'll take the best player available."

This is a follow-up to Frank’s post about Friday’s workouts.

For the media access I must thank the good people at 540 ESPN.

The media weren’t able to witness the drills or dunks, but behind closed gym doors in the Cousins Center, the Bucks’ brass had the opportunity to evaluate and take notes on some of the draft’s top prospects, namely small forward candidates Anthony Randolph, Joe Alexander, and Donte Greene.

That trio hoped to catch the eyes of another threesome, the Bucks’ new power triumvirate composed of Herb Kohl, John Hammond, and Scott Skiles. Each of them were in attendance at the training facility on the south side of Milwaukee. The owner’s presence, along with the general manager and coaching staff, suggested a certain enormity to the first set of pre-draft workouts for a team in a critical early stage of recovery and reconstruction.

At least as enormous was Randolph, the 6'10" forward from LSU who towered over the group of reporters following the workout. The 18 year-old brimmed with confidence, saying that while everyone did a great job in the workouts, he was the best player on the court.

The Bucks weren’t keen on using Charlie Villanueva, Yi Jianlian, and Andrew Bogut together on the court last season. Randolph, who averaged 2.3 blocks and 1.1 steals, could prompt the Bucks to try a supersized frontcourt thanks to his defensive potential, an idea suggested by the highly touted forward.

"I think it’s a great organization," said Randolph. "I think I’d be a great fit here. Me, Yi, and Bogut on the floor at the same time. I mean, that’s a big lineup. Everybody is 6'11 and plus."

To that end, I asked Randolph if he envisioned himself playing small forward in the NBA.

"I’ll play whatever position. Put me at the two through five, it doesn’t matter. I’m ready," he said.

Joe Alexander, who was born in Taiwan, showed his off-the-court versatility by saying "Welcome to Milwaukee" in Mandarin Chinese, a language Yi Jianlian is also fluent in.

Alexander also drew parallels to the rugged style of play he experienced under Bob Huggins in his last season at West Virginia and Scott Skiles’ defensive-minded approach.

"I love the style of play that’s about to be played here," Alexander said. "It’s very similar to what I had at West Virginia. A physical style, playing really hard, bodying people up, and locking down on defense."

Donte Greene, all smiles following the workout, has already received free NBA advice from Carmelo Anthony, whom he says is like a big brother. The two small forwards went to the same high school and college, and Greene also played on Anthony's AAU team.

Standing 6'9", Greene averaged 17.7 points and shot 34.5 % on three-pointers during his only season at Syracuse. He said that in Milwaukee he would help spread the floor for players such as Michael Redd, Bogut, Yi, and Villanueva. He also playfully added he has a leg up on the Nugget star in one area.

"I think I'm a better shooter than Carmelo," Greene said.

How did coach Scott Skiles react to three tempting, lottery-projected small forwards showing their skills and professing how well they would fit with the Bucks? He wants the top player, no matter what position.

"We’ll bring in guys that we think we like there, regardless of position," Skiles said. "I truly believe you take the best player available. And even if you have someone on your team that plays that position you worry about that later."

What then about the small forward situation? Skiles coached Shawn Marion and Luol Deng in each of their first seasons, so I asked if any of the players in the workout were on the same level as Marion and Deng were as rookies. Skiles said no, and explained that it would be unfair to compare the players not yet drafted to the accomplished NBA small forwards he coached in Phoenix and Chicago.

Of course, new general manager John Hammond, who said he is comfortable holding the eighth overall pick, will have a supremely important say regarding who the Bucks choose. Hammond had praise for the top prospects at the workout.

"If a player in this group was available at eight, we'd be pleased," Hammond said.

The new general manager also echoed Skiles' draft philosophy regarding the eighth overall pick.

"We'll probably say best player on the board," Hammond said.

Additional workouts will be held Thursday and Friday to help determine who exactly the best player available will be.

Update: Check out SportsBubbler for full interview video coverage here.

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