Part Two: What Does "Best Player Available" Really Mean To The Milwaukee Bucks?

The Bucks should take the best player available at pick #10. We can all agree with that, right? In reality, how could you not agree. What Bucks fan would want anything less than the best player available for the tenth pick? Nobody, that's who. But does anyone actually want to have a discussion about what the heck "best player available" actually means? We all recite this notion of "best player available" as a true draft strategy and nod our heads in agreement, because it's hard to disagree with something so simple and straightforward. The important question conveniently sidestepped by the basic "best player available" credo is the question of true player value within the context of an actual NBA team. Part One examined the Bucks roster, and now Part Two examines the available draft prospects. Enjoy!

Part One of this series explored the strengths and weaknesses of the Bucks roster, and laid out my argument for why I think the Bucks should be pursuing a player that mitigates their offensive deficiencies rather than draft a player that may slightly improve their team strengths in rebounding and defense. This Part Two focuses on which prospects actually seem like the best fits for the Bucks.

Just to make sure we are all on the same page, here is the relevant portion of my primer for draft analysis as stated in Part One:

I still see the general logic to the best available player approach, which typically manifests in a tiered draft chart to ensure need is not unnecessarily prioritized at the expense of potential, but there are limits to how far the tier approach can go in the modern NBA...To me, it feels more useful to think of player roles as a set of on court assignments rather than a positional label like PG or PF. This way you get a more realistic feel for what a player can provide relative to their skills and build, rather than trying to impose traditional positional labels that inject an unnecessary set of biases and assumptions into the equation...The lines have been blurred so much that the tiers approach can only segment players into rough groupings rather than precise tranches. This is where my idea of finding a niche for a prospect to maximize their talent and skills comes into play.

When it comes to opportunity, I see three types that generally exist for first round prospects: ...(2) for picks 10-20, the opportunity is often poorly defined and prone to fluctuation, because you are dealing with a team in NBA Hell (a state of perpetual late lottery picks or low playoff seed) that is adding a mediocre talent to a team already filled with average players and is likely trying to win enough games to squeak into the playoffs and avoid the lottery...This is a generalization to be sure, but I think we can all agree the current iteration of the Bucks belongs in that nebulous second group for the sake of this discussion. The opportunity for any player they add in the draft will be almost completely up in the air, and the best chance for such a player to make an immediate and meaningful impact will be highly dependent on how the player's skills fill team deficiencies and how the player's weaknesses are mitigated by team strengths.

I have parsed the phrase "best available player" into two separate segments to effectively answer the question at hand: (1) to me, the "best player" portion implicates the team environment the prospect will enter into upon being drafted, so I broke down the strengths and weaknesses of the current Bucks roster in Part One, and (2) the "available" portion refers to the prospects likely still on the board when the Bucks pick at #10, so I will now review the projected NBA skills of these prospects with the help of Draft Express in Part Two.

(2) The "Available" Element: Who Will Likely Be Available at Pick #10 For The Bucks?

If you have made it this far, I am sure a thought has crossed your mind that goes a little something like this: "Is he seriously going to argue that the Bucks should draft Jimmer or a soft Euro big man? Really? He couldn't possibly be heading there...could he? Won't Brew Hoop's Mitchell Maurer send him an angry, all caps e-mail listing the reasons they can never work together again? Won't Power(less) Forward and other Brew Hoop followers threaten to never read his articles again? This is surreal..." Just to end the suspense now, yes, I am perfectly comfortable with the Bucks taking Jimmer or a perimeter-oriented Euro big man at #10. I have grouped the prospects potentially available at pick #10 into three groups: seemingly bad fits, seemingly good fits, and wild cards.

The word "seemingly" is employed for two reasons: (1) I have not seen all of these players play in a meaningful basketball game, and (2) just like everyone else, I have never seen any of these players play a single minute of NBA basketball...so it's impossible to make definitive pronouncements about any of these players. I have also limited the list of prospects to players assumed to be taken somewhere in the #7-14 pick range, including: Alec Burks, Tristan Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmer Fredette, Bismack Biyombo, Jordan Hamilton, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Jan Vesely, Jonas Valanciunas, and Donatas Motiejunas. I have included my own thoughts along with bullet points summarizing important things I noticed in the Draft Express scouting reports, but I urge you to follow the links for a more complete and detailed look at each player by following the links to Draft Express coverage of each player. Euro players get direct quotes from Draft Express, because I have seen a few of them play a game or two, but I wouldn't even know where to begin for a useful scouting report and I can't pretend I contributed at all to filtering the content (but again, I encourage you to follow the links for the full breakdown by Draft Express). 

Seemingly Bad Fits:

a. Kawhi Leonard - This long and athletic prospect offers two NBA-ready skills: rebounding and perimeter defense. The Bucks do not have a particular need for either of these skills, especially from a swingman. Might Leonard offer a slight upgrade over Salmons or Delfino for rebounding and perimeter defense? Perhaps, but he would almost certainly downgrade the position with his lack of readiness to contribute to an NBA offense. Here is a summary of some relevant bullet points from his Draft Express scouting reports:

  • Leonard lacks a go-to offensive skill.According to Synergy Sports Technology, no single offensive situation accounted for more than 17% of his touches, with Spot-Ups, Isolations, Put Backs, Fast Breaks, Cuts, and Pick and Roll situations each accounting for anywhere between 8-18% of his total possessions. He has slightly below-average efficiency in all of these areas.
  • His most notable weakness is his lack of jump shooting ability.He struggled with his shooting, connecting on just 32% of his catch and shoot jumpers and 28% of his pull-ups last season. As with all players noted for their hand size, there are questions about Leonard's ability to develop a reliable jump shot.
  • High effort player. Leonard does not look a power forward, but his exceptional wingspan (rumored to be around 7-2) and giant hands certainly allow him to rebound like one. If nothing else, Leonard's rebounding is a clear-cut NBA caliber tool.
  • In terms of his fit defensively, Leonard is essentially a plug and play option. His length, versatility and intensity are ideal, and with additional strength and experience he could be a terrific team defender. The team drafting Leonard would optimally let him defend comparable sized and athletic forwards, since matching him up against stretch fours and pure shooters would take away from his ferocious rebounding.

b. Marcus Morris - I really want to like Carmelo Antho...er, I mean Marcus Morris, more than I do right now, but I can't quite convince myself he can be the next Carl Landry, let alone the next Carmelo Anthony. Does anybody really want an undersized guy with PF skills who measures out under 6'9'' and has a short wingspan? Even Bucks director of player personnel Billy McKinney referred to Marcus as a "hybrid forward" after his workout with the team. He has a nice post package at the college level, but guys like him (Carl Landry) have trouble playing the post-up SF/undersized PF game consistently in the NBA, and the efficiency in that area experiences a dropoff. The thing that may set Marcus apart and make him a better player than his brother is his ability to step away from the hoop and hit midrange jumpers in pick and roll situations, but the Bucks already have Ersan IlyasovaDrew Gooden, and Larry Sanders to take those types of shots and it is unlikely Morris would represent a serious upgrade in that area. If Marcus can split time at SF, he still doesn't have 3-point range or isolation scoring ability, so it's not clear he would offer an upgrade over any of the Bucks swingmen in the next few years. Here are some observations summarized from Draft Express scouting reports:

  • Marcus has been extremely efficient at the college level. He mixed his usage equally between jumpers, finishes at the rim, and post ups, and ranked near the top in efficiency among all college players in those areas according to Synergy Sports.
  • He has shown a capability to face up opponents as well as back them down and turn to either shoulder for a finish, displaying good footwork, body control, and touch. He can work comfortably, confidently, and effectively from the low post, mid-post, and the perimeter. He will inevitably need to make some adjustments to overcome his lack of size and strength to score over bigger power forwards in the NBA, but the tools are there for him to find some level of success.
  • The biggest question-marks regarding Morris's NBA potential are based on his ability to compete on the glass at the NBA level and effectively mix it up with the bigger, stronger, and more athletic matchups he'd be facing on a nightly basis defensively. Pulling down just 6.6 defensive rebounds per-40 (a career high), Morris provides just an average presence on the glass, lacking the size, length and explosiveness to go out of his area regularly for extra possessions.

c. Markieff Morris - Markieff measures out more like a true PF, at over 6'9" and with arms nearly 2.5" longer than his twin brother (Draft Express points out that Markieff's measurements are nearly identical to former Kansas big Darrell Arthur). Unfortunately, Markieff is not nearly as developed offensively as his brother, and although he has improved as a spot-up jump shooter he still lacks an NBA-ready post game. If you could combine the size of Markieff with the skill of Marcus, you'd have one hell of an NBA prospect from the Morris family. It is hard to see how Markieff offers a substantial upgrade over anyone on the Bucks roster, especially at the overloaded PF spot. I think most draft experts seem to agree that Markieff would be a reach at #10, so this is my quick summary of what Draft Express has to say about why Markieff is the inferior prospect compared to his brother:

  • It is safe to say that Morris wasn't hampered by his lack of a go-to-move on the college level, but it will be important for him to refine his post-game if he wants to see touches consistently in one-on-one situations with his back to the basket on the NBA level as he doesn't create shots for himself from the midrange.

d. Tristan Thompson - Thompson is a slightly undersized PF that is a hard-working banger of a player who may excel in the transition game at the NBA level, and interestingly he measures out similarly to Josh Smith (though not with the same elite athleticism). He would probably offer slight upgrades in offensive rebounding and defense for the Bucks with his length, athleticism, and motor, but he is a decidedly underwhelming defensive rebounder and his offensive game is nowhere near ready for show time. He is simply not ready to make positive contributions to an NBA offense in half-court sets, as Draft Express explains:

  • His overall inefficiency is curious for a post player with a 54.6% FG and a reputation for playing with energy, but the problem stems from his lack of developed offensive basketball skills. He has been able to mask issues with his footwork, instincts, and lack of true post moves by out-hustling and overpowering college opponents, but the jump to taking on NBA defenders with similar physical traits will likely expose the flaws in his game to a greater degree.
  • He is not great off the dribble either. Most of his moves dissolve into an array of contested fall-away shots and jump hooks, low percentage shots that he does not appear to have the touch to consistently knock down. He resorts to this offense against bigger and more athletic post players, in particular, which suggests he may similarly struggle if he cannot further develop his post game at the next level.
  • He is a very unreliable shooter and failed to earn many chances to take jump shots within the Longhorn's offense. Most slightly undersized power forwards in the NBA are reliable spot-up shooters, but at this point, Thompson is miserable at best. He attempted only a handful of shots at Texas and the results were mixed, marked by inconsistent shooting mechanics that must be completely overhauled at the next level.

Seemingly Good Fits:

a. Alec Burks - He is the odds-on favorite of Bucks fans, and with good reason. Burks is a young, long, and athletic combo guard who had an opportunity to develop and refine his offensive skills as the undisputed star of his college team. There is a legitimate flaw in his game right now, which is his long-range shooting (he shot 29% from college 3-point range last season), but he has shot the ball well in workouts and likely still has potential to develop in that area.

The mitigating factor that makes him such a good fit for the Bucks is that he has a well-developed isolation skillset he can use to create open shots for himself and teammates. The man scores efficiently enough to offer an immediate upgrade to the Bucks and provide his talents at a position of need (as a true SG prospect). Burks' ability to operate in wing-isolation sets and to create opportunities with the ball in his hands in pick and roll situations would take some pressure off of miscast creators like John Salmons and Carlos Delfino, allowing both vets to play more off the ball to slash or spot-up shoot in the corners. If the Bucks are not going to use Corey Maggette, then Burks offers a clear and immediate upgrade on the offensive end of the floor. Here is a snapshot of what Draft Express had to say

  • Burks is a shot creator, a skill that is highly coveted at the professional level. Over two-thirds of his offense is generated by himself, be it in isolation situations, in transition or in pick-and-roll opportunities. He ranksnear the top among draft prospects in free throw attempts, and he converts those free throw attempts at a high percentage as well.
  • He is capable of breaking down defenders with either hand, creating driving lanes with his good handles quick first step, and deceptive second gear. He shows off his excellent speed in the open floor and combines that with body control and ball-handling skills to separate from opponents and get to the rim.
  • Despite being a big-time scorer with a college offense dependent on his ability to create open looks, Burks is also a team player who is both willing and capable of making the extra pass. He was often asked to create and finish shots for his team (particularly late in the shot clock), but he is also a nice weapon in a half-court offense thanks to his solid court vision and good basketball IQ.
  • Furthermore, he has enough of a handle to log minutes at the PG position. When Colorado's starting point guard went to the bench, Burks manned the position and handled the role well.

b. Jimmer Fredette - The Bucks PGs are probably the worst offensive positional group on the team, so I'm not sure why people automatically dismiss the thought of adding a skilled shooter like Jimmer. I understand if people are afraid he might not be the best value at pick #10, but it's not clear that he wouldn't be a good value at #10. He would offer an immediate and substantial upgrade on offense at PG for the Bucks, and both his measurements and his skills compare favorably to Steph Curry. He can probably shoot better than the combined shooting skill of Jennings and Dooling. He has legitimate NBA 3-point range, a strong mid-range game, a strong ability to shoot off the dribble (going in either direction and off of either foot), he is comfortable creating his own shot against taller and more athletic defenders, he is comfortable creating his own shot against traps and double teams, he understands floor spacing and when to give the ball up to open teammates when the defense over-commits to him, and he knows how to get open. These are all relevant and game-ready NBA skills.

Furthermore, there is little doubt that Jimmer can effectively and efficiently run NBA-caliber pick and roll in half court sets, which is an invaluable skill at the PG position. I feel he could step in from day one and provide value as a 6th man type scoring guard for a team in desperate need for outside shooting and efficient pick and roll execution. In short, I cannot think of a good reason why Jimmer Fredette would not provide the same things that Luke Ridnourdid for the Bucks during his two seasons with the Bucks (if still not quite the level of efficiency Ridnour displayed in the 2009-10 season), when given the same opportunity to compliment Jennings and create with the ball in his hands over short spurts of play. I have heard the concern that Jimmer will not be able to play defense in the NBA, but I am not ready to completely bury the guy before he steps foot on an NBA court. Especially considering the following factors: (1) PGs usually don't have a positive impact on defense in the NBA, because the rules are stacked against them, (2) Jimmer would initially be matching up against backups as a 6th man, and could take the worst offensive guard on the court if necessary, and (3) the tape on him playing defense in college might be misleading, as he was often asked to play the full 40-minutes while creating every single bit of offense for BYU against double and triple teams, so the fact that he may have been strategically conserving his energy for offense cannot be completely discounted.

He may never develop into an all-star level starter, but I also don't think he can possibly be a complete bust. He simply has too many NBA-ready offensive skills to fail completely, and that is why he would be a great fit for the Bucks if Burks is off the board. He couldn't play for Skiles you say? Well a rather meh defender named Luke Ridnour played big minutes for Skiles in his two seasons with the team, and it's not unreasonable to think Fredette would not provide the same things that Ridnour did for the Bucks during his time with the team. For anyone left unimpressed by the Ridnour comparison, how much different is Fredette in size, skill set, and noted deficiencies when compared to former Skiles-system scorer and closer Ben Gordon? Just things to toss around your head to fight off the temptation to scream at the computer screen and shoot me an angry comment. Here is what Draft Express has to say about his offensive game:

  • Fredette creates a huge chunk of his offense (68% according to Synergy Sports Technology) on his own, be it in isolation situations, in transition or in pick-and-roll sets-in that order. He's an excellent ball handler who is capable of dribbling with either hand and is very adept at splitting screens. And he's as shifty as they come, given his ability to play at different speeds.
  • He shows excellent quickness, outstanding footwork and incredible creativity with the ball in his hands. He creates space to operate about as well as any guard in college basketball not named Kemba Walker, and he is a more complete scorer than Walker in terms of his offensive polish.
  • Fredette has exceptional range, and unlike most shooters he is just as effective making off-the-dribble jumpers as he is with his feet set. He's capable of pulling up on a dime from unbelievable distances with his lightning quick release.
  • The good thing is that Fredette does not look like the type of player who will have a problem coming off the bench. He's a team player who is "hot" as soon as he steps on the floor. It's not difficult to see him coming in and changing the complexion of a game with his shooting range and his prowess in late-game situations and from the free throw line. He'd be a terrific option to have on your team in the clutch.

c. Jordan Hamilton -  The simple reason he is on this list: he can flat out shoot. Hamilton is a swingman with measurements comparable to Joe Johnson who thrives as a spot-up shooter, but struggles to be effective when trying to create off the dribble and has a tendency to take difficult pull-up shots and runners rather than getting to the rim and drawing fouls. He has developed a post package that might be good enough to create favorable mismatches in the NBA, but nothing in this respect can be counted on from day one. His real value will come in the form of long-range shooting in spot-up situations and coming off screens, where he would stretch the floor and become a mild upgrade over Carlos Delfino and a nice upgrade over John Salmons in the shooting department. Here is my summary of the Draft Express angle:

  • Hamilton has NBA-plus range on his jumper. He is very effective when his feet are set, and he uses a quick release and a compact shooting motion to comfortably and accurately release his shot despite all the defensive attention he receives. He attempted over six 3-pointers a game but made almost 39% of his attempts, despite the fact that opposing defenses are almost always geared toward stopping him.
  • He is nowhere near as effective shooting off the dribble, struggling to apply his rigid and unorthodox shooting mechanics to the dynamic setting of pull-up jumpers, and converting just 28% of such attempts.
  • Hamilton has been absolutely terrific moving off the ball and utilizing these short curls for quick catch and shoot jumpers from the elbows, and has been even better sealing his man off on the block (a staple of the flex) and going to work. He has the ability to overpower defenders in the paint with his strong body, but also has the skill-level and finesse moves to utilize nifty footwork and finish in all kinds of creative ways around the paint, especially with his jump-hook. As a 6-7 shooting guard, this could give his NBA team another weapon to exploit mismatch opportunities, in addition to his perimeter shooting.

d. Donatas Motiejunas - He is one of most efficient big men in all of Euro ball, and he is probably the most advanced and skilled offensive big man in the entire draft. He would likely be classified by some as another "soft Euro big man," because he isn't known as a good defender or rebounder, but if he can bring instant efficiency to the PF/C positional group he would be an asset to a Bucks team that has more than enough defenders and rebounders to mask his deficiencies. He might be a younger and cheaper Bargnani-type player, but I think that type of player would fit very well on a Bucks team starved for highly skilled offensive players at the PF/C spot. If there is any team that could benefit the most from the skills of a prototypical "soft Euro big man," I think it is the Milwaukee Bucks, so I would welcome a cheap, young player like Motiejunas with open arms. Draft Express says:

He's still the same incredibly skilled big man we've always known, with his terrific hands, touch and footwork, but now he's added a degree of physicality that compliments his finesse game quite well.

He looks about as comfortable and natural as a big man can with his back to the basket, but is also fast enough in the open court that he'll get himself at least one or two easy baskets a game just by beating his man down the floor.

Another area where Motiejunas' has made notable strides is perimeter shooting. Whereas last season he converted just 21 of 58, or 36% of his overall jump-shot attempts, according to Synergy Sports Technology, this year he's doing much better, knocking down 6/13 of his 3-point attempts in seven Italian league games thus far. He's being utilized much more frequently in pick and pop situations, and is showing absolutely no hesitation whatsoever when left open on the perimeter, showing a quick release and excellent range.
Facing the basket, he still has the ability to put the ball down and beat opposing big men with a quick first step and nifty handles, even being able to change directions with the ball and execute sharp pivot moves, which you rarely see from a player this size. At times you'll see him grab a rebound and ignite the fast break himself, racing up the floor with the ball with the utmost confidence in his ball-handling ability.

Motiejunas unfortunately still struggles with the two very important areas that were pinpointed early on in his career as being major weaknesses: defense and rebounding. His defensive rebounding numbers have actually gotten worse this season, now down to a paltry 3.2 per-40 minutes, which ranks him dead last in the entire Italian league amongst both power forwards and centers.

Wildcards:

a. Jan Vesely - He is not a good passer, he is not a good dribbler, he is not a good creator, he is not a good rebounder, and he is not a good shooter. However, he is one of Europe's most aggressive slashers who is always looking to use his leaping ability to throw down a dunk on the competition. As an explosive athlete with raw talent he draws comparisons to Joe Alexander, meaning his current value is rooted more in physical traits (athleticism, youth, height, etc.) than it is in any actual basketball skills. I repeat: he doesn't have a lot of actual basketball skills to offer at this point in his career, which makes him as exciting as it does terrifying from a prospect standpoint. He has drawn attention for being a completely different breed of European big man, but as an American fan where our college system turns out underdeveloped basketball players with athletic dunking ability on a seemingly yearly basis, I am not sure if the novelty of his approach overseas has earned him more attention than he actually merits.

Furthermore, it is hard to see how a raw player like Vesely upgrades the Bucks roster in the near term, as he really won't have much to offer in the half court and would be a clear downgrade on the offensive end (and probably the defensive end too) from a guy like Ilyasova. He's a long-term project that might never reach his potential in a half-court system the Bucks have tended to run under Skiles. Draft Express takes it from here:

From a physical standpoint, Vesely remains the same extremely intriguing athletic specimen. He has terrific size and length for a small forward at 6-11 and couples that with incredible explosiveness. He looks a lot more confident in trying to utilize his athleticism as of late, as he's been responsible for a number of unbelievable dunks this season. He's gaining a reputation for being somewhat of a Blake Griffin-type spectacle at this level, doing things that people just aren't accustomed to seeing in European basketball.
Vesely continues to struggle in many of the same areas we outlined in previous reports, and it's still difficult to say that he's an overly skilled player.

His ball-handling skills remain mediocre at best. Watching him handle the ball in the open floor is definitely not a pretty sight. He's able to beat his defender off the dribble at times with his first step, but it's still something of an adventure for him trying to create his own shot from the perimeter-you just never know how things are going to turn out. He's not someone you want making decisions with the ball. His feel for the game is just average and it's not rare to see him make bad decisions, particularly in the form of unnecessary turnovers.

Even with his prodigious athleticism, Vesely still isn't much of a presence on the glass. He grabs just one defensive rebound for every 10 ½ minutes he's on the court, which is a very poor rate. It's here that his lack of girth and poor instincts seem to show the most. He's too skinny to put a body on opponents, and he doesn't pursue the ball off the rim the way you might hope.    

b. Bismack Biyombo - If he is truly 18 years old, his outstanding performance at the Nike Hoop Summit is worth the hype. If he is closer to 20 or 23 years old, the performance becomes much less impressive and can hardly serve as the basis for any reasonable excitement about his NBA prospects. Will we ever know how old he actually is? Does anyone know how old Yi actually is? Aren't you supposed to avoid ending a sentence with is? No, no, and yes. Call me a Biyombo Birther, because it's not even about seeing the birth certificate anymore. If you are on the wrong side of that bet as an NBA team, Chad Ford chose to invoke the name Joel Anthony (an undrafted rookie free agent) as a basis for comparison. Anyways, Biyombo stands at roughly 6'9" in shoes and is known as a great athlete with an undeniably freakish wingspan. He is another player with underdeveloped basketball skills, but intriguing physical traits (notice a theme in my wildcard prospects?).

Biyombo has limited offensive skills, meaning he would not be able to contribute much in the half-court, but he can likely be counted on to crash the boards, make sharp cuts to get easy baskets, and work well in transition. I'm not sure if this would be a long-term upgrade over a player like LRMAM or even Ilyasova, because Biyombo's flaws are much more understandable if he is 18 than they are if he is actually 20 or 23 years old. If the Bucks needed defense and rebounding from bigs, I would be more excited, but this is already a position of strength for the Bucks and Biyombo is raw enough to be a liability in half court offense. I would hate for the Bucks to take a gamble based on a birthday, especially with so many players that could offer immediate help to the offense still on the board, but the hype machine has made this guy a hot commodity as the draft approaches. Am I at all concerned by the dismal shooting performance he put on in drills at Euro Camp workouts ("turnaround jumpers in the key (0/5), elbow jumpers alternating sides (2/10), free throws (23/41) - you name it, he missed it")? Not really, because everyone knows his game isn't suited for workouts and skill drills, it is a hustle-game that shines through in competitive five-on-five games...which Biyombo curiously declined to participate in at Euro Camp. Ah well.

 Draft Express time:

Biyombo doesn't have a highly developed post game. He doesn't show the ability to back his man down and create effectively in one-on-one opportunities, but will mix in an occasional spin move and some basic footwork that could make him even more of a threat as he continues to add lower body strength and improves his overall polish.

The one thing that continues to dog Biyombo are the question marks NBA teams have about his age. Recently converted NBA draft analyst David Aldridge wrote that an NBA GM he spoke with said he had heard rumors that Biyombo was "anywhere from 23 to 26."

Our research has revealed some slightly different information. Coaches who have worked with Biyombo earlier in his career while he was still in Congo think he's "no older than 20 at most," while Biyombo's agent, Igor Crespo, has evidence that proves Biyombo is even younger.

Due to his offensive limitations, Biyombo doesn't fit on just any NBA team-he's not someone who can be expected to generate his own offense, and probably needs another skilled big man next to him, as well as a creative point guard. The skills he does have are highly coveted, though, and any team looking to upgrade its defensive and rebounding presence will surely give him a look.

c. Jonas Valanciunas - He is a young, tall, and stringy European big man who thrives in pick and roll and also does a good job on the offensive glass. He is too young and too thin to have much of a post game at this point, but he has apparently displayed soft hands and good touch around the basket in Euroleague games. Valanciunas is so young that there is very little tape on him, so the issue of whether his skills will translate to the NBA (which is always a dicey issue with Euro prospects) is murky at best. He probably won't be able to contribute at all in his rookie season, because his body and his skills are just too undeveloped at this point. I don't think the Bucks would take him if Burks is still on the board, but if Burks and the other Euro guys are gone I am sure they will have a difficult time passing on this guy despite the fact he won't be able to contribute right away. Draft Express gives the lowdown:

As attractive a skill as his offensive rebounding might be, Valanciunas' most important source of scoring comes from his ability to finish plays created for him by teammates around the basket. He takes special pride in his ability to operate as a pick-and-roll finisher -- "That's my basketball," he said. This is a skill that should translate to the NBA immediately.

The rest of Valanciunas' game needs refinement, particularly his ball-handling and passing abilities. He turns the ball over at a pretty high rate and definitely has a ways to go in terms of improving his basketball IQ and overall experience level.

Inside the paint, Valanciunas is a frequent target for opposing teams to post up due to his narrow frame and lack of experience, especially in the Euroleague, where almost every team has a bulky old school back-to-the-basket pivot who can simply overpower Valanciunas in one-on-one situations.

That's a big reason why Valanciunas has had consistent foul problems over the course of the year -- another reason that his playing time has been limited. In the Euroleague, for example, he commits approximately one foul for every 4 minutes he's on the court.

Despite the negatives described here, Valanciunas is undoubtedly an outstanding prospect, especially when we consider that he doesn't turn 19 until May. Players with his combination of size, length, mobility, toughness and budding skills are extremely difficult to come by.

Conclusions: This is what "best player available" means to me as a Milwaukee Bucks fan, but I also want to hear what you have to say. When discussing the NBA futures of players that have never played a single minute of NBA basketball, the topic is completely open for rigorous discussion and debate. The draft is a magical time where concepts like "potential" and "upside" can overcome a player's complete lack of actual basketball skills, so everyone is entitled to jump into the debate and stake their claim to a prospect or two as far as I am concerned. However, I hope this piece gives you some pause when using a broad term like "best player available" as a draft credo, and I hope it helps us all to add some nuance and detail to our discussions about player potential and how these prospects might fit in an actual team environment. All this being said, I think we can all agree the Bucks should take the best player available, right?

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