Markieff Morris and Alec Burks will be renewing acquaintances at the Cousins Center on Saturday.
Not every workout ahead of the June 23 draft is going to feature lottery talent, but Bucks fans could be forgiven for feeling a bit underwhelmed with just one potential lottery pick (Marcus Morris) taking part in the Bucks' first three workouts this week. Don't get me wrong, I can see the appeal of Tyler Honeycutt and Keith Benson in the late first or second round, but we're all more interested in the lottery guys for good reason.
Thankfully, Saturday should deliver the goods. The Bucks will work out three likely lottery picks among the six players at the Cousins Center, with Colorado guard Alec Burks, Texas PF Tristan Thompson, and Kansas PF Markieff Morris headlining a strong group that will also feature Purdue guard E'Twaun Moore, Texas freshman combo guard Cory Joseph, and Georgetown PG Chris Wright.
Still just 19, Burks was among the Big 12's best and most efficient scorers (20.5 ppg, 58% true shooting) as well as one of the nation's best rebounding wings as a sophomore. Though he's yet to develop a consistent jumper, Burks' silky handle, smooth athleticism, and ability to create shots for himself and others have made him an early favorite for the Bucks' pick. I definitely like him, though I'd also note that his style isn't well-suited to playing off the ball--something most rookies have to figure out or risk finding minutes scarcer than they thought. Just ask Evan Turner. Still, Scott Skiles has always liked having multiple ball-handlers on the court (hence Keyon Dooling and Luke Ridnour getting so much run at shooting guard) and Burks would immediately be the Bucks' best ball-handling wing.
Though offensively raw and a year older than most other freshmen, Thompson made an impact in Austin thanks to his excellent length and athleticism. Great on the offensive boards and mediocre on the defensive glass, Thompson's a bit difficult to peg at this point, though from the games I've seen I'm not sure he's more than a nice complementary big in the pros. Still, there's something to be said for athletic garbagemen who can defend the rim and dunk over people--we haven't seen many in Wisconsin over the years (though Larry Sanders is trying to make his case).
Then there's Morris, who should know what to expect from the Bucks since his twin brother/best friend Marcus was in Milwaukee just three days ago. The slightly bigger, slightly less skilled twin, Markieff made a name for himself last year by leading the Big 12 in rebounding (8.3 rpg in just 24.4 mpg) and scoring 13.6 ppg on terrific efficiency (64% true shooting). He doesn't have great size for the PF position (6'9.25" in shoes, 6'10.75" wingspan), but he's pegged as the better defender of the two, doesn't share Marcus' preoccupation with playing small forward, and flashed some nice touch of his own over the past two seasons (35/78 on threes). I'd be surprised if either Morris is a bust, but they're also not the most exciting guys in the world.
Currently pegged as a second rounder, the 22-year-old Moore put together an excellent college career at Purdue, showing off his versatility as a senior with 18 ppg, five rpg, and over three apg, while shooting 40% from distance. He was known as a good defender in college, so he should give Burks a solid test while also getting a golden opportunity to convince the Bucks he's worth their attention with the 40th overall pick.