A quick mock draft/big board update. Here's a look at what the experts are saying about the incoming draft class and what they're predicting for Milwaukee in their latest projections. Note that the Bucks will own the first overall pick in mock drafts until the draft lottery on May 20 determines the final order.
DraftExpress: Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas, Freshman
DX's latest mock, updated just yesterday evening, slots Wiggins in with the Bucks first overall. No real surprise, with minor concerns over the health of Joel Embiid and a few solid games for Wiggins late in the year pushing the preseason "consensus" top pick back to the head of the class. DX projects Embiid at 2 to the Philadelphia 76ers, Jabari Parker to the Magic at 3, and Julius Randle, fresh off an excellent run to the NCAA Championship game, to the Utah Jazz at 4.
There are some noteworthy predictions for the second round in DX's mock as well. With the 31st overall pick, the Bucks are projected to grab the reigning NCAA Most Outstanding Player, Shabazz Napier. Milwaukee grabs two other experienced guards with its remaining second-rounders: C.J. Wilcox, a senior shooting guard from Washington, and Russ Smith, a senior point guard from Louisville (note that team needs are not yet being taken into account by DX, so don't take this as a strong statement on the quality of Milwaukee current guard). Also worth mentioning: with the 60th and final pick in this mock, the San Antonio Spurs grab Giannis Antetokounmpo's older brother Thanasis.
Chad Ford's Big Board Version 8.0 (ESPN Insider Only)
Wiggins reclaims the top spot here as well, followed by Parker, Embiid, Dante Exum, and Randle. Key risers and fallers: Marcus Smart drops to 8th, P.J. Hairston of the NBADL jumps to 15th, and Napier lands at 26th.
Ford also ventures a guess at the Bucks' internal Big Board in his latest Tank Rank post, laying it out as Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid, in that order, for the top-3 picks. Embiid had been a popular selection for the Bucks in many of Ford's mock draft, but he says that the injury-bitten Bucks want to see Embiid cleared medically before getting back on the bandwagon. Honestly, the injuries to Larry Sanders this season, while disastrous for him, aren't the kind of ailments that are likely to have long-term ramifications. He's never had any serious knee or back issues, the major red flags for big men. Shutting him down for good after the orbital fracture likely alleviated any concern of lasting vision problems as well. In other words, I wouldn't put much stock in the idea of the Bucks actively searching for a Sanders replacement specifically because of durability concerns.
Sports Illustrated - Big Board 5.0
Chris Mannix unveils his final prospect rankings before mock draft season truly begins, and Wiggins holds down the #1 spot here as well. Embiid holds in the second spot, with Mannix stating that NBA officials aren't overly concerned over his health...yet. Parker, Randle, and Exum round out the top 5, with Smart grabbing the 6th spot on Mannix's board thanks to a strong performance in Oklahoma State's only tournament game.
SB Nation 2014 Big Board
It's Wiggins on top here as well, followed by Parker, Embiid, Randle, and Exum. As usual, the 6th pick is where things diverage. Tyler Lashbrook ranks Arizona forward Aaron Gordon in the spot thanks to his tremendous defensive ability, though his offensive limitations are concerning (I had no idea he was such a terrible free-throw shooter!). Michigan State forward Adreian Payne jumps all the way up to number 9 on Lashbrook's board. Payne was one of the most productive players in all of college basketball this season and projects as an effective stretch-4 in the NBA, but his age is seen as limiting his upside. He's also the mostly likely player to inherit Dwyane Wade's crown as the Player With The Normal-Sounding Name That Is Constantly Misspelled.
A fun but also kind of miserable thought experiment.
Amin Elhassan and David Thorpe take a mulligan on the 2007 NBA Draft and break down how it would likely go knowing everything we know now. Pretty suspect analysis, though. I mean, Kevin Durant only gets picked one spot earlier than he actually did! In the redraft, the Bucks get Carl Landry or Tiago Splitter (yikes). Yi Jianlian, the Bucks' ill-fated pick at 6th, shockingly falls out of the top-14. Let's not forget that the Bucks got totally screwed in the 2007 lottery, turning the 3rd-worst record into the 6th pick. Let's also not forget that Milwaukee selected Yi over guys like Joakim Noah, Thaddeus Young, Arron Afflalo, and Marc Gasol, whom the Lakers grabbed with the 48th pick!