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Final Draft Thoughts

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  • Let's start with the obvious: the Bucks started the day with a decided weakness at the small forward spot but ended it with an embarrassment of riches at the position. Naturally, there's plenty of second-guessing among fans about why the Bucks would draft two small forwards after acquiring an all-star at the position only hours earlier. The biggest question to me is whether Alexander can legitimately play as a PF, which the Bucks are saying he can. However, that also suggests he might be more of a tweener than originally thought.  Alexander might be on the short end of the PF spectrum, but he's strong, athletic and played the position in college. More importantly, even if he ends up being more of a small forward, it probably would have been unfair to expect Alexander to be a productive starter as a rookie. While he was the best player on a very good West Virginia team last year, Alexander is in many ways still learning the finer points of the game.  
  • Changing the culture of the Bucks has been a theme since John Hammond was hired, and the moves today certainly underscore that Scott Skiles' team will bring a different mentality than Larry Krystkowiak's sorry 07/08 squad.  While he may not be the top shelf defender he once was, Jefferson provides a major upgrade at the offensive end while also bringing a two-way mentality that Skiles should appreciate.  Alexander meanwhile could be Skiles' long-lost son, exuding an intensity and dedication that makes him a fairly safe pick. Lastly, Mbah a Moute doesn't have the sex appeal of a CDR, but he has a clear role and his success isn't dependent on being a scorer like CDR. Last year the Bucks tried to infuse some defensive intensity into the team by adding lunchpail role players such as Mike Ruffin and Royal Ivey, but they found out the hard way that your 13th guy doesn't get your team to play defense. Alexander and Mbah a Moute won't be leaders next year, but Jefferson will help set a more responsible defensive tone that the young guys will no doubt pick up on.
  • Assuming Alexander is here to stay, then it would seem obvious that Desmond Mason would be on the move this summer. On a personal side, I hate to see Mason shipped out again given the sort of guy he is, but with an expiring $5.4 million deal he'll be a key bargaining chip who can be easily combined with someone like Mo Williams or Charlie Villanueva in a bigger deal.
  • So where do the Bucks go from here?  Hammond said he spoke to Michael Redd last week about acquiring players to complement Redd, so for now it sounds like trading Redd isn't a priority.  If that's the case then the Bucks will have two 20+ ppg guys on the wings and will probably look to shop Mo Williams.  Both the Cavs (Anderson Varejao) and Heat (Udonis Haslem) could be good trade partners, as each could use a scoring point and can offer defensive power forwards to help fill the gap now faced by the Bucks at the 4. Especially with O.J. Mayo joining the backcourt mix in Memphis, Hammond could then try to use Charlie Villanueva to acquire Memphis' Kyle Lowry, a more defensive, game-managing point who would seem to complement Sessions.  Either way, the Bucks have plenty of time to shuffle their roster before camp breaks in October.