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Thursday Notes: Holiday talk, Mbah a Moute working, Hill's availability and McNeal not needed?

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  • Draft workout reactions.  I only saw a bit of Jrue Holiday this year, mainly because even when I did see UCLA he didn't typically stand out. Normally that's a major red flag, but Holiday does have some reasonable excuses.  With Darren Collison around, Holiday didn't really have a chance to show off his point guard skills, and he's also not the sort of explosive athlete who makes for a great highlight reel. Still, winning Gatorade national player of the year in high school probably wasn't an accident, and a lot of people whose opinions I respect seem to think very highly of him. Per Cherome Owens at, it doesn't sound like Dave Babcock needs convincing.

    "The great thing about Jrue is that he’s got enough size for an NBA point guard. There’s a lot of projections for him being chosen in the lottery. He’s definitely a lottery pick. He was okay today. It’s not that he wasn’t on his game. He just didn’t make shots. He’s just a natural defender. He’s physical. He’s got good lateral movements. His fundamentals and his instincts defensively are very good. Definitely the best defender out of all the point guards in the draft.
    That last sentence alone would seem to suggest the Bucks would be happy to nab Holiday when they pick 10th in the draft, but it appears his stock may be rising too quickly for it to matter. The Kings could take him as early as fourth if Ricky Rubio is gone and the Wolves, Warriors and Knicks would all likely be interested as well. Also at the workout was Marquette's very own Jerel McNeal:
    Jerel McNeal – "I think Jerel played very well today. He’s not normally a great shooter, but he did make shots. He’s such a tough guy, a great defender. Let’s be honest, he’s not going to be there at the 41st pick for us anyway and he wouldn’t make sense for us if he was. But he had a good workout. I was very impressed with him.
    Wait, read that again. Why exactly wouldn't McNeal make sense for the Bucks? They have one extremely mediocre point guard under contract that they're trying to trade (Ridnour), one good young PG they don't seem in love with and might not re-sign (Sessions), and one guy who probably doesn't even belong in the NBA (Stoudamire). At two guard they've got a star player coming off ACL surgery and Charlie Bell. Considering most second rounders are complete washouts, I'd say it's fairly irrelevant what position the guy plays--just make sure he can play. And let's not forget that taking a popular local product would probably go over nicely with fans, too. And since when does Scott Skiles not like tough guys who are great defenders?

    So now the fun part--what if anything can we read into this? Do the Bucks expect to get one of the lottery-bound PGs--Flynn, Holiday, or Curry--and thus don't want to take another smallish guard in the second round? Are they more committed to re-signing Sessions than they're letting on? Do they already have another player in mind at 41?   Given the lack of news otherwise, it's fun to speculate, isn't it?
  • Bucksketball: The Ideas Of The Uninformed.  Great post over at Bucksketball about the Bucks draft debate. My favorite part? It starts with a premise that is so true yet usually ignored:.

    Most of my friends are casual NBA fans who love college basketball to death. We’ve all been following hoops for years upon years. We’ve devoured every piece of available information about Wisconsin and Marquette and kept our eyes on competitors from all over. Despite all that two things stand out to me about us as fans (and really about all fans out there in general)

    A. We still don’t know very much.
    B. We can’t agree on much (if anything at all).
  • JS: Mbah a Moute not satisfied.  Charles Gardner gives us the scoop on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's summer break--as in, he's not taking one. Among his goals:

    Improve his mid-range jump shot, catching-and-shooting as well as off-the-dribble. Mbah a Moute is shooting until he makes 400 shots per day. "He's not just shooting that many shots, he's making 400 every day," Peterson said. "So that takes a good amount of time to do that. He's getting his form down."

    Said Mbah a Moute, "If I keep working on it, I'm trying to get to (making) 600 or 700 a day . . . mid-range and everywhere. I'm not trying to shoot threes or anything like that . . . just having the proper rotation on the ball and developing the proper technique."
    The good news for Mbah a Moute is that he doesn't have to improve at all in order to be a valuable NBA player--his defense is already that good.  But how much better can he get?  To me it mostly depends on his shooting, including the three ball he's apparently not even working on.  While doing more off the dribble would also help, becoming a respectable spot-up shooter from three would be a massive boost to his game and help space the floor as well.  You can only have so many guys on the court at once who don't shoot threes, and Bogut is obviously one while Ramon Sessions would be another if he comes back.  And with Villanueva gone in all likelihood the Bucks would lose a major perimeter scorer from the four position.
  • Ford: Hill to Bucks in Mock Draft 4.0.  Chad Ford doesn't see any of the aforemtneioned PGs falling to the Bucks at 10, but given their PF situation Jordan Hill would seem to be a pretty good consolation prize.

    The Bucks will jump for joy if this scenario happens. Hill is a top-five talent, but if the Wizards pass, he may slip here. None of the other teams are really after a power forward. Hill would be a godsend for the Bucks. They face losing both of their free agents -- Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions -- this summer due to financial constraints. That loss could leave them wide open at both the point and the 4. If Hill is gone, they'll try to find the best player among Flynn, Holiday, Jennings, Jeff Teague and Earl Clark.
    Interesting to see Jennings and Clark mentioned considering the Bucks haven't really been directly connected to either much. Ford sees Blair slipping to 16 because of his knee issues.