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2012 NBA Draft Rumors: Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller, Terrence Ross, Perry Jones III And John Henson Atop Bucks' Wish List?

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Meyers Leonard is an emotional guy.
Meyers Leonard is an emotional guy.

Woelfel: Milwaukee searching for a big man
With Tyler Zeller, Fab Melo, Kyle O'Quinn and possibly Meyers Leonard working out for Bucks officials today (Update: confirmed this am), Gery Woelfel writes that the Bucks' draft priorities have a distinctly big feel. But while Leonard and Zeller have been front and center (ahem) in most of our conversations over the past week, Woelfel writes that some non-centers also appear to be in the mix for Milwaukee.

Besides Leonard and Zeller, the Bucks have apparently zeroed in on North Carolina power forward John Henson, Baylor power forward Perry Jones and Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross for their top pick.

Henson, Jones and Ross are expected to work out for the Bucks next week.

Bucks fans might be a bit disappointed to see players like Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers and Jared Sullinger missing from Woelfel's list, though I'm not sure what that means at this point. Perhaps Woelfel is only focusing on guys the Bucks have actually managed to schedule workouts with, in which case a number of additional potential lottery picks could eventually join the list. But don't forget the draft is also something of a two way street. The Bucks probably won't bend over backwards to acquire guys who aren't interested in being in Milwaukee (just guessing, but...Austin Rivers?), as they suggested last year when Jimmer Fredette refused a workout invitation.

The biggest surprise on Woelfel's list? North Carolina power forward John Henson. Not that Henson doesn't have talent--he's been regularly projected as a lottery pick for much of the season--but would the Bucks really want to add another skinny, offensively raw shot-blocker to a big man rotation that already includes Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh? It'd be one thing if Henson was head and shoulders above the other guys available, but that doesn't seem the case. More to the point: Bucks fans will probably be launching tomatoes if Henson's name is called by the Bucks on June 28, fair or otherwise.

Mock Draft Update
The latest mock updates show the Bucks skewing big:

  • (Sam Amick): Meyers Leonard
  • Jared Sullinger
  • ESPN (Chad Ford): Meyers Leonard
    I predict they're going to try to swing for the fences. They've been stuck in the late lottery for years and really only have one guy -- Brandon Jennings -- to show for it. They need another big hit -- I suspect Meyers Leonard or Perry Jones could be the guy ...

More on Meyers
I'm not really sure what to make of Leonard at this point--for better or worse. There's no doubt he's got the physical toolset to be really good, he talks a good game, and he showed last year that he could actually, you know, play basketball. But he wasn't dominant by any stretch, and the questions about his maturity, focus and experience make it hard for me to expect much of anything from him in the very short term.

And to some extent that's OK. I'd rather have a good player in years 3-8 than a guy who's decent right away but never improves, which in case you're wondering isn't meant to be a knock on Tyler Zeller. The UNC big man improved throughout his collegiate career and was one of the nation's most productive players as a senior. But that's also the question about Leonard: does he have the "it" factor which takes a guy from potential to productivity? He seems like a very nice kid with a great backstory and a good head on his shoulders, but there's work to be done and draft history is littered with nice, talented guys who never pulled it all together. Sixers interviewing candidates for Rod Thorn’s job
It's not exactly clear to me what the Sixers are doing with their front office, but supposedly they'd be interested in bringing John Hammond (among others) aboard to take over the front office reins from Rod Thorn. I assume this won't go anywhere for now given the Bucks already denied the Blazers permission to talk to Hammond, but...yeah.

The Basketball Jones: Why your team almost certainly won’t become the next OKC Thunder
Scott Carefoot throws some well-reasoned cold water on all the "we should just follow the OKC model!" talk. Second Helping
Alex looks at the Bucks' uncommon success in identifying NBA talent in the second round.

Paschketball: Live from the NBA Combine
Jim Paschke reports from last week's Chicago combine.

SB Nation: 2012-13 Central Division Free Agency Preview
Summary of where the Bucks and the rest of the Central stand heading into the summer.

SB Nation: Memphis fans debate Monta Ellis for Rudy Gay
I've never been a big Rudy Gay fan--owing a non-all-star $54 million over three years has that kind of effect--but the idea of swapping Monta Ellis for Gay is at a minimum rather intriguing, especially under the premise that the Bucks won't be able to put large amounts of cap space to use in free agency anyway.

SB Nation: Amy K. Nelson and Lang Whitaker talk Dream Team
Whether or not you've already read Lang Whitaker's Oral History of the Dream Team, be sure to check out this video from SBN Studios with a bit more from Whitaker about the team that still has us talking twenty years later.