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2012 NBA Draft: McKinney Talks Tyler Zeller, Fab Melo, Austin Rivers

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Has Henson edged past Zeller on the Bucks' draft board?
Has Henson edged past Zeller on the Bucks' draft board?

WSSP: McKinney talks big men, workouts, trades and Austin Rivers
Billy McKinney joined WSSP's Mike Wickett and Chuck Freimund on Friday morning to talk Bucks draft, providing some interesting talking points on some of the key players believed to be in the mix for the Bucks' 12th overall pick. History suggests we should take these comments with a grain of salt of course, but presumably there's some truth to be extracted from it all (we'll let you figure out what it is). Let's start with his take on Tyler Zeller, which came off sounding almost too candid.

What he is, is a professional right now...of a lot of the players involved in the draft, he's probably as ready-made to play as any player right now because of his four years of experience at North Carolina. He's learned the game, he's been under great coaching, he's been in big-time situations in terms of games, and he really understands who he is and what his role will be with any team that drafts him.

So when you look at Tyler Zeller, the things he can do, he can make outside shoots, he's a good pick-and-pop player, he can really run the floor, he's really a good athlete in that regard, and you know what you're going to get out of him every night. Sometimes people look at him and I've heard [that] he's a "safe" pick, but he's a guy in terms of his upside I think he is pretty much who he is. I think he'll be a 10-12 year player that does a really good job of being a good role player, not necessarily a starter, but a very competent backup player at either the center or power forward position.

So is that Billy's way of throwing people off the scent, or just a sobering reminder of how unimpactful the #12 pick typically is?

McKinney was also asked about Syracuse center Fab Melo, which prompted some surprisingly flattering commentary about the 22-year-old Brazilian who worked out with Zeller and Meyers Leonard 10 days ago:

When you talk about upside there's a guy with a lot of upside. When you talk about guys like Fab Melo and Meyers Leonard, they're still pretty young to the game. Fab played soccer in Brazil, so he's got great feet which helps him defensively and one of the reasons he was so effective defensively. But he's got a lot of areas that he can grow in his game. You didn't see him score a lot at Syracuse, you saw him score on put-backs, as you watch him work out you can see him step out 10-15 feet and make shots.

But he'll get better, he's a guy that has a lot of upside because of what he can become...Not that I'm comparing him to Hakeem Oajuwon, but Hakeem was such a great defensive player even in college, but all of a sudden as he got into the pro game and started to have the time put in he started to became a great offensive player too. I'm not saying that's going to happen to Fab, but I think he has tremendous upside.

I won't claim to be an expert on Fab Melo, but my first reaction is that McKinney might be confusing Melo's upside with the fact that he's never been as good as the hype he got coming out of high school. I realize he's fairly new to the game, but he's also a 22-year-old who didn't rebound and had an embryonic offensive game in college. Maybe his defensive abilities are so fantastic that the other things don't matter as much, but don't count me among those excited by the notion of coming away with just Melo on draft night. Granted, no one seems to think Melo has a shot of going in the lottery anyway, but McKinney also noted the possibility of the Bucks trading back for the second straight season.

Among other topics, McKinney also refers to players not wanting to work out in Milwaukee as being "blown out of proportion," and mentions Austin Rivers' decision not to work out in Milwaukee as being driven by David Falk's attempts to get Rivers on a team where he can start right away.

Ford: Draft rumors
Chad Ford chimes in with some potentially new info here:

If Tyler Zeller and Meyers Leonard are both off the board when the Bucks draft at No. 12, don't be surprised if they switch gears and focus on adding a wing. Lamb, Terrence Ross and Moe Harkless are all in consideration there.

Interesting to see St. John's forward Moe Harkless mentioned--positionally he's very similar to Tobias Harris, which along with his projected range had always led me to assume he wouldn't be a priority for the Bucks. Is that changing? If it is you would expect to see him in Milwaukee either Sunday or Monday, and you would hope the same would be true of Lamb and Ross, both of whom had earlier workouts srcubbed.

Hoops World: NBA Rumors Chat With Steve Kyler
Steve Kyler weighs in on where the Bucks might be leaning:

Hearing they will look at trades for the #12… if they can not move down they’ll likely go big man… Myers Leonard and Tyler Zeller are their two primary guys — if they move down all bets are off.

Odds & Ends
Steve served up his latest mock draft meta-analysis today, while there are a couple of fresh updates to some of the main mocks:.