After months of guessing where the Bucks might end up on draft night, now we know for sure: #2.
It might not be as satisfying as #1--who doesn't like to win?--but it assures that the Bucks will have their choice of at least three top-tier prospects, while heaping all the pressure on Cleveland to nail their pick at #1. Early speculation is that Cleveland will likely decide between Joel Embiid and fellow Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins, though it's still way too early to think any final decisions have been made in Cleveland. After all, the Cavs didn't think they'd have a shot at any of these guys as of a couple hours ago.
But assuming the Cavs go with either Embiid or Wiggins, the Bucks would be left in the enviable position to decide between the leftover Jayhawk, scoring machine Jabari Parker, and Aussie playmaker Dante Exum. Wiggins (he jumps high!) or Parker (scoring!) would be the safest picks from a fit and PR position, while selecting Embiid--still the guy I'd peg as the biggest talent in the draft--would raise eyebrows given concerns over his back, potential redundancy with Larry Sanders, and early talk that his agent Arn Tellem might steer him clear of the Bucks altogether.
But you know what? It's early, and there are good cases to be made for everyone who might be on the board at #2. That's the beauty of where the Bucks sit in the draft, and the good news is that Milwaukee's front office has spent the last six months stalking these guys across college campuses across the country so that they'd be ready on draft night.
The big question over the coming weeks will be who works out where, which is a particularly poignant question given the Bucks' small market status and general lack of appeal to 19-year-old millionaire athletes. Each of the top four could visit Milwaukee, or none of them might (more on that below). Whatever the case, the only huge question will be Embiid's health, especially given that the Bucks already got a chance to meet with Exum in Chicago. It'd of course be nice to visit with Parker and Wiggins as well, but at this point they're both fairly well known commodities. And it does help that bigger markets like Boston (#6) and Los Angeles (#7) didn't creep into the top three. But at this point nothing is a guarantee--and on some level that's part of the fun, right?
As soon as the Bucks' logo showed up at number two, everyone with a mock draft went racing to update their rankings, so let's start with the (still very early) mocks:
- DraftExpress (Jonathan Givony): Andrew Wiggins #1, Jabari Parker #2
- ESPN (Chad Ford): Wiggins #1, Joel Embiid #2
- SB Nation (Ricky O'Donnell): Joel Embiid #1, Parker #2
- Basketball Insiders (Yannis Koutroupis): Embiid #1, Wiggins #2
- Hoops Hype: Embiid #1, Wiggins #2
Milwaukee Bucks executive David Morway says they've had "great conversations" with agents and don't anticipate any issues w/physicals, etc— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 21, 2014
In studio and among those here are Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, GM John Hammond and asst GM David Morway. Giannis and B Knight.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) May 20, 2014
Bucks co-owner Wes Edens said of John Hammond and staff: "We're going to work hard with them over the next 5 weeks and have a great draft."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) May 21, 2014
#Bucks GM John Hammond on his job status with new owners: "I'd rather have Marc and Wes speak to that but all indicators have been positive"— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) May 21, 2014
"Right now it's really all about the draft," Edens said. "We're happy to have those guys working with us. We're not the basketball people."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) May 21, 2014
But Hammond said No. 2 pick is solid. "With the second pick, that player is not going to face the pressure of the No. 1 pick."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) May 21, 2014
Hearing Parker isn't really in play for Cleveland. Will come down to Wiggins or Embiid. 50/50 right now. Embiid will do a 1 on 0 workout.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 21, 2014
Meanwhile before the lottery, Chad Ford tweeted that the Bucks LOVE EVERYONE:
Bucks, Celtics, Lakers all seriously considering Embiid No. 1 if his back gets a clean bill of health— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 20, 2014
Teams in Top 10 that would likely take Wiggins No. 1 if draft was today according to sources: Bucks, Sixers, Magic, Celtics, Lakers— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 20, 2014
While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight had their photo op with the lovely Sophie Lasry and internet-winning Ms. Mallory Edens: And earlier in the day Giannis got a tour of the GQ offices in Manhattan: