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NBA Draft 2014: John Hammond, David Morway and Billy McKinney react to #2

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks Media Blitz

GM John Hammond, assistant GM David Morway and director of scouting Billy MCKinney were all over the Milwaukee airwaves yesterday following Tuesday night's draft lottery, talking up all the beautiful possibilities that now lie ahead for the Bucks and their #2 overall pick in the June 26 draft. The general themes: they'll go best player available (of course), new owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have been supportive of the front office (ie we're set for now), and everyone seems genuinely excited by the prospect of working with the new ownership team (no, really).

Some of the more interesting highlights:

  • As expected, Hammond, McKinney and Morway all played it coy in terms of preferences between Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid, though as expected Embiid's health was highlighted by everyone as an issue that would have be resolved between now and June 26.
  • Hammond threw down the gauntlet a bit for John Henson, talking up his natural talent while implying that he needs to work on his body/nutrition and make the conscious decision to be a great player (hint, hint).
  • He also offered a fairly terse non-answer to a question about whether Larry Drew is the coaching solution to the Bucks' long-term take that for what you will.
  • Hammond also discussed the value of positional versatility, acknowledging that Giannis Antetokounmpo's long-term destiny is not as a 6'10.5" shooting guard (phew). Aside from playing Giannis at the more obvious small forward position, Hammond suggested that he expected Giannis to also be able to play the four position as his body matures.

    Whenever I've broached this idea in the past, I've typically heard the counterargument that Giannis won't want to play in the post and bang with big guys--but that's also kind of the point. Your average NBA power forward has no interest defending a guy who can hit threes, put it on the floor, and run a P&R, which in theory could give Giannis terrific mismatch potential at the 4. The obvious issue is getting his body strong enough to handle the pounding that would entail on the defensive end, something that limited him even against stronger small forwards as a rookie. Anyone else having visions of Wilson Chandler bulldozing him last year? Either way, I don't ever see him as a full-time PF, but I have to think his unique combination of big man length and wing skill will provide interesting opportunities as he matures.
  • Larry Sanders was not surprisingly another popular topic on Wednesday, and again everyone stayed positive. Morway noted that they talk to Sanders (and all their other key players) "all the time," and both Morway and Hammond recited the same stat line about Sanders putting up Joakim Noah-type numbers in the weeks leading up to his unfortunate eye injury in February. Hammond further clarified that the team wasn't really concerned with Larry's abilities on the court, but that he obviously had to get himself in order off it. In short, there was nothing here to suggest that the Bucks would try to sell low on Sanders over the summer. And while they also don't have any incentive to suggest otherwise at this point, I'd be surprised if anything short of selecting Embiid on draft night would convince them to think otherwise.
  • In reaction to a question about how long the Bucks' turnaround will take, Morway refused to offer a timetable but compared the process to turning around an aircraft carrier--so I suppose we can be assured that the front office doesn't expect anything to happen overnight, eh?

Grantland | Lowe: God Loves Cleveland and 24 More Notes From Inside the NBA Draft Lottery
Grantland's Zach Lowe dishes out a bunch of interesting tidbits from inside the lottery night TV studio. Among others:

The level of excitement in Milwaukee is real. Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, the new owners, sat in the front row with several family members, and the vibe is already out that they will allow for new levels of creativity with the Bucks — more spending, and more available team-building strategies. The team will "absolutely" be willing to approach the luxury tax when the time is right, Wesley Edens told me. "We want to be good businesspeople, but this is about winning basketball games."

Save Our Bucks | Recap of Lotto Night and Look Ahead to the #2 Pick
Very nice lotto recap and look ahead to draft night from the SOB gang.

FiveThirtyEight | How Much Is Winning the (NBA Draft) Lottery Really Worth?
Quick summary: Nate Silver took historical win share data from, estimated the financial value of a win, and did the math on how much each spot in the lottery was worth in dollars and cents. Here's the punchline:

The first overall draft pick is worth about $30 million by this measure, compared to $23.5 million for the second pick, $20.5 million for the third pick and $18.8 million for the fourth pick. The 14th selection — the last lottery pick — is worth about $12 million, while the final overall pick in the first round is worth $7.3 million.