clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It would be cool if the Bucks explored trading for any of these players

The NBA Draft always creates positional redundancy on a few teams. Here are some possibly expendable players that would make intriguing targets for the Bucks.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There is honestly nothing more worthy of attention than the Milwaukee Bucks drafting Jabari Parker with the second overall pick. It is likely to be the most important thing they do this offseason by far, unless a mysterious benefactor steps forward and volunteers to pay the remaining balance on a new arena . Parker is a player with All-Star potential who can pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo to give Milwaukee a terrific young pair of forwards around which to build a new and exciting roster.

But if you wanted to look at other stuff, and you aren't afraid of wild speculation and reckless daydreaming, we can look at other teams in the first half of the draft to examine useful young player who might be available in the right deal. With fresh infusions of talent now in hand, a number of lottery teams might be willing to part with a few nice pieces in hopes of sparking quicker turnarounds. Let's be clear--these are all highly unlikely scenarios, and I don't claim to have any insider information. Just wishful thinking.

With that in mind, here are a couple of potential targets.

Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento Kings -- Kings drafted Michigan SG Nik Stauskas 8th Overall

McLemore was rumored to be involved in a number of possible deals leading up to the draft, including a late-breaking report that he could be traded to the Boston Celtics in a deal for the 6th overall pick. These deals never came to fruition, which means McLemore remains a King. Adding one of the draft's best shooters in Stauskas to a team with designs on competing for the playoffs next season could push Sacramento to see what they could get for last season's 7th overall pick.

McLemore really struggled with his shot as a rookie, hitting less than 42% of his two-point attempts and just 37.6% overall. His oft-maligned "passive" style of play carried over to the pros, though it's fair to point out that McLemore shared the court with a number of high-usage players. Despite his terrible metrics, McLemore still has a lot of potential. His three-point shooting should improve with time, and he's still capable of drawing fouls at a solid rate. Sacramento may not want to lose its starting SG (assuming they will bring Stauskas off the bench at first), and McLemore is a capable defender, but might Milwaukee be able to tempt the Kings with a deal including Khris Middleton, a future pick or two, and a chance for Sactown to dump some salary? Sacramento might also be a suitor for Ersan Ilyasova, who could provide some shooting for a lineup that can struggle to space the floor.

Alec Burks, SG, Utah Jazz -- Jazz drafted Australian G Dante Exum 5th Overall

Remember when a bunch of us wanted Alec Burks prior to the 2011 NBA Draft? He had somewhat of a rough go his first two years in the NBA, averaging just 7.1 points in about 17 minutes per game over his first two seasons. But his role finally expanded last year and Burks responded with drastic improvements in a number of key areas. His true shooting percentage rose four points to 54.7 and his assist and free-throw rates both saw significant bumps.

So why would Utah want to flip Burks to another team? The selection of Dante Exum gives the Jazz two young guards in the starting backcourt, each of whom feels combo-ish to some extent. Trey Burke is the stronger shooter, but Exum can attack the basket and looks like the better passer long-term. More importantly, both players are likely to be high-minute players who do a lot of work with the ball in their hands, which is a role in which Burks can excel.

The Bucks desperately need more players who want the ball in their hands. Parker will likely soak up a lot of possessions right off the bat, but Brandon Knight could stand to do more work off the ball, and Giannis Antetokounmpo probably won't complete his transformation into point-forward extraordinaire in a single summer. Burks would give the Bucks a young, cheap shooting guard with versatile scoring talents, something they were hoping to get out of O.J. Mayo (except the cheap part). The Jazz are far enough from contention that they won't part with young pieces for just anything, but Milwaukee has a number of expendable assets to make a run, and if Utah wants to unload Burks before he hits free agency next summer, the price might be depressed.

Cody Zeller, F/C, Charlotte Hornets -- Hornets drafted Indiana PF Noah Vonleh 9th Overall

Vonleh was a player I had a lot of interest in. His shooting ability offers a ton of modern offensive potential and he still brings exceptional rebounding and strong defense. Charlotte was reportedly looking for shooters in the draft and had its eyes on Stauskas and Doug McDermott, but when Vonleh slipped to 9th he was seen as too good to pass up. If his shooting translates quickly, he can provide the Hornets with the shooting they coveted from a position that contorts defenses in advantageous ways.

But what of Vonleh's predecessor (in more ways than one), 2013 4th overall pick Cody Zeller? Zeller was marginalized a bit by the arrival and success of Al Jefferson, and he struggled tremendously on offense early in the season. Zeller scored in double figures just four times in his first 53 games leading up to the All-Star Break. But after the break? He was like a completely different player. Zeller's TS% jumped from 44.5 to 58.1, and he added 2.7 points to his per-game scoring average with only a small increase in shot attempts.

That sort of improvement doesn't go unnoticed, and Charlotte probably won't be shopping a cheap big with scoring talent for spare parts. But the Hornets are another team eager to build on their success from last season, and they remain a bit thin at guard and in the wings (though they did add P.J. Hairston with the 26th overall pick). Adding Zeller to an already bursting-at-the-seams frontcourt in Milwaukee might seem crazy, but the Bucks may be exploring deals for some of those players as a remedy anyway. Backfilling with a young and talented 7-footer isn't going to upset anybody.