clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Giannis Antetokounmpo hanging in Greece, Jakob Pöltl and Skal Labissiere among early Bucks mock favorites

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

The Milwaukee Bucks' season might be over, but our #CONTENT hurricane rages on. Check out the latest on Giannis and Rashad Vaughn from exit interviews, our most recent podcast discussing takeaways from the final month of the season plus the first round of post-tiebreaker mock drafts below.

Download this episode (right click and save). You can subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes here.

Ford: Bucks take Pöltl in latest mock | ESPN
Like Gary Parrish over at CBS Sports, Chad Ford projects the Bucks to go big with Utah big man Jakob Pöltl at #10:

The Bucks suffered defensively with Greg Monroe in the middle and will likely look to see what they can get on the trade market this summer. Even if they keep him, Poeltl -- the No. 1 rated center on our Board -- seems like a good fit. He's a fluid athlete with great hands who rebounds and protects the rim. He needs to get stronger, but he's a good value at No. 10.

The 20-year-old Austrian 7-footer was considered a first round talent last year but returned to Utah for his sophomore season, and it paid off as he was one of the NCAA"s most productive players. Though he's neither hyper-athletic nor super-skilled, Pöltl is a huge human who moves well and simply knows how to play basketball -- you know, the kind of thing that NBA teams tend to like. While his season ended on a major down note after Domantas Sabonis dominated him in the NCAA tournament, Pöltl figures to be a rather safe pick in the mid-lottery, especially for a Bucks team long on bodies but still short on answers at the center position.

DraftExpress: Latest mock shows Bucks nabbing Skal Labissiere
Jonathan Givony has Pöltl going eighth and Marquette's Henry Ellenson ninth, projecting the Bucks to gamble on Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere over the likes of French wing Timothe Luwawu and Notre Dame PG Demtrius Jackson. Way back in the fall, Labissiere was considered a contender for the #1 spot, but the 20-year-old Haitian struggled to find regular minutes for John Calipari this season before showing sporadic flashes toward the end of the season.

The upside for Labissiere is obvious: he's a big (6'11.5" in shoes, 225 pounds), fluid athlete capable of blocking shots on one end and knocking down midrange jumpers and throwing down vicious dunks on the other. In other words, the kind of stuff that earns you lottery buzz even when you spend much of your freshman season on the bench. But despite his struggles at Kentucky, Labissiere isn't your typical overhyped high schooler. His journey to the NBA is a rather incredible one: he's just six years removed from nearly losing his life in the 2010 earthquake that ravaged his native Haiti, and he arrived at Kentucky having missed his senior season of high school ball due to transfer issues. So he's played relatively little basketball compared to his peers, making him an upside play who might be as likely to bust as he is become a break out star.

Meanwhile, the likely first big man off the board was attracting plenty of eyeballs today, as John Hammond was among the NBA scouts watching 18-year-old Croatian big man Dragan Bender, whose spending this season as a bench role player for Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Bender has spent most of the season ranked third on draft boards behind Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, so don't hold your breath for him to end up in a Bucks uniform unless Milwaukee somehow makes the leap into the top three (a 6.5% chance).

Hangin' with Giannis Antetokounmpo | NBPA
Has there ever been a Giannis interview that wasn't wonderful and endearing? The latest comes courtesy of Jared Zweling and the NBA Player's Union, which finds Giannis talking about his summer plans with his brothers

JZ: What do you enjoy doing on off days with your family?

GA: We usually go to Chicago, and we’ve got a nice restaurant there. It has a buffet with Chinese and sushi. With Kostas and Alex, I usually go play laser tag. I’m very good. I get low so no one can see me. Back in Greece, we all play paintball. And at home in Milwaukee, we have dance-offs for fun. I’ve got some rhythm in me. Can that be the title of the article—"Best Dancer"? I live in an apartment with Kostas, and my parents live downstairs. I’m about to move to a bigger house this summer.