The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery (7 pm CT, ESPN) will be held before tonight's Eastern Conference Finals game, and by now you probably know that the Bucks' odds of picking somewhere higher than #10 are...not great. Milwaukee has just a 1.8% chance of leaping into the top spot and a 6.4% chance of landing a top-three pick, with a less than 10% chance of dropping further than 10. You can check out complete odds at Tankathon.com:
Jason Kidd will represent the Bucks on stage during the lottery reveal, while Bucks VP Alex Lasry (reprising his role from the 2014 lottery) will be sequestered in the lottery room where the actual drawing is held. John Hammond will also be in attendance.
While the Bucks currently project to pick 10th, 36th and 38th, I have to say I'd be surprised if the Bucks end up with more than two rookies on draft night. Considering their apparent urgency to get better next year and the fact that they already have five guys 21 or younger on the roster, I just don't think the Bucks will have the appetite to add three rookies unless some of the other youngsters are shipped out. So might they package their seconds to move up into the late first? Perhaps deal one or two picks for veteran help? Lots of options, though I think the long-term best one might simply be keeping all three picks and hoping one of the two second rounders hits.
MP3: Hammond talks draft | 105.7 The Fan
Speaking of the Bucks GM, Hammond didn't exactly show his cards on 105.7 The Fan's Big Show Monday afternoon, but he did address a wide range of both draft and non-draft topics. Among them: the NBA potential of Henry Ellenson and Denzel Valentine, what it was like having owner Jamie Dinan involved in player interviews this week, and repeatedly pounding on the importance of drafting the best player available (even if it's another really young guy).
Among the more interesting notes:
- In addressing a question about the Bucks' lack of veterans last year, Hammond hinted that while they didn't live up to expectations in terms of wins, the Bucks did accomplish their internal goal of keeping their payroll right around the cap. We've talked about this a fair bit since the Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley deals, but it was interesting to hear Hammond explicitly cite the Bucks' record compared to their relatively low payroll and age, implying that the need to keep salaries low played a role in shipping out Pachulia and Dudley. As we noted in our summer preview series, the Bucks won't be able to keep the core of their roster together on such a shoe-string budget forever.
- Hammond mostly demurred on a question about the value of a possible Giannis Antetokounmpo extension, noting that they would not be able to begin negotiations with his agent until July 1. Hammond also suggested that they wouldn't know the max size of a Giannis extension until the 16/17 cap numbers are set in July, but that's actually not true. Because a Giannis extension won't kick in until 17/18, the max amount of a new Giannis deal actually won't be finalized until July 2017, and that's assuming the league averts a lockout that could potentially delay free agency past July 1. Until the dust settles, all we can say for sure is that Giannis can sign for up to five years and for around 25% of whatever the cap is in 17/18; right now that works out to around $144 million over five years.
Deyonta Davis jump to #10 in latest DX mock | DraftExpress
Jonathan Givony's first mock draft since the combine sees Michigan State freshman big man Deyonta Davis land at the Bucks' #10 slot, replacing Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere who moves up to #9 (interestingly, Ellenson slipped to #13).
Tipping the scales at an athletic 237 pounds, Davis measured 6'9.25" in socks, 6'10.5" in shoes with a 7'2.5" wingspan and 9'0.5" standing reach, giving him an ideal body for a modern NBA PF/C. And while he remains predictably raw at the age of 19, Davis was very productive as a rim-crashing offensive-rebounder and shot-blocker for the Spartans, where he averaged 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per 40 minutes. So can he ever develop the requisite skill level to be more than a rim roller? Will he develop the savvy to be a defensive force, or simply tease with his athletic ability? Check out the poll below and let us know what you think of Davis vs. the other guys who might be on the board at #10.
Chad Ford's 2016 NBA draft combine stock watch | ESPN Insider
Plenty of interesting tidbits in Chad Ford's latest, including this on Michigan's intriguing combo guard Caris LeVert:
Poor Caris LeVert. The Michigan senior was once projected as a late-lottery to mid-first-round pick. However, injuries his junior and senior year have taken their toll.
NBA teams were hoping that LeVert's leg would be healed enough to participate in the combine. Alas, he showed up to interviews in a walking boot and told teams it would be another six weeks before he could start doing light work on the court. That means he won't be able to do draft workouts, nor will he likely be available for summer league. His earliest availability, if everything heals, looks like training camp. That's going to take a pretty big hit to his draft stock.
LeVert is an interesting option for any team with multiple picks early in the second round, especially given how nicely his combination of size, shooting and combo-guard skills could fit into the existing roster. That said, would the Bucks really be willing to roll the dice on yet another guy with potentially chronic foot problems? The Bucks have a history for that sort of thing -- Carlos Delfino never played again after signing in the summer of 2013, Damien Inglis missed a full year in 2014, and Greivis Vasquez was a shell of himself in limited minutes last season -- but that's probably not a streak they're looking to maintain if they don't have to.
Dinan speaks out on Wisconsin business, need for playoff team | Milwaukee Business Journal
Jamie Dinan was with Kidd, Hammond and the rest of the Bucks' contingent at the Chicago Draft Combine last week, and before then he spoke to Rich Kirchen of the MBJ about the Bucks' disappointing season and his expectations going forward.
"My own view is I’ve always realized in order to get somebody to buy into your brand, you have to have a brand that they want to identify with. And our biggest challenge in the next year or two is going to be from a performance standpoint. If you go into our 2018-2019 season (the first one in the new arena) we want to go in as a playoff team.
"I don’t want to go in as (an NBA draft) lottery team. We’re a lottery team this year. That wasn’t the goal. We came into this season really thinking we were legitimately going to do better than last season. And it didn’t happen.
"I think we learned some lessons. I think we had some bad luck as it related to injuries. I think this year showed more than ever how the league is changing. It’s not just shooting the 3 (point shot), it’s defending the 3. We need to do a better job of defending the 3 than shooting the 3."