In our latest mailbag, Eric Nehm and I tackle listener questions including whether the Bucks should pursue Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, how Jabari Parker fits alongside Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, whether the Bucks will look to make a deal on draft night, and why players like French prospect Timothe Luwawu draw the attention of fans -- for both the right and wrong reasons.
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Boogie and the Bucks: The more I think about it, the more I struggle with the entirely hypothetical idea of trading Jabari Parker (and other stuff) for someone like DeMarcus Cousins. Which in some ways feels a bit defeatist; as talented as he is, the odds of Jabari becoming as productive as Boogie are not high, and generally the only way to get a guy of Boogie's talents is to draft him or luck into him because something went wrong at his previous destination. But aside from the obvious and huge character issue in Jabari's favor, I think the swing vote for me comes down to contract risk -- which I don't think I emphasized enough in the podcast. There's a clear path for controlling Parker contractually for six to seven more season (two more years of his rookie deal plus four to five on an RFA deal/extension). With Boogie you get him for two more years and then he can walk. For a team whose window of contention is decidedly not the next two seasons, that matters a lot.
- Three picks, two picks, one pick? What the Bucks do with their three picks (most likely #10 plus #36 and #38) is fascinating in both a practical and philosophical sense: not only is it a key opportunity to unearth one or more cost-controlled future rotation players, but it will also say plenty about how the Bucks view their current roster heading into the summer. Owning the 36th and 38th picks would seem like a prime opportunity to trade up into the late first, but is the return on a single pick in the 20s better than having two chances at players in the 30s? The answer is of course "it depends," but I think it's a good litmus test for how teams trade off the deterministic or stochastic forces at play. The former would suggest you always want higher picks because it lets you get better players (makes sense); the latter says more picks are better because the outcome are highly random and you want more chances (also makes sense). Ultimately, the reality of building a roster tends to limit the number of rookies a team is willing to stomach in a given year, which is why i would be somewhat surprised if the Bucks did have three rookies in camp next year. The compromise: keeping all three picks, snagging one of the half dozen international big men who could be stashed abroad next season, and praying he becomes the next Nikola Jokic when he comes over in 2017 or 2018.