Last time, the Brew Hoop staff took their best shot at figuring out the ideal draft strategy for the Milwaukee Bucks, based on who is available at #10 and what the team needs. In the process, one staff member (who shall remain nameless!) embarrassed himself in the Best Fit vs. Best Player Available discussion. And so it goes.
This time, the chances for embarrassment are that much higher, because we dive into the leading prospects expected to be available when the Bucks pick on June 23rd at the Barclay Center. We've hashed strategy and tactics, let's get into some names!
Who catches your eye at #10?
Eric B: This answer was reserved for gushing about Ivan Rabb. May he enjoy round two of college. Bless your heart, Ivan. Anyways, I like high upside guys here, so I suppose Chriss, Davis, Skal, Ellenson, and Luwawu would fit the bill and range. Swing for the fences, Hammond! Get yourself potentially as much talent on the roster as you can!
Mitchell: Wade Baldwin IV gets a lot of attention, and I can see why. He’s a good shooter (His TS is 57%, and he hits 40.6% from deep on 4.0 attempts/40 minutes), especially in catch-and-shoot situations, and he’s LOOOOONG (6’4" with a 6’11.25" wingspan). Those two things seem to fit with what the Bucks might want on both offense and defense, and he’s a talented guard to boot. But he seems to have an average handle at best, and has demonstrated some difficulty with both creating plays and finishing at the rim on offense, and staying totally engaged on defense. The weaknesses on offense are mitigated if he joins a team led by Point Giannis, but the latter is something the Bucks really can’t afford from any new additions, rookie or otherwise. If he offers the length of MCW with way better shooting and lower rates of both usage and mistakes, he could be a great complementary guard on this team.
Frank: I like the idea of Baldwin, but I’m also wary that I like him in no small part because he fits the existing core so well (my "best player available" shock collar just zapped me). I think Bender is my top guy outside of the Simmons/Ingram, and Murray and Hield are interesting for convenience reasons, but among guys likely to be around at 10 I’ve found myself gravitating more towards the bigs. All of them seem to have their pluses and minuses. Deyonta Davis’ athleticism, size and defensive abilities give him both a high floor and the potential to be pretty upsidey, but he’s got the usual rawness concerns. Pöltl moves really well for a 7-footer and was statistically hyper-productive, but he doesn’t feel super-upsidey and I wince every time I think of how Domantas Sabonis trucked him in the tourney. Skal has a really interesting combination of skill and length, though his lack of production (especially rebounding) at Kentucky is concerning. I know less about Luwawu and Turkish shooter Furkan Korkmaz, but they’re also intriguing because who knows? Considering how much of a crapshoot the draft is, I’m just going to try to talk myself into everyone and hope for the best, OK?
Eric N: Deyonta Davis is my guy. The analytical models love him and so does my eye. He was a great shot blocker in limited minutes at Michigan State and appears to have the skills to do something similar at the next level. (Seriously, find some of the sequences where he picks up two blocks on a single possession. His second jump is so quick.) At times, he also flashed the ability to guard quicker forwards off the dribble, which makes me dream of him surviving against NBA guards every once in a while in a switch-happy defensive scheme. Offensively, he appears considerably more raw. Despite his limited set of skills, he seems completely capable of being a rim-running big, which is my favorite type of big. Throughout the season, he caught lobs at strange angles and flashed an ability to finish those lobs powerfully with two hands. Finally, if you’re into this type of thing (and I tend to think John Hammond is), he was a McDonald’s All-American and will be just 19 years old at the start of next season.
Frank: I think I'm probably trending in that direction. Every year I seem to choose my favorites largely through a process of elimination: I want guys who aren't jerks, are young but already productive, have at least one position they can defend well (and hopefully two), have some balance of skill potential and athleticism, and aren't horrendously duplicative of the Bucks' current core. Based on that criteria, I feel like Davis is probably the most rational option among the guys expected to be on the board.
Which player potentially falling excites you the most?
Eric B: I don’t really know if any will fall dramatically, so I’ll fire up an unrealistic pair: Jaylen Brown or Kris Dunn. Both have shaky shots, but Brown is young and could be great in transition to start (sound familiar?). Dunn is older, but I truly think his best is yet to come and he’d actually be kind of a great fit. FIGHT ME ABOUT THIS.
Mitchell: I won’t fight you, Eric. But I will talk about Buddy Hield, and how he was touted as a top-5 pick a while back, and has since slipped further down into the middle of the lottery. I don’t love Buddy but I do love shooting, and that’s something he could genuinely be elite at. Plus, his name is Buddy! Think of the marketing possibilities!
Frank: While I don’t think it’s realistic for him to slip all the way to the Bucks, Dragan Bender is probably the guy I’ll secretly dream of seeing slip -- and thus he’s also the guy I’d be most interested in trade up for outside the top two. He’s not a dynamite athlete, but at 7’1" and only 18 years old he’s already shown rare potential as a big guy who can capably defend on one end and play inside and out on the other. He might not be Towns or Porzingis, but he’s not that far away at that same age. Otherwise, I'm not going to be too anxious about anyone slipping to the Bucks. I think they'll have solid options at 10.
Eric N: Bender is my favorite guy in the draft outside of Ingram and Simmons, but I just don’t think it is possible for him to fall all the way to ten. Brown is a guy I shouldn’t like because of his inability to hit shots, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to see him in green, blue, and cream. Finally, I think it’s pretty possible that Ellenson could fall to ten and I like his potential as a seven footer that can spread the floor and create as a secondary playmaker. (To be clear, I’d prefer Davis to him.)
Which player do you want absolutely nothing to do with?
Mitchell: Jaylen Brown looks like he has a broken shot, and I don’t care to have ANOTHER player on the Bucks who needs his shot rebuilt from scratch.
Frank: He’s the kind of upsidey guy who could be really good, but he might also be the worst possible fit for the Bucks given his position (stuck behind Giannis/Jabari) and skillset (can’t really shoot). On the plus side, he’s a really interesting dude.
Mitchell: Marquese Chriss looks like a less-skilled Aaron Gordon with an allergy to boxing out.
Frank: I feel like Chriss will end up somewhere between Tyrus Thomas and Amare Stoudemire. I don't know what this means.
Mitchell: Dragan Bender is Jan Vesely with Ersan’s hair stylist.
Frank: BLASPHEMY ON BOTH COUNTS! Though you could argue he has Ersan's jumper with Peter Vecsey's vertical.
Mitchell: Skal Labissiere is a skinner John Henson (somehow) who unfortunately thinks he can be a wing player.
Mitchell: Jacob Pöltl looks like he has always skipped leg day and got worked by Sabonis Jr. in the Tournament.
Frank: For anyone wondering what Mitchell looks like...
Eric B: Buddy Hield? Oh man, people aren’t going to be happy about that answer. I LIKE BUDDY! I guess I just don’t understand the rationale for the Bucks taking him (or trading up for him).
Frank: I'd understand the rationale if he was somehow there at #10 -- when has drafting a shooter ever gone wrong! -- but trading up for him? Eh, no thanks.
Eric B: Andrey Desyatnikov. He’s #60 on DX’s mock right now. He’d really be a reach at 10, in my opinion!
Eric N: Denzel Valentine. Yuck.
Will our second live mock draft really go from sunset to sunrise?
Eric B: It better. We could do it live from the club, like all blog mock drafts!
Mitchell: I don’t sleep anymore anyway, so I’m down for an all-nighter. As are my jerk-hole cats and probably the baby.
Frank: If we start now we might finish by draft night.
Eric N: GET ON SKYPE RIGHT NOW!