It's Draft Day!
Over the last few weeks, I have attended a number of the media sessions for Bucks draft workouts. I've had the chance to talk to a number of players about their thoughts regarding their NBA futures and discussed the various prospects at length with a number of the assembled media and the rest of the Brew Hoop Staff. (Keep in mind: Media members don't get to watch the actual workouts. We just get the opportunity to talk with the players after their workouts.)
With all that in mind, I've developed a number of thoughts about the draft, but honestly I haven't been sure how to put that into one comprehensive piece. So I've instead decided to give you some thought vomit. Hope you enjoy it and have fun with the draft (6 pm CT, ESPN/WatchESPN).
Things to Consider:
If the Bucks keep the tenth overall pick, it is important to remember that their selection doesn't need to start for the Bucks next season. Or the next season. Or even be a starter at any point during his time in Milwaukee. Spots four through ten on the Bucks roster are pretty barren at this point, and if this selection can eventually be a great role player that would be a win for the franchise and a reasonable return for a mid-lottery pick.
While it's certainly possible to find star talent outside the top five, most mid-lottery guys don't play more than 20-25 minutes a game in their rookie season, so Bucks fans shouldn't expect their pick to necessarily play a ton as a rookie. If he does, it's probably a sign of him either being better than expected and/or playing a position where injuries or a lack of depth force the Bucks' hand. However, if the Bucks are struggling to find their selection enough minutes in his second and third years, you might either have a good problem (logjam of good talent) or a bad one (a player who isn't making progress). Rookie contracts will remain incredibly valuable as the cap rises, which means a good selection on Thursday that doesn't "fit" going forward can just turn into a player traded to get talent that fits the roster better going forward. There are of course limits to that -- if a guy can't play, his value around the league will necessarily take a hit.
Rookies are bad. Even the rookies that have impressed you in the past are generally bad basketball players that have rarely played winning basketball. It is not fair to any of them to expect them to "fix" any of the Bucks' problems (see the myth of Rashad Vaughn solving the Bucks' lack of shooting a year ago). The selection may play solid defense as a rookie or shoot a bunch of threes in their rookie season, but they aren't going to fix the Bucks' defensive woes or turn the Bucks into a league average three-point shooting. Those changes will need to happen on a much larger scale.
As Frank has mentioned a few times already, rookie contracts will be even more valuable as the cap rises and being able to get a contributor at a cheap rate will be invaluable. The Bucks should want to keep a pick in the lottery or perhaps take two first rounders in a trade down. With that being said, the Bucks have a number of young players that could really use developmental reps, so it may be difficult to find opportunities for more than two rookies.
Don't read too much into prospect interviews. Since the prospects closest to peoples' hearts have started to come to Milwaukee for workouts, much has been made about the interviews the player's give after their workouts. Wade Baldwin thinks he's a point guard, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is doing that for the Bucks next season! Deyonta Davis thinks he's a stretch four?!?!
I'm going to tell you a secret. My favorite part of every workout is hearing Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney refute the delusions of grandeur each prospect has about their NBA future. I'm not sure a single prospect has come to town and assessed his game similarly to McKinney. These guys are trying to impress people and get drafted higher. It doesn't help them to talk about the limits to their game and how they might not fit at the next level.
An aside: Billy McKinney is a delight. His incredulous looks upon hearing what players think of their own abilities or his use of old school adjectives to describe players' abilities regularly brightened up the dull process of trying to wade through prospects answering the same questions
Individual workouts are pretty much universally determined by the agents of the players, not the teams. If a player is doing an individual workout, it is almost always because they won't workout for a team any other way. On Friday, Denzel Valentine came to Milwaukee for an individual workout after a group workout that featured Wade Baldwin and Dejounte Murray, two guys that are regularly being mocked in similar positions as Valentine. After the workout, McKinney said that it would have been nice to have Valentine in Milwaukee for the workout with Baldwin and Murray, but that a lot of agents are controlling the process. On the flip side, an individual workout gives the team a chance to run a prospect ragged, sometimes against coaches not long removed from playing in the league.
NBA players make a ton of shots and I've been led to believe the league's best shooters pretty easily make 80 of 100 threes during practice regularly. This is my way of saying I don't really care how many threes out of 25/50/100 attempts prospects make in their workouts.
One (or two) Sentence Thoughts on the prospects the Bucks Might Like:
- Every player that has ever attended Michigan State under Tom Izzo has been hailed as a winner with great toughness and high IQ, but those traits are rarely ascribed to Deyonta Davis. I must admit I'm curious why it takes longer than a year for those skills to become a part of a player's identity.
- Despite his wishes, Deyonta Davis is not a stretch four. He is a five, and that's a good thing both for a team like the Bucks and a player like Davis.
- When asked about traits they're looking for in guards on Tuesday, John Hammond answered the question more generally and said, "We need shooting. Shooting is a prerequisite for us. It's high on the board." If they are looking for shooting in general and in guards specifically, how does Dejounte Murray fit in?
- I mentioned it on the last Brew Hoop podcast, but I don't like the George Hill comp for Wade Baldwin. Baldwin obviously has the needed skills to replicate what Hill brings to the table, but I have significant doubts Baldwin is interested in a secondary role like the one Hill has so competently filled for years.
- I typed this sentence just to figure out how to type an umlaut for Jakob Pöltl.
- A lot of people describe Pöltl as a safe pick. Does that just mean they don't think he doesn't has much upside?
- Henry Ellenson will need to be able to play the five at the next level, but he probably needs to gain some weight to successfully guard fives. Will Ellenson still be able to do the things that make him special (finish at the rim, shoot threes, create off the dribble) with 20 more pounds on his frame?
- While they're starting the day with three picks (#10/36/38), the Bucks are adding two or fewer draft picks to their squad on draft night.
- The Bucks won't move any of the current players on their roster on draft night.
- If the Bucks select tenth overall, they will take:
- Eric N.: Deyonta Davis
- Mitchell: Deyonta Davis
- Eric B.: Henry Ellenson
- Dan: Deyonta Davis
- Aron: Deyonta Davis
Latest Draft News
- Thon Maker was always destined to be one of the most fascinating stories on draft night, if for no other reason than he's emerged as a major wedge prospect in the mock drafts of Chad Ford (#19) and Jonathan Givony (#36, ironically to Bucks). And now less than 12 hours before the draft this little nugget could explain why many teams have seemed far less enthusiastic about Maker than many fans:
Several teams have entirely ruled Thon Maker out of the first round due to his age. Multiple sources believe Maker to be 21-23, not 19.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 23, 2016
- While almost every team projects to have more than $20 million in cap space this summer, the Hornets might be willing to give up their #22 overall selection in order to free up more money to keep Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lin:
Sources: Charlotte's offering No. 22 - if team will take contract of Spencer Hawes or Jeremy Lamb. Hornets need space to re-sign free agents— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 23, 2016
- For the past couple weeks Chad Ford had been projecting Washington freshman guard Dejounte Murray to land in Milwaukee, but he's switched that pick to Davis in the latest mock draft released Thursday morning.
The Bucks really need shooting, but there really isn't a wing in this range that makes sense. Expect them to swing for a player with high upside.
Davis has the physical tools to be a defensive star. He is bouncy, blocks shots and moves his feet well. His offense is still a work in progress, but the Bucks would like to get more athletic at center after the Greg Monroe experience last season. Point guard is another long-term need, and Dejounte Murray has impressed them in workouts.