Here we are. A day removed from the 2016 draft, and John Hammond and Co. have given Bucks fans something to discuss, debate, and yell at each other about for a good majority of the off-season. AND THAT'S RIGHT WHERE WE'RE COMFORTABLE, BABY.
So far, reactions to the Bucks' selection of Thon Maker seem to range from instant rejection to cautious optimism among fans. Around the NBA, there was a similar range of opinions.
How does one rectify a team making your least favorite pick of the draft along with one of your favorites? Indeed, I don't buy Maker this high at No. 10. He was dominated last year at Nike Hoop Summit for a week by No. 28 pick Skal Labissiere, no guarantee to carve out a role in the NBA himself. His hands aren't great, his body isn't strong enough, and his basketball IQ isn't superb. What Maker needs is experience, and it's hard to see how he'll get it given that the Bucks have no D-League team and that there's no way he will earn NBA minutes. Just not a fan of him or his game here, and wouldn't have been a fan of his even in the top-20. However, the team did select Brogdon early in the second, a tremendous pick that will likely contribute to their cause early and often as a defender and backcourt role player. Prediction: In six months we're looking at Brogdon and wondering why he fell much like we did with Norman Powell this year.
Still, taking Maker at 10 overshadows that pick.
Grabbing Maker at No. 10 is an incredible reach, one that blew the viewers at home away while probably not surprising the rest of the league all that much. Secrets don’t stick at home with NBA front offices these days, and if the rest of the league knew Milwaukee fancied Maker but wanted to trade down (there were even rumors he could slip out of the first round heading into Thursday) potential trade partners probably played enough hardball to force MKE’s hand. The proof will be in the playing.
Brogdon is not much of an outsized athlete at shooting guard, but he’ll have a chance to make the team this fall.
NBA.com's Lang Whitaker: Milwaukee is next stop in journey for Sudanese big man
Not much of an opinion piece, but a good read nonetheless.
In a world that that is increasingly interconnected, Maker can be a player for the modern age, one who is something of a citizen of the world. Maker says he hopes to speak to other NBA players of African descent, looks forward to playing for the Australian National team one day, finished his prep career in Canada, and now he will ply his trade in America's dairyland.
As inexplicable as the Papagiannis pick was, the Thon Maker pick was worse. The Kings are always going to be the Kings as long as Vlade and Vivek are in charge, but the Bucks could actually be good. You can't just throw away top–10 picks like they're nothing.
There's a way to see Maker as a case of the Bucks doubling down on the weirdness of their roster and putting together the most science–fiction lineup possible, and maybe that's how it'll play out, but I don't see it. Maker should have been a second rounder, not a top 10 pick. He has raw tools, but not many skills, and this week there were allegations that he's three years older than he claims. These are not good signs. Really, almost every move Milwaukee's made since drafting Giannis and Jabari—trading for MCW, signing Greg Monroe, trading for Grievis Vasquez, inexplicably drafting Rashad Vaughn—has been a failure. Worse, most of these moves were clearly bad ideas at the time.
Mostly, it bums me out because Giannis is absolutely for real, and Milwaukee should be one of the most entertaining teams in the league. But whoever is running things is screwing this up.
Drafting Maker at No. 10 was probably the biggest surprise of the draft. I've heard a lot of criticism on the pick, but I actually liked it.
There was no guarantee that Maker was going to be around later in the draft. He's got terrific upside and Bucks GM John Hammond has gambled in the past and won. Maker is a couple of years away, but he's got the talent, work ethic and size to be worthy of this pick someday.
I preferred Dejounte Murray here personally, but can't really argue with taking a shot on Maker. No one knows if Maker will be a star or a bust. But I think he was worth the gamble in a lower-upside draft like this.
Brogdon is sort of the opposite of Maker. He's a proven college senior who can shoot the basketball. He's not the world's greatest athlete, but I think he could be a Jared Dudley type in the NBA.
Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux's Dunc'd on Basketball Podcast: 2016 NBA Draft
Nate and Danny discuss the Maker pick in depth, and they generally viewed it favorably. Nate notes how Hammond has been known to take high upside, unknown types before in the draft, like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Jennings. The discussion begins around the 48:19 mark. Here's a few quotes, but you should probably just listen to the full clip.
Nate: I really like what he can do. I think, even soon, he'll be able to pick-and-pop for three pointers at seven foot. He's got very good feet; I think he'll be able to switch, I think he'll be good in pick-and-roll defense.
Danny: When I saw him at Prolific Prep in Napa California a couple months ago, I was absolutely transfixed by him for a simple reason: It felt like he wanted to be a guard out there. It's not the same caliber, but the guy he reminded me of was Lamar Odom [in terms of mentality] [...] I will never blame teams for making a pick that's at least intriguing.
Nate: We still don't know what the story is with the age question. Everything that you hear, it's so hard to get reliable information because everyone could have a motivation. Obviously his camp has a motivation to make him look as young as possible and other teams who want to get a steal out of him have as much motivation as possible in leaking that he's older than he actually is. I think if he actually is that age, I like the pick for them. If he's not that age, it's not gonna be too good.
Brew Hoop's Brett Abramczyk
Oh hey, that's me!
Look -- Maker's almost assuredly a reach at ten. But how much of a reach was he, and how can we truly know? Guys shoot up draft boards unexpectedly all the time, and especially in a draft that was short on intriguing high upside talent and saw a ton of chaos with drastic falls and "reaches," we just don't know enough as outsiders to know where he was actually going to go. (In fact, reports indicated that the Nets intended to snag him at 20). Still, like I said -- this was still a reach.
At the same time, John Hammond and co. clearly weren't phased by that perception. They weren't phased enough by the age issue, or by his lack of feel for the game currently, or his modest frame, or any of his question marks. And they haven't been phased by these sorts of question marks before with mystery, high upside guys they fall in love with before, either. And frankly, with how those picks have turned out in recent years, they've at least earned the patience of Bucks fans to not immediately write off the pick, just for a chance to say "I told you so" in a few years and look smart. Let's just trust they know what they're doing once again, and have some freaking fun with it. We at least owe them that.
I know next to nothing about Malcom Brogdon. People seem to like the pick, so I'll trust people.
Grade: I don't know and neither do you