As the community draft board nears its completion, the readers have spoken and opted to let two opposing big men, Nic Claxton and Bruno Fernando, take the 28/29 spots. Both represent intriguing prospects, so let’s look at each individually.
Fernando is a freak athletically, boasting a body that looks NBA ready to roll to the rim and slam on guys. Coming in at 6’10” with a wingspan over 7’3”, he has plenty of length to go with whatever slight height deficiencies he may have playing center at the next level. He has a soft touch around the rim, able to nab lob passes and entry passes alike and convert at a high clip.
The Ringer mentions his passing improved mightily as a sophomore, a boon for his potential within the Bucks’ offense where every player is expected to make the right reads at the right time. His tenacity on the boards would be a welcome addition too, even with Milwaukee’s much improved rebounding ability last season. The primary hitches in his giddy-up are a lack of consistent shooting from deep and sub-par court awareness both offensively and defensively.
It’s possible the shot will come around in the big leagues, especially given his 76.3% career mark from the free throw line. The latter bugaboos though are tough to teach. Milwaukee’s defense, while making it mildly easier for bigs to operate within, requires an intense level of intelligence and discipline. Brook Lopez had a remarkably uncanny ability at showing just enough before dropping down and using his length to deter shooters. Fernando doesn’t project as that advanced of a floor-reader, getting lost in space at times at Maryland. He struggled against double teams as well.
In contrast to Fernando’s bruising body, Nic Claxton represents a pixie stick frame but with plenty of undefined skills yet to hone. Standing nearly an inch taller than Fernando, but with a slightly shorter wingspan, Claxton weighed in around 20 pounds lighter than his tall Terrapin counterpart. Also a sophomore, Claxton’s minute total per game doubled from his first season. He was a more integral part of Georgia’s offense, able to score on grab-and-gos in transition and on the move, a rarity for guys his size.
He has ball handling potential, able to keep the ball low to the ground to avoid defenders poking it away. He even has some savvy passing skills to go with, even if it’s rudimentary stuff like passing out of the short roll. Those passes are rarely for rudimentary for big men though, so any vision in that regard would be a huge boon for any team drafting him. He’s still too skinny to work as an effective rebounder or bulldozer at the rim, expect NBA bodies to push him around for a couple seasons still. His shot is also a little suspect. He was just a 61.1% free throw shooter on over 250 attempts, and clanked in only 30.2% of his 86 3-point attempts in school. He’ll need to improve as a shooter for his dribbling skills to have a lot of benefit in the NBA, but he could still operate as an intriguing passer out of the pick-and-roll provided he doesn’t get bowled over when setting the screen.
His nimbleness as a defender is really what could set him apart. With length and athleticism that can deter defenders all over the court, he seems like someone more fit to operate within the Bucks scheme with the potential to patrol the paint or switch out eventually. He’s got that recovery speed to the rim where he blocks guys from behind too. You just can’t teach that.
Two big men, two pretty different skill sets. Fernando seems like a ready made energy guy with a little potential to improve as a shooter but a relatively limited ceiling. Claxton strikes me as someone who will need more seasoning and tutelage, but has the pure athleticism and skills to operate as a more fully-formed big within the increasingly demanding skill set required of the position. If I were the Bucks, I’d bet on Claxton.
At last, we’ve reached the final poll of this lengthy endeavor. Make your choice for who should be number 30 on our board, and by extension, who the Bucks might pick if they were purely going by best player available.
My pick for the #30 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Talen Horton-Tucker - SF, Iowa State
Jontay Porter - C, Missouri
Luka Samanic - PF, Union Olimpija
Jalen McDaniels - PF, San Diego State
KZ Okpala - SF, Stanford
Mfiondu Kabengele - PF, Florida State
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
- Coby White - SG, UNC
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
- P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
- Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
- Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
- Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
- Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Virginia Tech
- Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
- Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
- Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky
- Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
- Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington
- Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
- Carsen Edwards - SG, Purdue
- Bruno Fernando - C, Maryland
- Nic Claxton - C, Georgia