So...this is awkward. After counting up from #11 and on for this annual Community Draft Board, we finally reached the Milwaukee Bucks selection at #24 and...now they don’t have it. Thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade, we don’t have to care about this pick, or a whole bunch of first round draft picks for Milwaukee stretching to the latter half of this decade. But gosh darnit, you all put in a lot of time to this thing, so we’re going to close it out now with the final pick. At 24, the selection was Aleksej Pokusevski.
Rail-thin, unreasonably tall and boasting guard skills? You guessed it, it’s our first tall Euro center in this exercise in Pokusevski. He follows in a long tradition of skinny, tall white Euros who ooze potential on film, and Pokusevski certainly has the tall part down at 7’0” with a 7’3” wingspan. Obviously, the first deficiency that will hit him in the NBA is his lack of strength, weighing in at merely 201. He only just turned 18 earlier this year though.
Tankathon.com lists his 3-point percentage at 32.1% with a 78% free throw percentage. In the highlights, his shot seems solid enough for someone his size. Like most players his size, that will probably determine whether he’ll become a viable player in the league. His post skills and work in the paint will largely be dependent on if he can add weight; at this point, I expect he would get clobbered by NBA bigs.
What does seem impressive is his fluidity for a 7-footer with the ball in his hands. Comparing him to a past Buck draftee like Thon Maker, there is a clear confidence, floor vision and dribbling skill that was never there with Thon. Pokusevski regularly looks like a guard with a handle that looks cavalier but seems more like someone completely comfortable handling the ball. There are a couple clips in the video below where he sees teammates cross-court and nimbly passes it with his height and vision over defenders. Other times, he can make flip passes as he drives into the lane. Those type of skills will be harder to implement in the NBA where athletes will stick their hands in passing lanes or recover for a cross-court pass, but the floor vision is what’s important, and he has it.
I’m curious how he’ll translate defensively, where off the bat he’s assured to get pushed around by NBA fours or fives. He blocks a couple of shorter players in the highlights above, but he doesn’t seem like an elite rim blocker unless he adds strength. Many of the scouting reports list him as a solid defender, and Spencer Pearlman at The Stepien points out that he’s played all across the court in Europe. If he can harness his fluidity as an athlete on the defensive end as well, he could be a versatile defender capable of guarding smaller players at the NBA level.
I went in pretty skeptical of Pokusevski, probably due to some of the Dragan Bender comparisons, but it sounds like the Denver Nuggets are enamored with him right now. Given their pedigree with late round selections and scouting history with someone like Jokic, I would’ve been happy with the Bucks taking a flyer on him here if they had kept the pick. But alas...
And so ends another edition of our Community Draft Board. Once again, the Bucks have completely pulled the rug out from under us at the last minute, jettisoning their first round selection. Still, it’s always fun to run through the prospects and hear everyone’s diverse opinions here. Thanks for everyone that followed along. Now, let’s start scouting second rounders for those #42 and #60 selections!
Final 2020 Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
- LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
- James Wiseman, C, Memphis
- Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
- Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
- Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
- Killian Hayes, PG, France
- Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
- Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
- Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
- Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
- Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
- Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
- Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
- Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
- Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
- Saddiq Bey, PF, Villanova
- Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
- Theo Maledon, PG, France
- RJ Hampton, PG
- Josh Green, SG, Arizona
- Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
- Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
- Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Serbia