Yesterday, we ran through the Milwaukee Bucks outlook for this draft, especially in the context of their squeezing salary cap situation and how few draft selections they’ll have in the years ahead. With few first round selections, and the expectation that even those picks will land in the late 20’s, this is going to be one of their better chances to actually get an impact player. Who will that player be? Let’s run through some of the more popular names that have been bandied about by draftniks.
ESPN (previous Mock): Day’ron Sharpe, Freshman, Center, North Carolina
I quite enjoyed watching the Wisconsin Badgers take it to Mr. Sharpe’s North Carolina Tar Heel squad in the NCAA tournament. That being said, Sharpe’s calling card is apparently his endless motor. I’m not sure why, but I’m always pretty skeptical of prospects when that’s their number one bullet point. It means he’s clearly dedicated to put the work in to improve, but I generally prefer something a bit more skill-based to be a player’s defining attribute. Still, kudos to Sharpe for his accolades at Chapel Hill, winning All-Freshman in the ACC and finishing second in Freshman of the Year awards despite coming off the bench. That’s the kind of player who will obviously understand his role.
The Athletic has him at just 56.6% shooting in half-court scenarios, a bugaboo for a big who should be hitting elite figures given his shot profile. He only attempted 14 jumpers (making two) and was at 50.5% from the free throw line. He also averaged two turnovers per game in 19 minutes, despite not having to handle the ball all that much. Still, I enjoyed some of his passing acumen, both from atop the key and in the post, where he found a few cutters.
Personal preference here, but I’m not a massive fan of taking a big with this year’s pick, especially one with as many question marks as Sharpe. I love high-motor dudes as much as the next guy, but I’m betting you could find bigs like Sharpe on the scrap heap, and I’m not sure he has the chops to turn into any semblance of a potential Brook Lopez replacement. Then again, maybe his agility and tenacity on the offensive glass mean he’ll develop into a decent player especially given he’s only 19. Here’s where he’s ranked on big boards and some highlights:
- The Ringer: 36
- The Athletic: 40
- ESPN: 31
The Athletic & Bleacher Report: Quintin Grimes, Junior, Guard, Houston
Grimes has an impressive pedigree, winning Texas Mr. Basketball, named a McDonald All-American and considered a top-ten recruit. But after hitting the NCAA levels, his career went a tad awry. At Kansas as a freshman, he averaged 8.4 points per game, with shooting splits of 38.4%/34%/60.3%; after testing draft waters that year, he wound up going back to school, transferring to Houston. He bounced back as a sophomore, but his stats don’t really climb to draftable levels until his junior year, with 17.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 2.0 apg on shooting splits of 40.6%/40.3%/78.8%.
He seems like a prototypical 3-and-D type player, although 6’5” with a 6’7” wingspan isn’t mega impressive, and the first few years of iffy shooting make me a little nervous. One thing that stands out from Sam Vecenie’s essential Athletic Draft Guide ($) is that he talks about his quick release, which would be a critical component for him to carve out any minutes among Milwaukee’s wing rotation. Pat Connaughton was an essential quick-release guy during this Playoff run. Here’s where Grimes ranks among different big boards, and a highlight video:
- The Ringer: 40
- The Athletic: 38
- ESPN: 29
Sports Illustrated (old mock): Ayo Dosunmu, Guard, Illinois
Dosunmu obviously starred for the University of Illinois’s magical run last season en route to a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, so really solid production, but did have 3.3 turnovers per game which is one apparent issue with him heading forward. The other glaring question mark is his shooting, which improved greatly his junior year (48.8%/39%/78.3%) but that was a significant jump from his 29.6% from deep as a sophomore. This last year was also his fewest 3-point attempts of any season in his career.
That could be enough to scare some folks off, but I really like his size at 6’5” with a 6’10” wingspan. I think an improved handle is very possible at the next level, and you can’t really teach that potential level of size in the backcourt. With filling out, he could be a useful piece of Milwaukee’s defensive rotation and have some switchability on wings. He can also create some off the dribble with his assist figures, and lots of the scouting reports discuss his ability to push the ball in transition off live rebounds or with hit-ahead passes. Sound useful to Bucks fans?
I know the shooting is obviously a massive question mark, and the Ringer lists his comps as “Jumbo Jrue Holiday, Delon Wright and Elfrid Payton.” If he ends up as one of the latter two, that’s a darn useful player to get at pick 31. Even though he’s older at 21, Horst has leaned towards picking players on the elder end of the age spectrum anyway, and I’d be pretty content with this selection. Big board rankings:
- The Ringer: 33
- The Athletic: 23
- ESPN: 34
ESPN (new mock): Miles McBride, Sophomore, PG, West Virginia
With a jump in his minutes during his sophomore campaign, Miles McBride vaulted to 15.9 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game on shooting splits of 43.1%/41.4%/81.3%. He stands 6’2” but boasts a massive 6’9” wingspan. Mmm...wingspan. The shooting figures are obviously solid, and his 3-point shot improved from 30% his freshman year with a higher volume to boot. The Athletic even said he was the second best on-ball defender in the class behind Davion Mitchell, which is always a selling point to Milwaukee’s front office. I’d be a little dubious of his switchability given his size, but the wingspan and some tenacity may help make up for a few of those warts.
It doesn’t sound like he’s all that great of a finisher at the rim though, so maybe he will fit in perfectly with Milwaukee’s backcourt. West Virginia even went so far as to post him up a few times. I like the combination of defensive ability and shooting though, so I’d be curious about taking a flyer on him.
- The Athletic: 22
- The Ringer: 31
- ESPN: 32
Sports Illustrated (new mock): Josh Christopher, Freshman, SG, Arizona State
Averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists per game as a freshman on shooting splits of 43.2%/30.5%/80% overall. The Athletic has some great stats about how he shot just 27.9% on his pull-ups in the halfcourt, including 31.9% in the midrange. Apparently has plenty of handle and wiggle to his game, with lots of points coming in transition. That fits what the Bucks are looking for, but I’m not sure a high-scoring transition player in college is someone I necessarily want to bet my bills on. Has a 6’9” wingspan which means he’s got the size to look the part. Has some credit as a tough shotmaker and seems like he can beat some guys off the dribble. Still young enough that there should be upside.
The Athletic: 42
The Ringer: 32
That’s a decent representation of folks mocked and/or ranked right around Milwaukee’s 31st selection. From this group, I’d probably lean most towards McBride or Dosunmu, but I’m curious who you have had your eye on. Let us know who you’d like to see Milwaukee take in the comments below!