For the fourth consecutive year, the Bucks controlled the final selection in the NBA Draft. In 2022, they bought pick 58 (two spots earlier due to forfeited second-round picks by two teams—including the Bucks themselves—for tampering) from Indiana to select Hugo Besson. In 2021, they traded pick 31 for two late second-rounders and used number 60 on Georgios Kalaitzakis. In 2020, they reacquired their own selection at 60—traded for Nikola Mirotic a year prior—in the Jrue Holiday trade and chose Sam Merrill.
This year, the Bucks had the draft’s last pick by virtue of their leading regular-season record, again at 58 by virtue of two other teams losing their seconds due to tampering. Joining this illustrious list of last picks in the NBA Draft tonight is Kentucky’s Chris Livingston.
After finding an NBA fit when shut down two weeks ago, Kentucky freshman Chris Livingston’s landing spot: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 58, sources said. The final pick of the 2023 NBA draft. https://t.co/XzIUpMDlWv— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2023
Earlier in the month, notorious agent Rich Paul—who famously represents LeBron James—apparently began canceling workouts scheduled for Livingston, causing speculation he had a draft promise from a team. That elicited two fun takes from our sister sites in the Southeast Division, but everyone heeded Paul’s warning, and it turns out that promising team may have been the Bucks.
Naturally, as a client (klient?) of Klutch Sports, he’s from Akron, OH. A five-star recruit coming out of the legendary high school hoops program Oak Hill Academy in 2022, he headed to Lexington, where he was naturally a one-and-done. In 34 games (26 starts) with the Wildcats, he averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 0.7 APG on .429/.305/.722 shooting.
Just like the Bucks’ other selection of the evening Andre Jackson Jr., Livingston stands 6’6” and comes from a blue blood program. However, the former McDonalds’s All-American is more of a wing thanks to his 6’11” wingspan. Those tools, his athleticism, and 220-pound frame project as someone who might be able to contribute defensively at the next level,but clearly his shot is a ways off. John Calipari kept tabs on his former player through the workout process last month and had some very nice words to say after doing so:
Had a chance to watch @_chrisliv24 work out today and WOW!! He got so much better for us by the end of the year and he looks like he’s taken another leap forward.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 9, 2023
Chris is one of the most driven, caring, smart kids I’ve ever coached. I absolutely love him.
I’m not sure that Cal has ever been that effusive about a former player immediately after said player left—as many have over the years, of course—but that’s some ringing praise for a 19-year-old. Obviously, Livingston comes from a strong pedigree at his last two schools, but dropping from one of the top 15 or so prospects in your recruiting class to the final pick in the draft is quite a fall.
It remains to be seen whether or not Livingston will sign a standard NBA contract or a two-way, but given trends of the last few years with late second-rounders, such as the Bucks’ selection of Sandro Mamukelashvili in 2021, it seems likely he’ll take a two-way spot. Either way, I’m sure he’ll join Jackson in Las Vegas next month for Summer League.
Welcome to Milwaukee, Chris! Glad your name doesn’t start with a K!