The Bucks lost the coin flip so they got their first round pick in the draft, instead of having their pick convey this year to Phoenix as a result of the Eric Bledsoe trade. As a result they are slotted to make the 17th selection this spring. In theory this will be the last draft that the Bucks picks will be ready to contribute when Giannis is in the final year of his current contract. Since rookies are rarely positive contributors (second year players just a little bit better), the Bucks need to hit this year to get that impact going forward. The Bucks cap situation being as dire as it is also makes it important to hit on these cost controlled assets and get contributors for close to the minimum.
Newly appointed Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has a pretty good track record of developing talent and getting the most out of his role players. We saw him get Demarre Carroll and Kent Bazemore big contracts after going through Hawks University. (I am not sure who to credit this term for, though I know the Dunc’d On guys use it a lot, more or less it was a phrase used for wing players that developed under Budenholzer) Taurean Prince came into the league raw, but last season after an offseason in Hawks University he played almost 2500 minutes, gave the Hawks solid production, and shot well from three. My point being we now have a coach I am confident will get the most out of our young players.
What do the Bucks need though?
They will return most of their rotation from last year, with the possible key exception of Jabari. We know the Bucks have long struggled at center, even though all three of the Bucks centers could return last year. (Zeller is non-guaranteed but is a good depth piece at the minimum) If a center with promising upside is available at 17 could they pursue him? That all depends on how they view “Center Giannis” and the future of Thon Maker. Snell is a guy I expect to look a lot better under Bud, and Sterling Brown looked promising as a rookie but the Bucks could still look at a 3&D swingman in the draft, you can never have too many guys like that around your stars. They could also use the pick on a lead guard, in case the Bucks let Eric Bledsoe go next summer and fail to find a replacement in free agency or trade. A forward would also make sense if they decide to let Jabari Parker walk this summer though, if Parker is coming back the need for a forward is incredibly small especially if D.J. Wilson looked anything like a future contributor in practice. Simply put the Bucks could use a player anywhere, but forward would be the lowest on their list, in my opinion.
So let us get into players, I took out the consensus top 10 from my Bucks Big Board, if any of them fall to 17 without medical red flags or serious off court red flags pick them. These ten in no order are: Bagley, Doncic, Porter, Ayton, Bamba, Sexton, Young, Carter Jr, Jackson Jr, & Mikal Bridges.
||Smith is a monster athlete and a good shooter, fits the 3&D mold well.|
|2.) Lonnie Walker (SG, Miami)||Projects to be a good shooter and defender, has good switchability on the perimeter.|
|3.) Robert Williams (C, Texas A&M)||Williams shares some similarities with former Aggie Deandre Jordan, in that he is a monster rebounder and rim protector.|
|4.) Shai-Gilgeous Alexander (PG, Kentucky)||Good combo guard prospect who projects to be a plus defender at the next level.|
|5.) Miles Bridges (SF, Michigan State)||Bridges can bring a little bit of everything to the forward spots, has solid athleticism and can shoot the ball.|
|6.) Jontay Porter (C, Missouri)||The younger brother of Michael Porter, Jontay is one of the youngest players in the draft, but in his lone season at Mizzou he showcased some shooting ability and rim protection skills.|
|7.) Kevin Knox (PF, Kentucky)||Knox can shoot the ball and uses his length to defend. Upside might not be huge but he should contribute very soon in the NBA.|
|8.) Khyri Thomas (SG, Creighton)||Thomas is the model 3&D guy, he plays a physical brand of basketball and has been a great shooter over his three years at Creighton.|
|9.) Mitchell Robinson (C, DNP)||DNP is not a school, Robinson was a 5* recruit who did not play competitive basketball last year. Despite that he should still be a first round pick thanks to his size and skill level.|
|10.) Anfernee Simons (PG, IMG Academy)||Simons thanks to a loophole is draft eligible after a year at a prep school. Simons is a bit of a project, but is a great athlete for the lead guard spot and could develop nicely.|
|11.) Shake Milton (PG, SMU)||Unlike Simons, Milton is a close to finished project. He was a good defensive player in college and shoots well. Lacks standout athleticism and that could limit him in NBA.|
|12.) Grayson Allen (SG, Duke)||As long as Allen’s antics are behind him, he can have a long NBA career. He is a good not great athlete, with good shot mechanics. Can also handle the ball a little bit in a pinch.|
Some of these guys will likely not make it to 17, but some of them will. One key thing that they almost all share is an ability to shoot, which is not only key in the modern NBA, it is essential for the Bucks. All the guys listed above should be able to contribute at some point in the near future.
We at Cream City Central will have in depth profiles on these guys and more starting next week!