Milwaukee Bucks

Analyzing Milwaukee Bucks' Biggest Draft Needs

Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Drew, right, calls in a play to Ramon Sessions (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Dave Tulis/Associated Press
Jordan RodewaldContributor IIMay 29, 2014

Despite not being the first team on the clock when draft night rolls around, the Milwaukee Bucks are still in great position to draft a franchise-changing player. Now, though, they must begin the tedious process of determining which needs outweigh others.

Once again, the draft lottery didn't work in favor of the league's worst team. That was a fact that not even now newly dubbed Internet celebrity Mallory Edens could change.

But in a draft where the talent pool is as deep as it has been in years, Bucks fans shouldn't be too concerned.

When it's their turn to pick, two of the three top talents—Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid—will still be on the board. 

And you had better believe the Bucks will take one of them. But which one?

That question is answered based on team needs, which there are certainly a lot of, but only a few stand out the most.

 

Efficient Offense

Bill Haber/Associated Press

Over the past several seasons, the Bucks haven't exactly been a well-oiled machine when it comes to producing efficiently on the offensive end.

In fact, they've been one of the worst for quite some time.

Team Field-Goal Percentage Since 2007-08
YearFG%League Rank
2013-1443.826th
2012-1343.528th
2011-1244.320th
2010-1143.030th
2009-1043.629th
2008-0944.527th
2007-0844.919th
Basketball-Reference.com

As depicted in the above table, the Bucks have had a tremendous amount of difficulty in their efforts to develop any sort of efficiency on offense.

Sure, it's true that former head coach Scott Skiles was a defensive-minded coach, but Larry Drew's teams when he was with the Atlanta Hawks were all pretty efficient, shooting 46.0 percent during his three seasons with the team.

Drew clearly knows how to put his teams in good position to score, so it's clear, then, that it's a personnel issue.

And that's why the Bucks must seek efficient scoring in this summer's draft.

Guys like Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo and Ersan Ilyasova are all primarily volume shooters, meaning they need to take a lot of shots to score. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis were the same way.

The ongoing development of John Henson and Larry Sanders should increase efficiency in the long haul, but the team needs a versatile perimeter player who can consistently shoot a high percentage.

There's a reason why 11 of 16 playoff teams shot better than the league average of 45.4 percent during the season. An efficient offense means a team's offense—more often than not—is working according to plan, and good looks are being had.

In 2013-14, the Bucks were a team that never established any sort of identity offensively. Regardless of the reasons for that, it definitely impacted the team's ability to produce effectively.

Other things like shot selection and the limitations of personnel—Mayo will never be a great attack off the dribble—factor in, of course, but that can be remedied by executing a game plan to perfection.

Long story short: The Bucks need someone who can fill it up without taking 20 shots and hitting only 40 percent of them.

 

Perimeter Defense

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

A large part of why many Bucks fans would like to see management use the second overall pick on Andrew Wiggins is because of his superb defense on the perimeter.

And it's an argument worth listening to.

For the season, the Bucks allowed their opponents to rack up 103.7 points per game on them.

If you watched them play, that shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Milwaukee has strong rim protectors in Henson and Sanders—when they're healthy—but it lacks quality defenders on the perimeter. If Mayo and Knight are constantly getting beat, it puts a lot of stress on your shot-blockers and can contribute to foul trouble.

According to TeamRankings.com, the Bucks allowed opponents to shoot 46.8 percent from the floor while giving up 42.4 points per game in the paint.

While the latter number isn't awful compared to the rest of the league, allowing opponents to hit nearly 47 percent of their shots means you're allowing too many easy looks.

Sanders and Henson combined to play in only 103 games, so there was a lack of interior presence at times. 

And while their addition would have certainly been useful, it was the guys on the perimeter who were largely to blame.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the team's best wing defender right now and should help as he continues to gain experience.

Drafting another strong one-on-one defender would only help solidify things and make the Bucks very intimidating on defense with Henson and Sanders anchoring things down low.

Ultimately, these are the two areas of biggest concern for the team as they approach draft night. The decision on whether or not to draft a player who can immediately make his impact felt on offense or defense will likely weigh heavily on the mind of general manager John Hammond.

Truthfully, with the talent in this year's draft, both routes should help improve the team immediately.

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