With the draft just a few days away I figured it would be wise to see what we could possibly get out of this year's draft. As you all know, the Bucks will be receiving the 15th overall pick thanks to a trade that sent Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander to the Bulls for John Salmons and a pick swap. Even without this pick, I'd consider the trade a huge success.
I know I was down on our pick last year, so hopefully I can keep a more open mind this year. I love the direction the Bucks are heading and any new faces will be great for this team. As it stands now we already have a nice young core that will be together for awhile. Hopefully this year's draft can add 1-2 players that will be a solid contributor to this team as well.
As of now our lineup looks something like this:
PG: Brandon Jennings
SG: John Salmons
SF: Carlos Delfino
PF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
C: Andrew Bogut
*This is assuming all players are back again and don't leave for another team in free agency. Obviously we'll be drafting based on needs and I'm sure Hammond & Co. are in talks with Salmons to hear his thoughts on his next move.
With that in mind, I think there's a few positions we need to look at above others. We obviously have our PG and C positions figured out so you can leave those out of the draft talks. That leaves the SG, SF, and PF positions open for discussion. I would personally like to see us draft a PF in either round as we're relatively small there and could move our current PF's to the SF position.
Here's a look at a few players I could see the Bucks giving a deep look at assuming they're still on the board at #15. I realize some of these might be huge stretches but for the sake of discussion I'll throw them in.
Xavier Henry - SG
With the John Salmons situation still unknown it would be wise to consider drafting a SG in the draft. Michael Redd's time in Milwaukee is as good as over and it's time to start a new era. There's no better option at this position than Henry. Henry averaged over 13 ppg on 46% shooting in his freshman year at Kansas. He's very athletic and has the body to play this position in the NBA. Henry can also spread the floor well and has a similar style as Salmons as he's solid when cutting to the hoop. If Salmons was to leave via free agency I could see a pick such as Henry starting from day one much like Jennings did last season.
Ekpe Udoh - PF
At 6'10", Udoh is the perfect size for a PF in this league. He is a great defender (perfect since Hammond stresses defense) and would complement Bogut in the post extremely well. Udoh nearly averaged a double-double last season at Baylor with 14 ppg and just under 10 rpg. His 3.7 blocks per game is something to take note of as well. I could see us taking Udoh here as we're relatively small at the PF position. His great defense and ability to understand his role would be ideal while playing alongside Bogut.
Gordon Hayward - SF/PF
I'm not sold on Hayward as he could really be picked anywhere outside of the top half. He was a solid player for Butler and would fill a void at our forward positions. Hayward is a great shooter that could translate his game to the NBA level. While he averaged over 15 ppg last season his defense is average at best. This is something he'd have to work on if he ever wanted to see himself starting as a Buck.
Damion James - SF/PF
Unlike Hayward, James is a good defender that is also able to confuse defenders with his quickness. Averaging nearly 20 ppg on over 50% shooting last season, James looks to be a lock as a first round pick. However, he might be a reach at 15 much like Hayward. My only worry is that he'd just be another Mbah a Moute or Delfino in that he would be a solid role player but not a solidified starter for the future of the franchise.
James Anderson - SG
This would be my second choice when it comes to SG's in this year's draft (we're obviously not landing Turner). He's a defensive leader on the court who I feel could have an offensive career similar to Redd's. Anderson has had some trouble creating his own shot but has been an efficient scorer shooting 46% over his career at OSU. I feel as if the back court of Jennings and Anderson would be very exciting to watch as both can go off at anytime.
Patrick Patterson - PF
Although he recently canceled a workout with the Bucks, I still feel as if he'd be the perfect compliment to Bogut down low. Patterson is an above average defender with an NBA-ready body. His ability to knock down mid-range shots could open up the floor for the rest of the team. If he's still on the board at #15 I can't see us passing on him even though he canceled the original workout.
While it's very uncertain who the Bucks will actually draft on Thursday , there's obviously positions that need to be filled more than others. The players listed above would fill those needs and then some. They all have one thing in common as well - defense. This is something Skiles demands and I feel as if they will look to continue on that path with a player that is dedicated on both ends of the floor.
So there you have it, insight on the Bucks draft coming from someone who is aware of the team's needs and values.
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