Who needs the playoffs when you can get a lottery pick to improve for the future? While it would be nice to be there, it is better for the Bucks to continue to rebuild instead of settling for a poor seed. The Milwaukee Bucks had a truly disappointing season, failing to make the playoffs and shooting horribly all season. They finished with a record of 35-47.
The Bucks have two main voids to fill: they need a scorer and center to backup Bogut. In the first round, the Bucks should look at taking a scorer. Two players to have in mind are Terrence Jones and Alec Burks.
Both players would be great for the Bucks and could even take Salmons starting spot after a very disappointing season. Salmons averaged a mere 14 points per game and developing a rookie would be a better choice for the Bucks.
Let’s take a closer look at each player (Terrence Jones and Alec Burks) and see who might be a better fit for the Bucks.
Terrence Jones is a 6’8", 244 lb small forward out of the University of Kentucky. Jones averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his freshman season at Kentucky. Not only does Jones have the skill set to become a threatening presence down low but also has a killer jumper.
With the handles of a guard, Jones can blow past defenders to create an easy layup at the basket. This is the type of player the Bucks need, a guy who can do it all. When Jennings drove and kicked out to Salmons this season, it resulted in many missed jumpers but the case with Jones would be different. Jones could either shoot the jumper or pump fake and drive in for an easy two points.
Alec Burks is a 6’6", 195 lb shooting guard of Colorado University. Burks averaged 20.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season. Burks is the real deal. He is a great passer, his court vision is excellent and he can finish strongly at the rim. Having a great jump shot and being able to rebound like a forward helps too.
Yet another great quality that Burks has is his great athleticism. This is the kind of player who could change the Bucks offense into a fast break-style team. Jennings is able to run the break very well and a quick, athletic guard running with him could change other teams' outlook on the Bucks.
Which player would be better for the Bucks? Well, first off, they would both benefit the Bucks greatly, but it seems that the Charlotte Bobcats are looking solely on drafting Alec Burks. So depending on how the lottery goes, the Bucks could pick behind the Bobcats and lost the opportunity to draft Burks.
But Jones is a very skilled player as well and would still be a great pick. Yet if the Bucks picked before Charlotte, they could look to snag Burks if they so chose.
In the second round the Bucks could look to draft a center to develop but should develop Larry Sanders instead. Sanders is more of a power forward but if Bogut can stay healthy and so can Gooden, having Sanders as backup would be OK. After reading through around a dozen mock drafts, I saw one that had Washington’s Isaiah Thomas being drafted by the Bucks.
This could actually work because Earl Boykins is a free agent and the Bucks haven’t said whether or not they will re-sign him. Thomas could be the Bucks' third-string point guard, maybe even take Dooling’s spot, and then become an “Eric Maynor” for the Milwaukee Bucks (by Eric Maynor I mean a very, very talented backup point guard who can get it done off the bench).
A player that intrigues NBA scouts very much is Lucas Nogueira from Brazil. Nogueira is a very exciting 7-footer who happens to be 18 years of age and has recently declared for the 2011 NBA Draft.
Depending on how well Nogueria does in pre-draft workouts will determine whether the Bucks could draft him. If he doesn’t do too hot, he will surely slip to the second round and would be a huge steal for the Bucks. With a 7-and-a-half foot wingspan, Nogueira led the U-18 FIBA Tournament in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage last summer in San Antonio. This is the type of player to take a chance on.
If the Bucks are looking for a rebounder and a backup to Andrew Bogut, don’t forget about Moorhead State’s Kenneth Faried. Yeah, that monster that grabbed 14.5 rebounds per game last season. Not to mention the 2.3 blocks per game along with solid offense, scoring 17.3 points per game. The big problem with Faried is at 6’8" he really isn’t an NBA center. The question is, could he still be a big defensive threat in the NBA?
Whether the Bucks decided to draft Terrence Jones or Alec Burks and if they decide to draft Nogueria, Thomas or Faried, the 2011 NBA Draft should be a hopefully be a success for the Bucks. With a solid top lottery pick and another decent second round pick they should definitely obtain some talent and look to make a 2011-2012 playoff push.
Zach Herring also writes for Wisconsin Sports Talk!