As we close in on the three week mark until the 2009 NBA Draft, camps and interviews are in full swing, and teams are making notes about players that they like and do not like.
Sitting at the No. 10 spot, the Milwaukee Bucks will have many options to improve its 34-48 squad from last year. Injuries to stars Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut hurt Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, but a good draft—and a healthy offseason—will do wonders for the team.
The Bucks will have to make decisions on free agents Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, and the draft could affect what they do.
Potentially waiting at the No. 10 pick will be Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn. The 6'0" sophomore has seen his stock rise since attending the combine in Chicago and is looking more and more like a surefire lottery pick. If he makes it to Milwaukee, there is no reason for general manager John Hammond to pass on the next big point guard in the NBA.
Flynn has all the tools you look for in a point guard, starting with leadership. Despite being in just his second season at Syracuse, Flynn took a leadership role and was the main reason for the Orange’s success last year.
Over the last couple of years, the NBA has seen the point guard position take precedence as the spot to build a franchise around. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo have all been examples of this new trend.
For the Bucks, Flynn would step in right away as the starting point guard. Helping make the transition would be a veteran group of players in Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva.
He would not be joining a young squad full of potential, where he would need to take over games and try to do too much (which he is guilty of at times). Instead, he would rather play within the offense and have help doing so.
Flynn remains the most sure thing in the draft among point guards in this year’s draft. As a sophomore, Flynn is actually one of the older guards in the draft.
In ESPN’s GM rankings of the top 13 point guards, just Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Eric Maynor, Darren Collison, and Toney Douglas were older than him.
The good part is that Flynn is older, not old. He is just 20 years old and still has a ton of experience. He has not been to three Final Fours, like Collison, and he has not played overseas, like Brandon Jennings.
However, he has played two full seasons in the rough 'n' tough Big East and carried a team on his shoulders to the NCAA Tournament.
Flynn measured out at 6'0" tall in shoes and had a 6′4″ wingspan, which gave a lot of GMs good reason to believe that he is big enough to succeed in the NBA.
The only thing you could possibly knock Flynn on is his size. But his decent size— comparable to Chris Paul’s—seems to get the job done. Flynn also had the highest vertical leap of anyone at the draft camp, being the only one to reach 40 inches on his jump.
When I watch Flynn play, he reminds me a lot of San Antonio’s Tony Parker. While Parker has two inches on Flynn, his jumping ability makes up for the size disadvantage.
Both go to the hole with a great sense of speed, direction, and ability to find open teammates.
Flynn got to the foul line six times a game, compared to Parker’s five trips per game, and both do most of their damage in the paint.
An added bonus in Flynn’s arsenal is his outside shot. Despite driving to the paint on most of his offensive touches, he has some ability to shoot the three when necessary.
Also, Flynn has about 15 pounds on Parker and is a lot more physical. While he has the ability to put finesse in his game, he will come right at you and draw a foul.
Don’t let his size fool you; his competitiveness drives him and he does not back down from anyone.
Flynn is as complete of a point guard as any team will find in this year’s draft. International players (Rubio, Jennings) are far from being a sure thing, and Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are one-year wonders from their respective colleges.
There are question marks on whether or not Stephen Curry will be able to play good enough defense in the NBA, and there are more questions about Ty Lawson’s size than Flynn’s.
With such an array of good outside shooters (Redd and Jefferson) and big men with mid-range games (Villanueva and Bogut), Flynn could do wonders in the Bucks’ offense.
With such good shooters on the perimeter, getting a guy that can run the floor like Flynn will create open shots on the break and lead to a much more efficient offense.
Rajon Rondo’s play in Boston comes to mind when thinking about the way Flynn runs the break. His first look is to get right to the hole, but he always knows where his players are (Ray Allen).
Flynn also excels when he slows the ball down and runs the half-court offense. At Syrcause, Flynn saw a lot of zone defense that allowed him to penetrate to the basket but not finish because of defenses collapsing.
When Flynn gets to the NBA, he is going to see a lot more man-to-man defenses and is going to be quicker than most of the counterparts he matches up against on a nightly basis. His ability to finish at the rim and draw fouls will go a long way to making him successful.
Scott Skiles loves a good point guard and Flynn can be the man for the job. Of the “young” point guards in the draft, Flynn is the most NBA-ready and can step in and help right away for a Bucks team that is not that far away from a breakout year.
Ramon Sessions has showed flashes of being a very good point guard in the league, but I still doubt whether he can handle the starting gig all year.
If he does not decide to re-sign with the Bucks, Flynn becomes the best option to start for the Bucks next year. The Bucks have longed for a star point guard that has the fire and passion Flynn does.
The Bucks will look at all their options and decide which point guard they like best and even hope a power forward like Jordan Hill falls to them.
However, if Flynn is available at the 10th pick, it would make all the sense in the world to make him a Milwaukee Buck.