I will be going through all 30 teams, grading their drafts & giving my thoughts on what should happen for that team going forward.
The Milwaukee Pterodac… err, Bucks.
Rd 1. Pick #10: Thon Maker, F/C, Canada
Wow. I almost had the balls to project Maker to the Raptors at 9, but wussed out in the end. Never did I think my home-state Bucks would swing for the fences like this. But now that I think of it, it makes sense. John Hammonds has a good track record as a drafter, taking guys like Giannis – who was an unknown with plenty of potential, but was universally considered a reach – Parker, Henson and Brandon Jennings. Clearly, he hit a home run with the Greek Freak selection, which was considered a “swinging for the fences” type of pick. So, who knows, maybe he just hit a home run with Thon? This draft was an odd one though– as it was plenty deep, but the drop off of talent was noticeable after the first few selections. This makes it the ideal draft to take a huge boom/bust player like Thon Maker. Maker clearly has upside – being a 7’1” forward/center with guard-like skills and good athleticism to boot. But questions about his real age and strength made me think that, at best, he’d be a late-first round pick. However, like previously stated, this draft is the ideal one to take a risk, and the sheer length the Bucks could feature (Giannis, Parker, Middleton, Maker, Henson – although not necessarily the starting 5) oozes with potential. If the Bucks had a D-League affiliate (or traded back to draft him), the grade would be higher, as this would really aid in Maker’s development.
Rd 2. Pick #36: Malcolm Brogdon, G/F, Virginia
This draft turned out to be a great balancing act for the Bucks. With their first pick, they select a kid (or man) that skipped college ball who looks likes like a string bean, and then they take an almost-24-year-old guard from Virginia with a proven and successful track record who will help the Bucks right away. Brogdon has great length, is a good shooter (although not a textbook jumper), and is a fantastic defender. Brogdon is a classic overachiever with great leadership qualities. The knocks against him were his lack of athleticism/quickness, and his inability to effectively create shots off the dribble. Some pundits out there believe that Malcolm will not be nearly as good in the pros, as his defensive ability won’t be as big of a strength due to his lack of athleticism/quickness. I am not one of those believers. In every draft class, there are early-second round picks, usually seniors, who vastly outperform their draft position. I see Brogdon doing that. At the very least, he’ll be an excellent backup 2/3 off of the Bucks bench.
Where the Bucks go from here:
Trade Monroe: Clearly, the Greg Monroe experiment failed, and both parties should move on. Monroe and Parker do not fit whatsoever in the frontcourt on either side of the ball. Parker is an undersized four who’s a poor defender, although he should get better, and the perfect pairing for him on that end would be a large rim-protector, which Monroe is not. Monroe is a weak defender and should be paired with someone who can help mask those deficiencies, not highlight them (maybe New Orleans?). Offensively, both cannot stretch the defenses, so floor spacing is a problem on that end. The Bucks should look to move him.
Trade MCW: Carter-Williams’ skills are completely obsolete with Giannis proving to be a much better (and longer) version of him. MCW still can’t stretch the floor, but he is a solid scorer and a good defender. He still has some upside left, and he should get to watching Shaun Livingston tape right away. The Bucks could probably trade him for a decent haul – not as much as they gave up for him – for a point guard craving team.
Make a splash: The Bucks have a whole lot of cap room, and if they can get rid of Monroe’s salary, they will have even more. The Bucks could look for a rim-protector, as they underachieved on that end this year. Possibilities include: Bismack Biyombo, Dwight Howard, Ian Mahimni, Hassan Whiteside. Otherwise, they should look for some point guard help and floor stretchers. Possibilities include: Jeremy Lin, Matthew Dellavedova, Tyler Johnson, Jarryd Bayless, Courtney Lee, Lance Stephenson, JR Smith.
Ride the ship: There have been rumors floating around suggesting that the Bucks were considering moving either Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, or both. If those rumors are in any way true, John Hammond should give his phone to DeAngelo Russell. This baffled me. These are two of the few untouchables on their roster. People forget that Khris Middleton is still young, going to be 25 in August, and is one of the best 3-and-D guards in the land – and he’s not just limited to those two things. And Parker was the #2 pick in the 2014 draft, who has shown major flashes despite an injury-riddled rookie season. Yes, the Bucks may miss the playoffs again next year, but they still have a very young roster filled with potential and length that would make Jay Bilas blow a circuit.
The Bucks vastly underperformed this past season in relation to their playoff-bound projections. However, the year wasn’t a total loss. Giannis took the reigns as the face of the franchise, all while looking like something the NBA has never seen before. Jabari had his first full year of NBA action, and looked very good – although he still must work on his defense and continue to work on his floor-stretching abilities. The future is still bright for the young Bucks – fear the deer!