Two things have appeared clear about the Milwaukee Bucks upcoming draft long before they began workouts on Wednesday.
1. Guards and wings are a primary need
2. They aren’t drafting a starter
Perhaps I’m being a bit presumptuous on both accounts, but when weighing all of the things John Hammond has said since the end of last season, using logic to look at the roster and assessing the team’s performance last season. The organization has been fairly open that they believe in this roster more than most and attribute most of last season’s struggles to injuries and the general unfamiliarity those injuries bred on a team with so many new faces. But even the most optimistic among us can’t deny that the Bucks significantly lacked athleticism, creativity and shooters offensively, especially on the wings.
Bucks Director of Scouting Billy McKinney spent some time talking to reporters Wednesday about those needs according to Bucks.com.
“We have latitude at 10 to go with a player at several different positions; whether it’s a backup point or combo guard or wing player or combination wing player, but definitely outside shooting will be something that we’ll look at and we need to address,” he said.
But the combination of a starting lineup full of veterans and a draft class many consider weak, it’s unlikely the Bucks are going to find an answer to their prayers with the number 10 pick. McKinney attempted to play off the strength of the draft class yesterday, but appeared to contradict himself within sentences of each other.
“I think it’s going to be a good draft that will yield players that are good role players and every team needs them,” he told reporters at Wednesday’s workout according to Bucks.com.
And that seems like an accurate assumption. This is a draft of role players. There’s nothing wrong with that in a sense — every team needs role players. But better drafts aren’t built on role players. Better drafts have superstars peppering the lottery. This doesn’t appear to be one of those drafts.
Worst of all, Milwaukee has already filled its role player quota. At number 10, a legitimate starter would be ideal, another Brandon Jennings pick if you will. But players like Jennings, guys shrouded in some mystery with big time upside, don’t fall too far in drafts with few sure things.
*** Marcus Morris ***
Morris headlined Wednesday’s workout and said everything you’d expect of him. Milwaukee reminds him of Kansas because both towns are small with similar traffic patterns. He can envision himself here. Drew Gooden went to Kansas. He has a twin and it will bum them out when they aren’t playing together. Same old, same old. What was vaguely interesting was the conversations with both Morris and McKinney regarding the forward’s position. Oddly enough, Morris feels most prepared defensively to play both the three and the four.
““I definitely see me being able to play both forward positions, I mean not today. I have a lot to work on,” he said. “I have to get quicker, have to get down a little more to chase those guys around, but when the time comes and the season starts and you get in better shape and things like that, I think I can play both forward positions on the defensive end first.”
The biggest adjustment most small power forwards moving to the wing have to make is the defensive adjustment. Threes and fours in college can’t compare athletically to their counterparts in the NBA. Keeping up with Kevin Durant can’t be taught at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
But McKinney mentioned his offense as small forward ready.
“With some of the smaller lineups,” McKinney said, “I can envision him playing the power forward position, but he’s also good enough with his ball handling skills out on the floor that he can play some small forward position as well.”
Ultimately it’s all just talk, but I have an inkling that in the unlikely event that Morris were selected by the Bucks, he would have a much more difficult time proving he can defend the three than he may think right now. Maybe he has enough ball handling skill, but on a team that saw both Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts see an extensive amount of time on the final seat on the bench, it’s hard to believe Morris would be able to step in and log any useful minutes at that position.
Quote of the Day:
Morris on Scott Skiles: “I haven’t talked to him yet. Hopefully he likes me, because I like him.”
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook (to the right).