While the first day of workouts featured a plethora of guards, Thursday’s edition skewed more toward the forward position. Four of the six players brought in are listed at 6’8’’ or above and generally considered forwards in the NBA.
However, I do not think Larry Sanders has much to worry about, as none of the forwards at the workout, outside of Tyler Honeycutt, are even considered second round picks by draft analysts.
According to Bucks.com, Bucks Director of Scouting Billy McKinney agreed with that assertion, admitting Honeycutt was the most prominent player visiting the team Thursday, as well as the one that will go highest in the draft.
Like every NBA team, the Bucks still have to perform their due diligence and bring in as many players as possible in search of a diamond in the rough.
A possible hidden gem from Thursday was Croatian Tomislav Zubcic. With his country of origin, slick outside shooting and 6’10’’ frame, it is hard not to think of former Buck Toni Kukoc when you see Zubcic in action. McKinney said he watched the 21-year-old at the Nike Hoop Summit and observed he is a “very good outside shooter.”
While the Bucks worked out their first true international prospect yesterday, the team also continued one of its traditions. As is becoming common, Thursday’s workout featured a couple of players with ties to the state. Rahmon Fletcher, UW-Green Bay graduate, and Diante Garrett, a Milwaukee native, followed in the footsteps of players like Dominic James, Trevon Hughes and Joah Tucker, who played at Marquette, Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee respectively.
Both Fletcher and Garrett were excited to work out in familiar territory.
“Whenever you can work out for a team that’s close to where you went to school at is a plus,” Fletcher said. “They’re a good organization and I’m kind of used to the city as well so it was just a pleasure to be here.”
Garrett even said he was a Bucks fan…when the team was good.
“I was a Bucks fan when the big three was here, Sam Cassell, Big Dog and Ray Allen. I always watched those guys,” he said. “I always liked the Lakers because of Kobe Bryant, but I always watched the Bucks too.”
Whether Fletcher or Garrett buck the trend and actually get drafted by the team remains to be seen.
*** Tyler Honeycutt ***
As McKinney said, Honeycutt was the player everyone was there to see at Thursday’s workout. Projected to go 23rd by DraftExpress and 24th by NBAdraft.net, he was by far the highest ranked player at the Cousins Center.
While players ultimately get judged by their play on the court, what they say off of it also plays a huge role. Potential draftees have to say the right things to sell themselves to NBA teams. When asked why he would be a good fit for Milwaukee, Honeycutt sold himself as a Swiss Army knife.
“Being a long, versatile wing, being able to guard multiple positions, protect the rim, rebound. I try to do everything,” he said.
It appeared Honeycutt studied up on the Bucks’ before his workout, as what he said clearly gels with Scott Skiles’ philosophy. Honeycutt can back up his talk thanks to a 6’9’’ wingspan that allowed him to lead the Pac-10 in blocks last season.
Honeycutt’s touted defensive prowess is great and a team can never have enough versatile defenders, but we all know the Bucks are already an above average defensive team. What the team could really use is another outside threat to help stretch opposing defenses. It remains unclear whether Honeycutt has the sweet stroke Milwaukee craves, as he shot 40.6 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from behind the 3-point line as a sophomore at UCLA. While those numbers are not outstanding, McKinney has faith in Honeycutt’s jump shot.
“He’s a tremendous athlete as some of the highlight reels will show, but he’s also a very good outside shooter,” he said.
If you take McKinney’s advice and watch some Honeycutt highlight reels, you will probably notice right away he is a skinny guy. At 6’8’’ and only 190 lbs, it goes without saying Honeycutt could use a little bulk. McKinney echoed that sentiment.
“One of the things that he’ll have to do at his position of a small forward, as most players have to do coming out of college, is put on a little weight and get a little stronger,” he said.
If Honeycutt is able to add even a little muscle and if the Bucks trade down in the draft, it is easy to see him getting minutes due to his defensive ability. I can see Skiles salivating at the opportunity to roll out a frontcourt of Honeycutt, Luc Mbah a Moute and Andrew Bogut. While that lineup may be Skiles’ dream come true, it could turn into a fan’s nightmare if Honeycutt’s offensive game does not develop. Tough defense with rough offense, doesn’t that sound familiar?
Quote of the Day:
McKinney on Honeycutt’s strength: “It’s a physical game and you’re going to play against guys who are 6-8 and outweigh you by 20, 30 pounds. You don’t have to be muscle-bound but you do have to get stronger.”
Josh Hilgendorf is a contributor to the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook (right sidebar).