From the sound of it, the Milwaukee Bucks will be staying put at number 12 come Thursday’s NBA Draft.
It’s difficult to ever rule out a John Hammond trade – the Bucks general manager has made deals around the NBA draft in each season of his reign – but only once has he swapped a draft pick. This year sounds as if it might be a little different and a little similar. The difference? The Bucks probably won’t be making a trade this week. The similarity? The Bucks will be holding onto their draft pick.
Just who the Bucks will take remains quite a mystery. In Chad Ford’s current version of his mock draft, he has the Bucks settling on Terrance Ross, a guard out of Washington who has refused to workout with the Bucks in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are known to covet size and the gaping hole the team has at the center position explains that. But big, athletic perimeter shooters capable of hitting 3-pointers have been few and far between in Milwaukee over the past half decade or so. Michael Redd filled the role well on one wing, but on the other, the Bucks haven’t had much.
Tim Thomas. Desmond Mason. Bobby Simmons. Ruben Patterson. Charlie Bell. Carlos Delfino.
Aside from one solid season of Richard Jefferson, the Bucks have lacked much punch opposite the two guards they’ve trotted out.
Delfino’s held down the spot over the past three seasons and teetered between adequate wing defender capable of hitting threes and occasionally getting to the basket to poor wing defender only capable of hitting threes. When the Bucks have had a shooter, he hasn’t been so spry. When they’ve had an athlete, his range has been, well, Desmond Masony.
Ross isn’t likely The Answer as a long term small forward, but he could be helpful. According to DraftExpress, he lacks the handle that the Bucks under Scott Skiles have loved to see at the small forward position, but he does have some other skills that could intrigue a Bucks team that pushed the pace whenever they could late last season.
While Ross isn’t much of a threat going to the basket with the ball in his hands in the half court, he’s still very dangerous getting to the rim in other ways, namely on cuts, offensive rebounds, and in transition. His size, speed, and terrific explosiveness make him very dangerous in all of these areas, and he shows good instincts here as well when he puts them to use.
Ford’s mock draft has Meyers Leonard, the center Milwaukee is often connected to going number nine to the Detroit Pistons. The talented but sleepy Perry Jones is slotted 15, but Ford’s quote on him has me keeping my eye on his placement:
Jones may be the toughest player in the draft to project right now. Everyone is both scared to take him and scared not to take him. I heard the same assessment from a number of NBA GMs over the past few weeks.
The Bucks have been very “Best Player Available” under Hammond and it sounds like that’s the goal again this year. If Jones is available and the big men are gone, will the Bucks throw their hands up and take a gamble with the ultra-talented, semi-positionless Jones? Going into the last year of his contract, it would be a heck of a gamble, but Hammond has never been scared to roll the dice.