Today, the NBA gets to drafting once again. One year removed from their highly anticipated and entirely predictable (in a good way!) selection in the wake of the worst season in franchise history the Bucks are in a much different position. After a surprisingly successful first season under Jason Kidd and the new ownership group, the Bucks have climbed out of the lottery. They’ll select 17th on Thursday night, their lowest pick coming into draft day in what feels like forever.
Actually, the Bucks traded so many first round picks in the early 2000s that it’s hard to look back and find the last time they entered the draft with a first round pick past 15. The Bucks have been at 15 a couple of times over the past few years and came away with both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Larry Sanders. Tobias Harris went 19 to Milwaukee after they traded down. But it’s been since the early part of the 2000s that the Bucks came into the draft with a pick lower than 15. Year after year it seemed like the Bucks from 2000-2004 ended up moving their first round pick for the Jamal Magloires and Aleksandar Radojevics of the world. Yes, Radojevic.
The Bucks spent a first round pick to unload Williams (who was really good for them!), so they could free up a spot for Anthony Mason. That did not work out.
Enough about Milwaukee’s dreadful draft history, because the recent past hasn’t been bad at all. Brandon Jennings (kind of), Larry Sanders, Tobias Harris, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo were all mid-first round picks whose production at least lived up to their draft slot. John Hammond’s recent work has been strong. Whether or not he’ll have the same voice with Jason Kidd quite obviously playing a significant role in Milwaukee’s personnel decisions remains to be seen. If there’s anything Hammond has nailed as Milwaukee’s GM though, it’s been the draft.
The Bucks brought in just under 40 players for workouts this season. Of that group, about a dozen or so are projected to be drafted according to Draft Express right now:
|Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (F, Arizona)||16|
|Bobby Portis (F, Arkansas)||17|
|Jerian Grant (G, Notre Dame)||19|
|Rashad Vaughn (G, UNLV)||22|
|R.J. Hunter (G, Georgia State)||23|
|Montrezl Harrell (F, Louisville)||24|
|Justin Anderson (G, Virginia)||26|
|Kevon Looney (F, UCLA)||27|
|Terry Rozier (G, Louisville)||30|
|Mouhammadou Jaiteh (C, France)||38|
|J.P. Tokoto (F, North Carolina)||41|
|Christian Wood (F, UNLV)||48|
|Olivier Hanlan (G, Boston College)||50|
Draft Express has the Bucks taking Portis at 17. Chad Ford’s mock draft 7.0 has Portis going to the Hawks at 15 and Trey Lyles falling to the Bucks at 17. Meanwhile, NBADraft.net has Milwaukee ending up with Rashad Vaughn.
A consensus hasn’t quite formed about who the Bucks will end up with Thursday night. It’s nearly impossible to project with any accuracy whose name Milwaukee will phone over to Adam Silver before he takes the stage at 17. There are too many directions teams above them could go to know who is going to be available when it’s time for Milwaukee to pick. Hammond recently told reporters the Bucks are working on pairing their target list to four or five guys but said that the team would not limit itself to players who came in for a workout.
What if Willie Cauley-Stein and his fractured foot are still available? What if Frank Kaminsky or Sam Dekker turn out not to be the lottery locks many expect? What if Kevon Looney sends a passionate series of text messages to the Bucks about how much it would mean to him to play for his hometown team? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS ON DRAFT NIGHT.
We can do nothing but wait and see. Until the time comes tonight, we’ll have to watch Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter feed; take in the rumors, both crazy and logical, and dream about who the Bucks will end up with and what sort of difference he’ll make.