UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn celebrates a 71-67 victory over Arizona after an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

Reaction to Bucks’ Draft Pick

The Milwaukee Bucks selected Rashad Vaughn with the 17th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, a shooting guard out of UNLV. Vaughn wasn’t even one of the ten players I had identified as a potential picks for the Bucks, which shows how much I know and indicates how crazy draft night can truly get in the NBA. He only played 23 games in college as a freshman before going down with a knee injury, so we don’t have a huge sample size to look at. That said, let’s see what the Bucks might have in Vaughn.

Strengths 

  • Youth and upside (only 18)
  • Good 3-point shooter (38% as a freshman)
  • Athleticism
  • Diverse scorer, can create shots and get to the rim
  • Work ethic

The Bucks’ front office must have been salivating at Vaughn’s offensive ability. He can shoot the three at NBA range, but he can also create shots for himself all over the court. Vaughn proved he’s an able finisher at the rim and showed flashes of a nice floater. He’s not overly explosive, but he’s athletic enough to play the “2” guard, and he has the right size to fit in at the next level. His athleticism will allow him to run the fastbreak well with Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis and Jabari Parker.

The Bucks clearly need shooting and spacing, especially to pair with MCW in the backcourt, and Vaughn brings both of those things in bunches. He comes into a nice situation behind (hopefully) Khris Middleton and OJ Mayo at shooting guard, which should allow him to ease into the pace of the NBA without high expectations right away. Scouts see him as an above-average rebounder for a two (4.8 RPG as a freshman), which is an area the Bucks could stand to improve in. Vaughn was a five-star recruit in high school and, for what it’s worth, his coach Dave Rice said “he’s an unbelievable kid who plays hard every day, who’s coachable, takes everything to heart and just wants to be good.” He’s in your hands now, Mr. Kidd.

Weaknesses

  • Poor free-throw shooting (69.4% as a freshman)
  • Ordinary wingspan
  • Shot selection
  • Needs to pass more

The good thing is that most of the flaws in his game are common in players of his age, so he has plenty of time to correct them, especially under the guidance of Kidd. He won’t be the center of an offense for a while in the pros, so he’ll be forced to take smarter shots and pass the ball. If he doesn’t, playing time will be hard to come by at 19. His wingspan is 6’7” which isn’t actually a weakness, but it doesn’t fit well in the Bucks’ aggressive switching scheme. Vaughn showed good footwork and lateral quickness on defense, which is why I didn’t mark it as a weakness. That said, he didn’t seem to have the constant drive and motor on that side of the court which absolutely has to improve, and probably will with Kidd calling the shots.

69.4% is simply not acceptable from the line for a score-first shooting guard. Luckily, that’s fixable for someone with a good shooting stroke, which he clearly has. If Vaughn can improve here and learn to be a more willing passer, a more mature shot taker and willing to give consistent effort on the defensive end, Vaughn could be a very good pick for the Bucks. The problem some scouts have is that they view him more as a glorified role player than a go-to scorer. It’s up to Vaughn to prove them wrong. His offensive ability saw him rocket up draft boards late in the year, so it’s possible the Bucks got a steal. It’s also possibly they now have two OJ Mayo’s on the roster. I thought the Bucks should have taken Bobby Portis 17th. Only time will tell, but I really hope John Hammond proves me wrong.

Other Thoughts on the Draft:

  • I’m not going to review every pick in the draft, but I have strong opinions on several selections. I’m very happy for D’Angelo Russell; he’ll get to learn from Kobe and he didn’t get drafted by the Sixers. That’s like winning the lottery and then never getting kicked in the nuts for the rest of your life.
  • I like the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor combo on both ends of the court assuming Jahlil can develop his jumper and that he doesn’t become depressed playing in Philadelphia. It was the right pick for the Sixers, but what happens when (or if) Embiid comes back is beyond me.
  • Knicks fans are the worst. That said, it would be the most Knicks thing EVER for Porzingis to be the next Darko. I think he’s closer to Dirk than he is Milicic. Most people forget that, even though he is a project, he was already an effective player in the second-best basketball league in the world.
  • Finally some offense in Orlando with Hezonja (pronounced Heh-zone-yah, not Hey-zon-gah like Jalen Rose said). Potential future there with Payton, Oladipo, Hezonja, Gordon and Vucevic.
  • The Kings are a mess. Is Cauley-Stein Boogie’s new sidekick or replacement?
  • Ty Lawson will be traded.
  • Very happy for Frank The Tank. Not sure of the fit in Charlotte but they need spacing and Big Al is obviously not a part of the future.
  • Justise Winslow could absolutely be the steal of the draft at #10. It feels like a crime that he felt that far. He’s only 19! If Wade stays, the Heat have to be a top-six team in the East if they can retain Dragic.
  • Trey Lyles makes sense off the bench in Utah for me. Could pair with Derrick Favors and/or Rudy Gobert well. They have a solid core moving forward.
  • Solid value for the Suns with Devin Booker at 13. Best shooter in Phoenix since Nash.
  • Oubre makes a lot of sense in Atlanta if they think DeMarre Carroll is going to walk. This should mean they focus more on re-signing Paul Millsap. Well, it made sense until they traded him for Tim Hardaway Jr., who I still believe in.
  • Very confused by the Terry Rozier pick for the Celtics. They have a slew of young guards in Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young and Avery Bradley. Rozier also could have been available when they selected 28th. I trust Danny Ainge, but this one confused me a lot.
  • Happy for Dekker. He’ll be a nice fit off the bench in Houston where he won’t have the high expectations that followed him like a shadow in Madison. Downside: he now plays with Harden and Dwight.
  • Delon Wright makes a lot of sense in Toronto since they traded Grievis Vazquez to the Bucks. He’s a good defender who can back up Lowry nicely. They need defense.
  • Bobby Portis could be the steal of the second half of the first round; he’s one of the most NBA ready players in the draft. That said, I don’t think he’s a great fit with the current construction of the Bulls roster. They already have Pau, Noah, Gibson and Mirotic. One of those guys could be on the move.
  • Hollis-Jefferson could be a great pick for the Blazers. He’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist but 20 spots later.
  • The Spurs love to take unknown foreign players. This pick probably has to do with Tiago Splitter potentially departing.
  • Larry Nance Jr. was a huge reach for the Lakers in the first round. He was probably drafted because of his dad’s dunking chops, or maybe because of this play.
  • The Celtics now officially have too many guards. I guarantee Danny Ainge has some trades planned.
  • The Warriors got Kevon Looney because life isn’t fair.

Sources:

http://www.nba.com/draft/2015/prospects/rashad_vaughn?ls=iref:nba:draft:tracker

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Rashad-Vaughn-71472/

https://nbccollegebasketballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/2unlv.jpg?w=635&h=382

2 thoughts on “Reaction to Bucks’ Draft Pick

  1. Thoughts on the Spurs pick: I think it has a lot to do with saving both cap space and a roster spot. Rumors are Duncan and Ginobili will sign two year contracts & decline a 2nd yr player option in order to spread out their final year’s salary and clear even more space for this summer. Splitter is under contract through the 2016-17 season so I don’t think it has to do with his departure anytime soon. It’s also clear LMA is seriously testing the FA market and the Spurs know this.

    Clearly, I follow the Spurs too much, but had to drop that info. Otherwise loved the article! Keep posting Bucks coverage man!

    Like

    • Mike, first off, thanks for the support! We really appreciate it, and though we focus on Wisconsin sports we definitely plan to continue bringing coverage on the entire league.

      In hindsight I think you’re absolutely correct. This pick is probably someone the Spurs can stash in Europe to save cap room and a roster spot and also let him develop more. He seems like the kind of player who would be a nice rotation-piece in the Spurs’ system, a smart player who can defend the rim and pass well for his position.

      That said, even if Tim and Manu take team-friendly deals, which they probably will, I still think you guys will have a bit of roster turnover next year to make room for LA. He would be a wonderful fit in San Antonio and at this point they seem to be the frontrunner. I trust Buford and Pop to figure it out, as I’m sure you do too.

      Like

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