Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond once said the Bucks are not in “rebuild” mode, but rather building its young team together in hopes to one day bring a championship-pursuing roster.

When asked about his vision for the future, Hammond told the Journal Sentinel, “We like our young players; we still believe in these young players. We believe these young players as a core can become that team. We just might need to be a little patient as we get to that point. You don’t go out and add a player like Greg Monroe and say we’re not trying to be competitive, and sign Khris Middleton back and make a trade for Greivis (Vasquez), some of the things that we did.”

Hammond may be on his way out with his contract up, but it is still evident that the future is not now. With this season in the books – the Bucks finished 16 games below .500 and missed the playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons – it can be easy to wonder how much longer this core group of guys will stick around in Milwaukee. Certainly the talent is there, the problem is getting this team to mesh together and believe in one another.

As the Bucks prepare to head home for the offseason, it becomes time to start to think about what next season’s squad will look like. Milwaukee had high expectations this year and saw glimpses of greatness, not only from the team, but individual players as well. The Bucks will have another lottery pick to add to their repertoire, with the NBA Draft website predicting Milwaukee to have the ninth overall pick.

Let us take a look at what the Bucks roster could look like next year.

Point Guard

Big things were expected from Michael Carter-Williams this year, as the Bucks used a bold move last season to bring him into Milwaukee, molding him into the “Own the Future” theme with the rest of the young guys. It became clear it was a problem having Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker all on the floor together, as neither player had an established jump shot, making it easy for teams to pack in the lane on defense.

The Bucks also went out and got Greivis Vasquez to mix in with Carter-Williams and Jerryd Bayless. Following injuries to Vasquez and Carter-Williams this season, the point guard spot became a little thin, forcing Jason Kidd to use second-year player Tyler Ennis more, as well as putting Giannis at the point guard spot.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Vasquez and Bayless are set to become free agents after this year, while Carter-Williams still has another year left on his deal. Due to the success we have seen from Giannis at the point guard spot, Kidd has already named him the point guard going into next year. We do not know if this will be a permanent spot for Giannis or just something the Bucks will be trying out. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what will be done with the other point guards on the team. Vasquez and Bayless both offer veteran experience, while Carter-Williams was once looked at as the guy who will be the point guard for years to come.

Prediction: The Bucks will look to shop Carter-Williams for the right price. MCW is still 6’6″ with tremendous length and quickness and is not someone you just want to give away. Expect Milwaukee to re-sign either Vasquez or Bayless (likely Bayless). Giannis will start at point guard to begin with either Carter-Williams or Vasquez/Bayless coming off the bench and ready to take over the starting spot if the Giannis experiment does not pan out.

2016-17 depth chart: Giannis, Carter-Williams, Bayless/Vasquez, Ennis

Shooting Guard

OK, so who is the Bucks’ shooting guard? Anyone know? Throughout the season, Khris Middleton took the reigns of that title most of the time, starting at the two spot. Hoping to get big contributions from O.J. Mayo and rookie Rashad Vaughn, there really was not much coming from the shooting guard position from anyone other than Middleton.

With Middleton able to perform at both the two and three spot, any free agent signings Milwaukee runs with will determine Middleton’s starting role next year. While you would like to see the Bucks’ biggest perimeter threat at shooting guard, there also some attractive free agents that could fit into the offense well that would push him to small forward.

We can anticipate O.J. Mayo will likely test the waters of free agency, and ultimately sign elsewhere, leaving an opening for either a draft pick or a free agent signing. With Milwaukee projected to get a top ten pick, a shooting guard would not be a bad idea to go with in round one. Although not likely to fall to Milwaukee, guards Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) and Jamal Murray (Kentucky) would be a great fit for a Bucks team that struggled to shoot the three ball this year. If current mock drafts hold up, the Bucks would miss out on Murray and Hield and have the possibility of taking Jaylen Brown (California), who could very well play shooting guard or small forward at 6’7″. Of course these draft picks would likely not start right away, but they would complement Middleton and Vaughn very well moving forward.

Prediction: The Bucks will miss out on Hield and Murray, and will likely end up with a big guy as their first pick, leaving free agency to find their guy. Expected to become unrestricted free agents this year include guys like Arron Afflalo, Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson, and Eric Gordon, all who could fill a nice gap in the offense and move Middleton to small forward. The shooting guard spot will be thin for Milwaukee, which will force them to make a couple moves in either the draft or free agency to fill it up. It’s quite a bold prediction, but I like my chances. I also wouldn’t rule out Bayless starting at the 2.

2016-17 depth chart: Middleton/free agent/draft pick, free agent/draft pick, Vaughn

Small Forward

Let’s assume Giannis hits it off well at the point guard spot and that becomes his permanent role. We have already decided to go out and sign some free agents, making the small forward spot belong to Khris Middleton. A deadly shooter and lengthy defender, Middleton can be a tough match-up on both ends of the floor. Playing the year as the team’s shooting guard, moving him to a permanent small forward role could be risky. Also a possibility, the team could move a completely different direction at the three spot, with a lot of attractive free agents that could fill the position and could move Middleton to the two.

It has been talked about that the Bucks should pursue Nicolas Batum, who will be an unrestricted free agent this off season. Batum would fit the system well and would contribute a much-needed additional perimeter threat. However, Batum has become the go-to guy in Charlotte this season, and with the Hornets in the playoffs, I would expect them to throw a lot of money at him to get him to stay.

Prediction: I would really like the Bucks, if possible, to take Jaylen Brown with their first pick. Brown could back up Middleton for the time being and could offer a versatile and durable presence off the bench. The shooting guard and small forward situations could be flipped, depending on where they decide to put Middleton, but I like Middleton at the three.

2016-17 depth chart: Middleton, draft pick/free agent, Inglis

Power Forward

Calling Jabari Parker. The former second overall pick silenced the critics the second half of this year, averaging just under 20 points per game since the All-Star break. The Bucks would be foolish to do anything else with Parker, as he seems to be thriving off Giannis handling the ball. Although a liability at times on defense, it’s hard to imagine Parker guarding the Blake Griffin’s and Anthony Davis’ of the world. It is critical the Bucks stack their front line with reliable post defenders. Milwaukee will have John Henson for the next couple years, serving as a quality rim protector.

Prediction: There isn’t going to be much noise surrounding the power forward spot. Parker will retain the starting spot with reserves like Henson filling in from the power forward/center spot with a different lineup look. Here I would like to see the Bucks beef up the position through the draft or free agency. Power forwards Brice Johnson (North Carolina) and Skal Labissiere (Kentucky) will likely be on the board when the Bucks make their first round pick and could be used to strengthen the position.

2016-17 depth chart: Parker, Henson, free Agent/draft pick, O’Bryant


Perhaps the most confusing spot to predict, it is unclear whether the Bucks will stick with big man Greg Monroe at the center spot. Beginning the season as the team’s starter, Monroe struggled at times and later found himself coming off the bench for the likes of Miles Plumlee. Prior to the trade deadline, Milwaukee found themselves aggressively looking for the right deal to shop Monroe, but could not find it. Considered to be a mistake to sign him, it would not be surprising if Monroe was dealt this offseason, opening up the door for either a free agent or draft pick to take his spot.

Prediction: There are two scenarios to look at here: whether the Bucks trade Monroe or not. If they trade Monroe, not much will happen. Milwaukee might sign another piece through free agency or draft someone they can use as a project. If the Bucks do decide to part ways with Monroe, drafting a center in the first round would become a more likely action. Utah’s Jakob Poeltl would likely be the go-to guy for the Bucks at their likely pick. If possible, you could see Milwaukee try and move up high enough and snag Dragan Bender, the 7-footer from Croatia.

2016-17 depth chart (with Monroe): Monroe, Plumlee, draft pick/free agent

2016-17 depth chart (without Monroe): Plumlee, draft pick/free Agent, draft pick/free agent

It is difficulty to predict what the Bucks, or any team for that matter, will do this offseason. Hammond’s contract is up this offseason, and the philosophy in the Bucks’ front office could change completely. Overall, the Bucks have money to spend and three draft picks, so look for this team to have a lot of new faces.