during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Pepsi Center on March 19, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

NBA Draft: An early look at Milwaukee’s draft prospects

For some, the 2015-16 NBA season has continued. For others, particularly our beloved Milwaukee Bucks, it is time to focus on the offseason.

The NBA Draft lottery odds have been finalized and the Bucks come in at number 10 for teams that did not make the playoffs. Although not probable, Milwaukee holds a 1.8% chance of grabbing the number one overall pick and a 6.5% likelihood of getting into the top three.

At one point, a top draft pick for the Bucks meant utter disappointment, but the front office has done well as of late, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker seeming to mold into exceptional players. Once thought to make a playoff run this year, the Bucks find themselves in yet another lottery slot, hopefully their last for a while.

So what can, and should, the Bucks do with their pick? For starters, it is unclear what pick they will get for their first round selection. The only thing that is set in stone right now is their 36th (from New Orleans) and 39th pick.

It’s always fun to speculate and play the “what if” game. Holding less than a 2% chance to get the number one pick, we must remember that anything can happen. Just two years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers grabbed the top spot despite having a 1.8% chance at doing so. Unfortunately for the Bucks, no team has ever won the drafty lottery while holding the #10 slot.

Realistically, the Bucks will be falling middle of the pack in this year’s draft lottery. For all intensive purposes, we will say the Bucks will likely grab a pick between the 5-10 range. While big time prospects Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and Buddy Hield are more than likely going to fall out of the Bucks’ reach, Milwaukee will still hold an opportunity at some great talent.

If the Bucks were able to sneak into the top three, pending on where they land, Simmons, Ingram, Hield would all be great contributions to the current Bucks roster. Although Simmons and Ingram pose as similar players as Giannis, Parker, and even Khris Middleton, it would be hard to pass up that kind of talent. Hield would serve as a great scoring option and a great addition to a Bucks team that struggles from the perimeter.

Alright, enough dreaming.

In the Bucks’ projected range of selections, Milwaukee has a great variety of prospects that they could use to help improve many different aspects of their game. A primary focus of the Bucks’ targets should, and will likely, be interior defense and shooting. The signing of Greg Monroe before this season turned out to backfire due to his inability to play defense at the center position and the lack of spacing on the offensive end.

The NBA Mock Draft has four players 6-foot-10 or over being selected between the fourth and tenth pick. If the Bucks choose to focus on their bigs in the first round, it will be likely someone of that nature will fall to them, even if they fall in the lottery to the bottom half. Let’s dive in and take a look at the possible big guys.

Dragan Bender, 7’0” PF, Croatia

Bender is another high hopeful, as he is projected to go top five in this year’s draft, perhaps as high as third. Only 18 years old, the Croatian forward is the whole package. Able to play down low and score like any 7-footer should, Bender also holds a dangerous long-range shooting stroke in his arsenal. Bender would instantly provide rim protection and an outside threat for the Bucks all in one pick. Although a perfect fit, let’s not get our hopes up Bucks fans.

Domantas Sabonis, 6’10” PF/C, Gonzaga

Sabonis will be hit or miss in this year’s draft. Some mock selections have Sabonis falling out of the top ten, while some even have him outside of the lottery. A standard big man, Sabonis contributes almost always from down in the paint, as his outside shot seems to be lacking right now. One who uses his hard-work and hustle to get rebounds and points, there could be a slight chance we are looking at the next Kevin Love if he is able to develop a consistent outside shot.

Ivan Rabb, 6’10” PF, California

If the Bucks are looking for a project to mold how they see fit, Rabb is their guy. Pure athleticism and extremely comfortable under the basket, Rabb does not have many post moves in his repertoire, nor is he all that much on the defensive end besides blocking shots. A high-energy player with great quickness and athleticism could be more of the same for the current “Young Bucks” roster who sees a similar player in John Henson.

Jakob Poeltl, 7’0″ C, Utah

When looking into an NBA comparison for Poeltl, the first one I saw was Andrew Bogut and I immediately said “No, not another Bogut.” But after thinking about it a bit, the Bucks could have used Bogut this year to their benefit. Milwaukee is in dire need of interior defense and a Bogut-like player could the team wonders right now.

It is likely the Bucks will go big guy with their first pick but if they decide against it, here are a few prospects the team could go with in round one.

Jaylen Brown, 6’7″ SG/SF, California

Brown could be a great scoring option off the bench backing up Khris Middleton. Despite disappearing in California’s NCAA Tournament game, Brown has shown great ease scoring in his freshman year in college. While his outside jumper needs work, Brown’s high-level athleticism paired with his ability to get to the basket and finish through contact would be a great start for Milwaukee if they plan on strengthening their bench.

Malik Beasley, 6’5″ SG, Florida State

If the Bucks choose to focus on perimeter scoring as their top priority, Beasley could find himself in Milwaukee. A textbook looking shooting form, Beasley can hit down the open shot as well as create for himself. It could be a big risk for the Bucks gambling on Beasley as they spent a first round pick on a similar player in last year’s draft with Rashad Vaughn.

Milwaukee currently holds two second round picks as well, the 36th and 39th. Depending what they do with their first selection, it is possible the team will knock out another need right away. For instance, if the Bucks select a big man first round, a shooting guard or small forward could be on their radar for the second round. Although hard to predict who will be available that late, some wing players that could be lingering still are UNLV’s Patrick McCaw and Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame. As for big men, it would be nice to see the Bucks land Providence’s Ben Bentil or even Purdue’s A.J. Hammons if he were to fall that late.

Only 71 days until the draft.

2 thoughts on “NBA Draft: An early look at Milwaukee’s draft prospects

  1. I would add Timothe Luwawu to the list. Greater perimeter scorer and defender. He has been skyrocketing up mock drafts as of late and would be a great wing player when Giannis is at point.


  2. Also, I think the bucks should consider trading their pick and Monroe to the Celtics for their pick. They need a big man and were interested in him at the trade deadline.


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