After a disappointing playoff loss to the Toronto Raptors in six games, the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason has begun. The team will now turn their focus to the duties of resigning key players, searching for quality free agents and preparing for the NBA Draft. The Bucks finished sixth in the East and will receive the 17th overall pick in the draft.
Milwaukee has rolled the dice in previous years in the draft, and lately it has paid off big time. Getting Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in 2013 has proven to be the biggest draft day steal in recent history. Jabari Parker, although injury prone, has been fantastic when healthy since being selected second overall in 2014. Rashad Vaughn has yet to pan out after being taken in the first round in 2015, but both Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon have proven to be exciting young talents coming out of the 2016 draft class.
This year’s draft is another opportunity for the team to bolster the roster. While marquee names like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson will be long gone by the time Milwaukee will pick, there will still be useful talent available to help the team when the Bucks are on the clock.
Although this draft class is pretty shallow in guard prospects, Milwaukee will need to find one. Giannis was fantastic when operating as the primary ball handler, but could benefit by having more traditional point guards taking the ball up the floor and running the offense. Matthew Dellavedova started in 54 games this year, but is better suited running the offense with the second unit. Malcolm Brogdon seemed like a serviceable point guard during his brief stint at the position, but his size and strength are more prototypical of a shooting guard.
A point guard would be a useful addition in the draft if Milwaukee doesn’t land one in free agency, but adding a shooter wouldn’t be a bad move either. The Bucks finished 22nd in the league in made three pointers and 24th in three pointers attempted. Spacing the floor with knockdown sharpshooters would open up lanes for Giannis, and make the Bucks even more exciting to watch.
Here are a few guard prospects that could be available for the Bucks to draft:
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France: Milwaukee has taken first round gambles on overseas prospects before who’ve paid off pretty well… and if Ntilikina is available come the Bucks turn, they may want to again. Ntilikina is just 18 years old and has shown potential playing professionally in France. The young guard has not gotten much run overseas, but has been an efficient shooter when given the opportunity. His 52% shooting from the field accompanied by 44% three point shooting makes him an intriguing draft prospect. Experts predict he’ll be taken a bit earlier in the first round, but if he slides far enough he could be an interesting option for Milwaukee.
Terrance Ferguson, SG, Adelaide 36ers: The talented shooting guard played overseas in Australia last year, and turns just 19 years old this month. Although his stats don’t jump off the page, he has a high ceiling and the capability to knock down open threes. Throw in his solid defense and 6’7 frame and he looks fit for an NBA roster. If given a bit of time to develop and mature, Ferguson could become a valuable asset to the Bucks.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke Blue Devils: Duke is always loaded with talent, and although his teammate Jayson Tatum will go higher in the draft, Kennard was Duke’s best player this season. The 20 year-old sophomore averaged 22 points six rebounds and three assists per game, earning him a nomination for the Wooden Award. But most importantly to Milwaukee, Kennard knocked down nearly three triples per game while shooting 44% from behind the arc. If he can continue to shoot efficiently in the NBA, he’ll have a long pro career and could give the Bucks a major boost.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville Cardinals: Mitchell is a bit small for a shooting guard at 6’3, but really proved his worth during his second year at Louisville. After a great freshman year averaging 15 points seven rebounds and four assists per game, Mitchell essentially duplicated his rebound and assist numbers while spiking his scoring up to just over 19 points per game. He also provides quick hands on defense grabbing about three steals per game, and could be a great addition to helping Milwaukee force turnovers and then score in transition.
While drafting a guard seems like the most logical choice for the Bucks, taking a forward is not out of the equation either. This draft class is loaded with capable big men and you never know who will be available when Milwaukee is up to pick. The draft combine will begin on Tuesday, and teams will get a better grasp on where each prospect stands before the draft commences June 22nd.