Bucks Draft Preview

With the 17th pick in the NBA Draft, the Bucks should not be looking to fill a hole on the roster.

Will there be a difference maker available for the Bucks with the 17th pick? Let’s take a closer look at this year’s NBA Draft from the Bucks perspective.

Needs: Everything.

That statement is not an indictment of the roster the Milwaukee Bucks have assembled. It is a fact regarding NBA team building. Every team in the league needs more of everything. The Golden State Warriors need more shooters. The Memphis Grizzlies need more strong defenders.

Drafting “to fill needs” is so incredibly stupid. First round picks should not be used to fill a hole on the roster. Teams essentially control their first round picks for seven years. How likely is it that a team’s glaring weakness in 2015 is a glaring weakness in 2020? Or even in 2017 for that matter?

First round picks should be used to draft talented players who have an opportunity to make an impact in the next five years for a championship-caliber team. These players don’t need to be superstars, but they should be able to make an impact in a seven-man playoff rotation.

Only three words matter in the first round: Best Player Available.

To John Hammond’s credit, he has understood that in his tenure as the Bucks’ General Manager. Hammond has consistently targeted young players with tremendous potential, whether or not they seemed to “fit” the Bucks’ personnel or if anyone thought the drafted player should have been drafted in that position.

With the idea of “needs” completely thrown aside, let’s take a look at the Bucks prospects with the draft’s 17th selection:

Almost Definitely Gone Possibly Available Probably Available
Willie Cauley-Stein Devin Booker Justin Anderson
Mario Hezonja Sam Dekker Cliff Alexander
Stanley Johnson Jerian Grant Montrezl Harrell
Emmanuel Mudiay Frank Kaminsky Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Jahlil Okafor Kevon Looney R.J. Hunter
Kristaps Porzingis Trey Lyles Tyus Jones
D’Angelo Russell Kelly Oubre Jr. Jarell Martin
Karl-Anthony Towns Cameron Payne Bobby Portis
Justice Winslow Myles Turner Terry Rozier
Christian Wood
Delon Wright


(If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of these prospects, there are a lot of people that have done a lot of research on each of these players. Try any of these places: Draft Express, Chad Ford, Layne Vashro, Sam Vecenie)

Some thoughts:

  • The Bucks should not expect anyone in the first column to fall to their draft position.
  • Although seven picks is a small sample size, Hammond has never selected a college senior in the first round. This may decrease the likelihood of Jerian Grant, Frank Kaminsky, and Delon Wright wearing a Bucks jersey next season.
  • There are 18 players in the first two columns, but only 16 picks before the Bucks. This means a lottery-level talent may fall to the Bucks.
  • Don’t get too excited about any of those players in the middle column. Hammond hasn’t been afraid to “reach” for a player he likes. Think Brandon Jennings, Larry Sanders, Tobias Harris, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Ultimately, the Bucks have drafted pretty well during John Hammond’s tenure and it’s hard to know whether or not a draft pick is any good until they start to play NBA games. So, feel free to question the Bucks selection and campaign for your favorite prospect to be drafted, but understand that nobody knows anything on draft night.

This is part two of a three-part season recap. Click here for part one. Check back next week for part three.