Sunday, June 30, 2013

Building The 15 - 2013 Milwaukee Bucks Draft Picks

This is my third year doing a "mock" first round NBA Draft (2011, 2012, and 2013) and my fourth year reviewing the Bucks actual draft (2010, 2011, and 2012).

Usually there are a ton of trades in the first round of the NBA Draft, which makes it really hard to marry pick, player, and team correctly.  True to form, there were a ton of trades in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.  I nailed the exact draft number and player for only one pick* out of 30 in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

Although that seems like I did a horrible job, I correctly predicted 24 out of 30 players** that went in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.  Of the 6 guys*** that I incorrectly predicted would go in the first round, they all were drafted by the 43rd pick so my prognostication skills are pretty good.

Here is a full breakdown of the two players that the Milwaukee Bucks drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft:

1st Round (15th Overall): Giannis ("Bo" or "The Greek Freak") Antetokounmpo
Position: Small Forward
Age: 18
Birth date: December 16, 1994
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
School: N/A
Class: N/A
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 215 lbs
Reach: N/A
: N/A
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: Versatile point forward, great size/length for his position, and good ball handler & passer for his size
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): Needs to add strength, needs to improve consistency with his jump shot, and plays against weak competition
Other Possible Picks: Dennis Schroeder (PG, Germany), Sergey Karasev (SG, Russia), and Shane Larkin (PG, Miami)
: N/A

Analysis: Early in the draft process there were two spellings of his last name: Adetokunbo and Antetokounmpo, it seems like everyone has settled on Antetokounmpo.  On ESPN's draft telecast they said his nickname should be Bo.  I prefer The Greek Freak but Bo is easier to type so let's stick with that for this post.

The youngest player in the draft is drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant. Trust me, if Bo turns out to be 75% of Durant, this will be the best pick of Hammond's tenure and possibly the highest ROI of any pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.  Just to inflate already high expectations, Bo has also been compared to Scottie Pippen and Lamar Odom as well because of his potential ability to be a point-forward.

This was a total luxury pick for the Bucks that I fully support.  Early indications are that Bo wants to play in the NBA next season despite only playing in lower divisions in Greece so far and never even traveling outside the country until a few weeks ago when he wowed scouts in Italy.

I wish the Bucks could stash Bo in Europe or the NBADL for a few years to help them bottom out but if Bo wants to play in the NBA I am fine with that decision as long as it doesn't overwhelm him to the point that it stunts his growth on the court.

There is a better chance that Bo flames out as another European prospect that never fulfills the lofty expectations than Bo is selected for an NBA All-Star game.  Even taking that into account, these are the kind of boom-or-bust picks that small market teams have to make because teams like the Bucks can rarely sign marquee free agents but if you draft a stud (think Durant), he might stay with your franchise for the next decade.

If Bo even turns out to be an NBA starter then the Bucks' new favorite number will be 15 since they drafted two quality players at that spot in four years: Larry Sanded in 2010 and Bo in 2013.

2nd Round (43rd Overall): Nate ("Lukno Udriour") Wolters
Position: Point Guard
Age: 22
Birth date: May 15, 1991
Birthplace: St. Cloud, MN
School: South Dakota State
Class: Senior
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 196 lbs
Reach: 8'2"
: 6'4"
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: Crafty point guard who can get to the rim, good shooter with range, high basketball IQ, excellent ball handler, and sees the floor well/gets teammates involved
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): Lacks lateral quickness and explosiveness and can struggle creating his own shot against athletic defenders
Other Possible Picks: Marko Todorovic (SF, Serbia), Erick Green (PG, Virginia Tech), and Lorenzo Brown (PG, N.C. State)
: @NateWolters

Analysis: The Bucks actually drafted Ricardo Ledo (PG, Providence) with the 43rd pick.  I signed off on the Bucks drafting Ledo in the first round so I thought it was a steal that they got him in the second round.  Instead of keeping Ledo, the Bucks traded for Wolters who was actually drafted 38th overall by the Washington Wizards but was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers before being ending up with the Bucks.  To get Wolters the Bucks gave up Ledo and Houston's second round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, which they acquired last year as a part of the Jon Brockman, Jon Leuer, and Shaun Livingston for Samuel Dalembert deal.

Since 1996-97 a player has averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists only eight times over an entire season. Amazingly Wolters accomplished that feat twice but that comes with the caveat that Wolters played in the Summit League as opposed to the Big "Ten" or the Big East.

Different advanced metrics that use collegiate statistics to project NBA success had Wolters as being worthy of a Top 10 pick so getting him in the second round seems like a steal.  ESPN's Kevin Pelton uses advance stats to project future production.  Since Bo is not able to be projected in Pelton's model, just based on drafting Wolters, Pelton found that the Bucks had the 5th best draft in terms of adding talent given their draft position (ESPN Insider subscription required).

Clearly Wolters is a safer pick than Ledo, I am just bummed that the Bucks gave up Houston's second round pick in next year's draft because the Bucks need to start hoarding draft picks since that is one of the only ways they can get players to come to Milwaukee.  Either way, it will be interesting to see if Wolters or Ledo has a better NBA career.

Finally in terms of NBA comparisons there are a number of Jimmer Fredette comps being made about Wolters but I have a different comparison.  For those of you that don't understand the Lukno Udriour nickname above, Wolters reminds me of a nice blend of Luke Ridnour and Beno Udrih.  Trust me, that is meant as a compliment because best cases scenario Wolters turns into an NBA starter but worst case scenario he looks like a backup that will have a long NBA career.

The Bucks are in desperate need of a spark for the franchise.  Besides going to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, the Bucks have not won a playoff series since 1989.  The last few years the Bucks hung around as a borderline playoff team but only made the playoffs two of the last seven seasons.  Despite my disappointment with giving up a second round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft as a part of the Ledo/Wolters trade, I like that the Bucks swung for the fences in the first round drafting Bo and added a proven commodity in the second round drafting Wolters.

I really thought ten years down the road we would look back at the 2012 NBA Draft for the Bucks as one of the best in franchise history.  Just a year later, the Bucks already traded shooting guard Jodie Meeks, their second round pick in that draft, so it is up to power forward John Henson to fulfill that promise.  I don't want to jinx the 2013 NBA Draft for the Bucks but I feel even better about this draft than I did about last year's draft so may be the Bucks finally got the spark the franchise desperate needs.

* Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG, Georgia) went 8th to the Detroit Pistons.

** = I missed on Mason Plumlee (PF, Duke) went 22nd to the Nets, Solomon Hill (SF, Arizona) went 23rd to the Pacers, Andre Roberson (SF, Colorado) went 26th to the T-Wolves, Livio Jean-Charles (PF, France) went 28th to the Spurs, Archie Goodwin (SG, Kentucky) went 29th to the Thunder, and Nemanja Nedovic (SG, Serbia) went 30th the Suns.

*** = Glen Rice Jr. (SF, Michigan) predicted 18th went 35th, Tony Mitchell (SF, North Texas) predicted 20th went 37th, Jamaal Franklin (SG, San Diego State) predicted 22nd went 41st, Allen Crabbe (SG, California) predicted 23rd went 31st, Ricardo Ledo (SG, Providence) predicted 29th went 43rd, and Alex Abrines (SG, Spain) predicted 30th went 32nd.

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