Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Building The 15 - 2013 NBA Draft First Round Preview for John Hammond

Each of the last two season Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond pulled off a trade on the eve of the draft.  In 2011, Hammond made a three-team trade giving up Corey Maggette, John Salmons, and the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in exchange for Stephen Jackson, Livingston, and the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.  The actual players exchanged in that trade are not worth discussing because it amounted to a few franchises re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  The huge bummer of that trade that is worth discussing is that by moving down from 10th to 19th, the Bucks missed out on the chance to draft Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard.  There is no guarantee that Hammond would have taken Thompson or Leonard, but the fact that the Bucks missed out on the chance to draft two franchise players casts a pall over the trade.

In 2012, Hammond traded Jon Brockman, Jon Leuer, Shaun Livingston, and the 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to the Houston Rockets for Samuel Dalembert, the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, a future second round pick, and cash considerations.  The Bucks drafted John Henson with the 14th pick.  Although I am disappointed the Bucks gave up Leuer, the disappointment is mitigated by the fact that the Bucks should have John Henson and Larry Sanders in the fold for the next decade.  By trading back from 12 to 14 the only players the Bucks missed out on drafting were Jeremy Lamb and Kendall Marshall.  I would much rather have Henson than Lamb or Marshall so this is no where close to missing out on Thompson and Leonard like they did last year.

Will Hammond make a trade for the third year in a row on the eve of the draft?  With only eight players currently under contract for next season (Gustavo Ayon, Drew Gooden, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders, Ish Smith, Ekpe Udoh), the Bucks do not have a ton of trade chips.

There awere reports that the Boston Celtics are looking for a first round pick for Paul Pierce.  The two teams that showed interest are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks.  Even if the Bucks were able to dump Drew Gooden's contract, the trade makes no sense for the Bucks because Pierce is owed $15 million next season while Gooden is set to earn $6.7 million each of the next two seasons so they are not even saving money in the trade.

Normally I advocate taking the best player available but the top three back court players from last season (Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and J.J. Redick) could all be playing elsewhere next season so the Bucks have to consider drafting for need instead of taking the best player available.

As I said in my second round preview for the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA Draft is covered so well that I am pretty confident the first 11 players that will come off the board in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, in some order, are: Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len, Ben McLemore, Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, Cody Zeller, and Kantavious Caldwell-Pope.

Take that with a grain of salt though because last year in my preview of the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft for the Milwaukee Bucks I thought I had a good feel for the nine guys that would NOT be available when the Bucks were on the clock with the 14th pick.  Much to my pleasant surprise, John Henson (one of those nine guys) fell to 14 so the Bucks smartly drafted Henson.

I am fine with the Bucks drafting any of the 11 players mentioned above.  I have a particularly strong affinity for Oladipo, Porter, Carter-Williams, McCollum, and Caldwell-Pope.  Assuming they are all drafted, here are the 10 guys (most to least) that Hammond and Company should strongly consider if they are available with the 15th pick:

Dennis Schroeder (PG, 6'2", 165 lbs, Germany, 19 years old) - Last time the Bucks drafted a point guard that played in Europe (Brandon Jennings in 2009) it worked out pretty well.  Ultimately I think Jennings is a more of a slashing shooting guard than a point guard but I still think he is salvageable as the third-best player on a championship team, which means the Bucks should not give Jennings a max-contract this off-season. If the Bucks draft Schroeder, it would allow Jennings to shift over to shooting guard.

Sergey Karasev (SG, 6'7", 197 lbs, Russia, 19 years old) - Hard to see Karasev playing in the NBA next season but his length and shooting ability makes him a potential franchise player for the next decade.

Giannis Antetokoumpo (SF, 6'9", 215 lbs, Greece, 18 years old) - My affinity for overseas players is partly because it gives the Bucks the best chance to bottom out while allowing assets to improve overseas.  Antetokoumpo has the highest ceiling and lowest floor of the three overseas players just discussed.

Shane Larkin (PG, 6'0", 171 lbs, Miami, 20 years old) - Apparently Bucks management were blown away with Larkin's workout.  I like everything about Larkin besides his height and let's not forget that a smallish guard (T.J. Ford) had a great workout before the 2003 NBA Draft for the Bucks.  On the plus side, I've heard some people compare Larkin to Kemba Walker so now we know his ceiling (Walker) and floor (Ford).

Allen Crabbe (SG, 6'6", 197 lbs, California, 21 years old) - A few pundits compared Crabbe to Klay Thompson.  That seems rather lofty but having a tall shooting guard that can actually defend for the first time since Ray Allen left town would be nice. 

Glen Rice Jr. (SF, 6'6", 211 lbs, NBDL, 22 years old) - Offensive production has a way of helping people brush over off-the-court issues.  There is no doubt that Rice has the chance to be a scoring machine in the NBA, the question is whether his off-the-court issues will get in the way. 

Reggie Bullock (SG, 6'7", 200 lbs, North Carolina, 22 years old) - It is easier to evaluate players when they have one elite skill.  Bullock is an elite shooter, which is enough for me to justify taking him 15th overall.

Shabazz Muhammad (SF, 6'6", 222 lbs, UCLA, 20 years old) - The Harrison Barnes comparisons seem way too convenient.  I wouldn't touch Muhammad in the lottery but outside the lottery, the chances of drafting a franchise player are slim, so why not swing for the fences.

Jamaal Franklin (SG, 6'5", 191 lbs, San Diego State, 22 years old) - No question Franklin is a great defender but unless he can improve his long-range shooting, I see him being a poor man's Tony Allen.

Ricardo Ledo (SG, 6'6", 197 lbs, Providence, 20 years old) - Some speculate that Ledo was a lock to go in the lottery before off the court issues precluded Ledo from playing at Providence.  Thus drafting Ledo involves taking a bit of a leap of faith but one certainly worth taking to get such a talented, big bodied shooting guard.

I would be shocked if the Bucks passed on any of the aforementioned 21 players unless they decide one of the front court players not discussed (Steven Adams, Lucas Nogueira, Kelly Olynyk, Tony Mitchell, or Mason Plumlee) is too enticing to pass up but with the potential back court turnover I find that highly unlikely.

With how I think the Milwaukee Bucks should approach the 2013 NBA Draft documented, make sure to check back tomorrow to read my "what each GM should do" mock draft of the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

No comments:

Post a Comment