Friday, June 27, 2014

Building The 15 - 2014 Milwaukee Bucks Draft Picks

This was my fourth year doing a "mock" first round NBA Draft (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014) and my fifth year reviewing Milwaukee Bucks general manger John Hammond's performance in the actual draft (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013).

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 2014 NBA Draft.  I only nailed players and team for the first two picks out of 30 in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers took Andrew Wiggins (SG, Kansas) and the Bucks took Jabari Parker (SF, Duke).

Although that seems like I did a horrible job, for the second year in a row I correctly predicted 24 out of 30 players* that went in the first round of the draft.  I actually should have predicted 25 but somehow inexplicably left Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh out of my first round mock draft.  I am not as high on Vonleh as others but had him as the 9th or 10th best prospect in the draft so it was merely a brain fart that I somehow forgot to include him in my mock draft.  Of the 6 guys** that I thought should go in the first round, all but two went by the 38th pick and they all were drafted by the 46th pick.

Here is a full breakdown of the four players that the Milwaukee Bucks drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft:

1st Round (2nd Overall): Jabari ("The Franchise") Parker
Position: Small Forward
Age: 19
Birth date: March 15, 1994
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
School: Duke
Class: Freshman
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 241 lbs
Reach: 8'8"
: 7'0"
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: Super skilled wing, can score from anywhere on the floor, elite basketball instincts and IQ, excellent passer, good ball handler for his size, good rebounder, high character, and great motor
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): A good but not elite athlete, can be a liability on defense, can sometimes struggle against long athletic player, and lacks ideal conditioning
Other Possible Picks: Dante Exum (PG, Australia), Joel Embiid (C, Kansas), and Marcus Smart (PG, Oklahoma State)
Twitter: @JabariParker

Analysis: My tweets immediately following the pick don't convey how excited I am about the picks for the Bucks.  Teams hope to not pick in the Top 5 regularly but getting a talent like Parker with the second pick is a rarity since he would have been the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft if he went straight from high school to the NBA.  Plus only three players drafted in the Top 4 since the start of the NBA Lottery in 1985 won an NBA Champion with the team that drafted them.  Two are fairly easy, David Robinson and Tim Duncan as staples of the San Antonio Spurs.  The third is Darko Milicic, which is borderline comical given that the Detroit Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship despite Darko's services even though they drafted him instead of Carmelo Antony, Chris Bosh, or Dwyane Wade with second pick in the loaded 2003 NBA Draft.

Parker's freshman season at Duke was dissected ad nausea.  There were rumors that Parker had a hurt foot going into the season, which hurt his conditioning so he played heavier than I expect him to play in the NBA.  Even playing heavy, Parker was able to score almost at will last season.  Unfortunately for how well Parker played offensively, he struggled just as much defensively.  There is one hopeful school of thought that if Parker gets in shape, he might actually improve his defense in the NBA.  Even if Parker struggles on the defensive end, let's not forget that the Bucks will most likely start him in the front-court alongside The Greek Freak and Larry Sanders, which will go a long way towards covering up his defensive limitations if he can't improve on that end of the court in the NBA.

Mark my words, if Parker stays in Milwaukee for his entire career he will have his number retired and give the Bucks a legitimate chance to win their first NBA Title since 1971.

2nd Round (31st Overall): Damien ("Musculaire") Inglis
Position: Small Forward
Birth date: May 20, 1995
Birthplace: Cayenne, French Guiana
School: N/A
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 240 lbs
Reach: 9'0"
: 7'3"
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: Long athletic forward, NBA strength, excellent defender, good rebounder, and strong finisher around the basket
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): Needs to improve his jump shot and a bit of a twiner
Other Possible Picks: K.J. Daniels (SF, Clemson), Cleanthony Early (SF, Wichita State), and Jarnell Stokes (PF, Tennessee)
: @DamienINGLIS

Analysis: The Bucks added a muscular version of Parker in Inglis.  Unfortunately Inglis is currently rehabbing a broken foot.  Despite only being 19, if Inglis had a healthy foot he would be a starter on their summer league team and possibly even push for being a part of the rotation next season.  Worst case, I see Inglis as a rich man's The Prince (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute).  Best case, the Bucks bought low on the next European stud.

2nd Round (36th Overall): Johnny ("The Leprechaun") O'Bryant
Position: Power Forward
Age: 21
Birth date: June 1, 1993
Birthplace: Cleveland, MS
School: LSU
Class: Junior
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 250 lbs
Reach: N/A
: N/A
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: Traditional power forward, does most of his damage in the paint, excellent rebounder, and strong/physical player
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): Just an average athlete, lacks consistency, and has had conditioning issues in the past
Other Possible Picks: Glenn Robinson III (SF, Michigan), Nikola Jokić (PF/C, Serbia), and Walter Tavares (C, Carpe Verde)
: @OBryant_The3rd
Analysis: Hammond could have made the 2014 NBA Draft the draft of the small forward if he took Glenn Robinson III.  Sure that would leave the Bucks with three too many small forwards but the Bucks need to amass talent where ever possible, irrespective of position.  Plus, unless the Bucks make a few trades they have a glut of power forwards on The 15 too so its not like O'Bryant is filling a huge need anyhow.  There is no chance that Ekpe Udoh returns to The 15 now, which could be good news for his book club because I am not sure another NBA team will make him an offer this off-season.  Much like Parker, the Bucks need to do everything in their power to get O'Bryant in shape for next season, which will give him a give him an outside chance to crack the 10-man rotation.

2nd Round (48th Overall): Lamar ("Snowbird") Patterson
Position: Small Forward
Age: 22
Birth date: August 12, 1991
Birthplace: Lancaster, PA
School: Pittsburgh
Class: Senior
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 226 lbs
Reach: 8'3"
: 6'11"
Positive Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford)
: All-around player, good shooter with range, excellent passer for his size, solid rebounder, and very versatile
Negative Attributes (per ESPN's Chad Ford): Doesn't do any one thing great and not an elite athlete
Other Possible Picks: Alec Brown (C, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (SF, Greece), and Alessandro Gentile (SF, Italy)
: @LP21_
Analysis: The Bucks traded the rights to Patterson for a future second round draft pick via the Brooklyn Nets.  I am not sure what year that pick vests but my guess is that the pick will be earlier than 48th overall but that is just conjecture.  The big miss is that the Bucks could have taken The Greek Freak's older brother Thanasis.  I wholeheartedly support anything that keeps The Greek Freak in Milwaukee long-term.  Don't get me wrong, this is probably an Aaron and Jordan Rodgers situations with Thanasis playing the part of Jordan but why not keep the most physically gifted player on The 15 that was homesick all last season happy?

As I said last year, 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.  Last season was downright painful to be a Bucks fan on the eve of last season coming to a close, the Bucks were sold by long-term owner Herb Kohl to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens.  Given how much the Bucks struggled on the court, they had the best odds to win the NBA Lottery.  Fortunately (you read that correctly) the Bucks "lost" the lottery so they settled for the second pick.  That marks the 6th time that the Bucks have fallen in the last 16 NBA Draft lotteries (remained in the same position eight times and improved only twice).  Once Kansas center Joel Enbiid had foot surgery to insert screws in his foot a week before the draft, the Bucks were focused solely on Wiggins and Parker.  If Wiggins turns out to be a stud and Parker is a bust, the Bucks can blame that on being unlucky in the lottery.  f the reverse turns out to be the case, the Bucks will be a relevant NBA franchise for the next decade.

* = I missed on Noah Vonleh (PF, Indiana) went 9th to the Hornets, Bruno Caboclo (SF, Brazil) went 20th to the Raptors, Mitch McGary (PF, Michigan) went 21st to the Thunder, Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG, Serbia) went 27th to the Suns, C.J. Wilcox (SG, Washington) went 28th to the Clippers, and Josh Huestis (SF/PF, Stanford) went 29th to the Thunder.

** = Jarnell Stokes (PF, Tennessee) rated 18th but went 35th to the Jazz, K.J. McDaniels (SF, Clemson) rated 26th but went 32nd to the 76ers, Glenn Robinson III (SF, Michigan) rated 17th but went 40 to the Timberwolves, Spencer Dinwiddie (PG, Colorado) rated 28th but went 38th to the Pistons, Jordan Clarkson (PG, Missouri) rated 29th but went 46th to Wizards, and Damien Inglis (SF, France) rated 30th but went 31st to Bucks.

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