Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Building The 15 - 2014 NBA Draft Second Round Preview for John Hammond

Yesterday I covered how Milwaukee Bucks general manger John Hammond should approach the restricted (power forward Ekpe Udoh) and unrestricted free agents (combo guard Ramon Sessions and small forward Jeff Adrien) that were on The 15 for the Bucks last season.  Even if Hammond ignores my advice and lets all Adrien and Sessions walk, he still has 12 guys under contract for next season.  Hammond currently holds four picks in the 2014 NBA Draft: 2nd, 31st, 36th, and 48th.
Sure some of those 12 guys have non-guaranteed contract but given all the picks that Hammond currently holds in the 2014 NBA Draft, I would totally support Hammond packaging a few of the second round picks to move into the mid first round.  The chance of that happening are slim so much like I did the last few years (2011, 2012, and 2013), let's get to my advice for how Hammond can navigate the second round.

Since the Bucks finished with the worst record in the NBA last season, they hold the 31st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, which is the first pick in the second round.  With how well the NBA Draft is covered, you can almost be assured that the following 25 guys (Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Clint Capela, Tyler Ennis, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon, P.J. Hairston, Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, Zach LaVine, Doug McDermott, Shabazz Napier, Jusuf Nurkic, Jabari Parker, Adrien Payne, Elfried Payton, Julius Randle, Dario Saric, Marcus Smart, Nik Stauskas, Jarnell Stokes, T.J. Warren, Andrew Wiggins, and James Young) will no longer be available at the 31st pick.  If any of the 25 guys just mentioned are available when the Bucks go on the clock with the 31st pick, I totally sign off on Hammond drafting any of those guys.  If all of those guys are gone, here are the guys I would target with the 31st and 36th picks:

Glenn Robinson III (SF, 6'7", 211 lbs, Michigan, 20 years old) - Big Dog is my favorite Buck of all-time, so I obviously somewhat blindly love his son too at this point too.  I actually see Big Dog Jr. as an all around better two-way player than his father.  Given that Little Dog plays better defense than Big Dog but is NOT as offensively polished as Big Dog.

Damien Inglis (SF, 6'8", 240 lbs, France, 19 years old) - Much like The Greek Freak last year, although Inglis is one of the youngest players in this year's draft, he actually looks ready to contribute next season in the NBA because of his defense and rebounding ability.

Nikola Jokic (PF, 6'11", 253 lbs, Serbia, 19 years old) - I am on record as calling current Buck Ersan Ilyasvoa a poor man's Dirk.  Although the Jokic/Dirk comparisons are not as strong, if Jokic can continue to improve his shot, it will help him overcome his athletic limitations to serve as a quality stretch four.

Mitch McGary (PF/C, 6'10", 250 lbs, Michigan, 22 years old) - This is purely a value proposition because I would be shocked if McGary dropped out of the first round despite is off the court issues.  You know if the Bucks draft McGary he is rooming with Larry Sanders on the road.  Oh and their favorite road trip will be against the Denver Nuggets.

Walter Tavares (C, 7'3", 265 lbs, Spain, 22 years old) - Is Gheorghe Muresan a reasonable ceiling for Tavares?  If so, I see Tavares contributing in the NBA after a couple more years of seasoning.  NBA teams can't wait too long though given that Tavares is already 22 years old.

Spencer Dinwiddie (PG, 6'6", 205 lbs, Colorado, 21 years old) - A serious knee injury really hurt Dinwiddie's draft stock. But even if next season turns out to be a lost season for Dinwiddie, I still like the Bucks rolling the dice on a guy that has mid first round talent when healthy.

Artem Klimenko (C, 7'1", 228 lbs, Russia, 20 years old) - Every year there are at least five guys in the NBA Draft like Klimenko that project as solid backup center in the NBA before they ever play a minute in the NBA.  Sure most of them turn out to be replacement-level at best but that is exactly why I hate teams overpaying backup centers like the Bucks did last year when they signed Zaza Pachulia to a three-year, $15.6 million contract.  I would much rather cycle through a couple Klimenkos instead of overpaying Pachulia.

Jerami Grant (SF, 6'8", 214 lbs, Syracuse, 20 years old) - The rare Domestic "Draft and Stash" guy could be a steal for the Bucks given his unlimited athletic ability.  Sure that athleticism will need to be honed but going into the season Grant looked like mid first round pick so as long as the Bucks think they can fix Grant's shot, he is a steal in the early second round.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo (SF, 6'6", 205 lbs, NBDL, 21 years old) - The Bucks drafted his younger brother Giannis with the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.  It looks like Giannis is a future all-star so even if the Bucks think taking Thanasis is purely a goodwill gesture that helps them keep Giannis long-term, I totally sign-off on the move.  If Thanasis turns out to be a slightly shorter version of Giannis, we might be looking at the steal of the draft.

With the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, unless one of the players I already discussed in this post is still available, I would make a San Antonio Spurs-esque Euro "Draft and Stash" guy.  Given all the guaranteed contracts already on The 15, there is a very good chance that if Hammond actually drafts guys with the 31st and 36th picks that one or both of those guys turn out to be a Euro "Draft and Stash" guy anyhow but there is an even better chance that the 46th pick turns out to be a Euro "Draft and Stash" guy.  Guys that fit that criteria that you can reasonably expect to still be available with the 48th pick are: Vasilije Micic (PG, 6'4", 185 lbs, Serbia, 20 years old), Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG, 6'6", 200 lbs, Serbia, 21 years old), Alessandro Gentile (SF, 6'6", 200 lbs, Italy, 21 years old), Cristiano Felicio (PF, 6'9", 240 lbs, Brazil, 21 years old), Nemanja Dangubic (SG, 6'8", 193 lbs, Serbia, 21 years old), and Michalis Kamperidis (PF, 6'9", 230 lbs, Greece, 20 years old).

If Hammond takes some of the advice I just dispensed, hopefully the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft will be the antithesis of what Hammond did the last time he had three second round picks. For those that forget, Hammond selected the pu pu platter of Darington Hobson, Jermone Jordan, and Keith Gallon in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft.  If that is what Hammond does in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, it will be his last as the general manger of the Bucks.

With my advice for how Hammond should approach the 2nd round of the 2014 NBA Draft out of the way, make sure to check back tomorrow when I discuss what the Bucks should do with the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Without burying the lead, the Bucks cannot go wrong as long as they pass on injured Kansas center Joel Embiid but make sure to check back tomorrow for a more lengthy discussion.

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