I still cannot believe the draft is already here starting later tonight. I have seen enough mocks, and the latest from ESPN I would take right now. It has the Bucks taking Xavier Henry with their first round pick at 15 and Lance Stephenson with the first second rounder. Both can score and both were highly touted coming out of high school. It was that logic that gave me hope that Brandon Jennings could be a diamond in the rough for the Bucks last year.
Henry was a star coming out of high school who started the season hot last year at Kansas but cooled as the season went on. His late season cooling does not scare me in the least, Kansas had two senior leaders in Sheron Collins and Cole Aldrich. Combine those two with plenty of other talent and it can become difficult for a wing player like Henry to get enough touches.
He can shoot, and I mean really shoot. He has the size, strength and athletic ability to be an NBA pro. His shooting could be the trait that makes him a starter for several seasons.
Other Players at 15
While Henry is my best case scenario for the Bucks with the first pick and assuming only Gordon Hayward is left of the top fifteen guys a couple of other guys I would be ok with:
Larry Sanders: Raw, but is a shot blocker. Shot blockers are rare and if he can catch onto Scott Skiles defensive system he could get minutes. When you are small market like the Bucks your first round picks have to contribute early.
Avery Bradley: Athletic and a very good perimeter defender. Should be able to rotate in at shooting guard and play the point in a pinch. He was also highly touted coming out of high school and his stock would be higher if things did not fall apart at Texas.
Damion James: Rebounder and a defender. If people feel James can play the four or be a bench defensive five he has value here. But at only 6’8″ and little to no outside shooting range James may be more hope than substance. Could be another player in the long line of good college players that have no position in the NBA. The Bucks could use more rebounding help however so he could be in play here. I would not be surprised if James dropped tonight.
Paul George: This is kind of a wild card. I know very little about George but I do know that many people are insanely high on him. Some think George has the best “star” potential in this draft after Wall, Cousins, and Favor. That may be reason enough to consider him if he is available at 15.
The second round has obviously been very important to the Bucks in the last decade as I feel it is some of the second round surprises the Bucks have been able to grab that have kept them from being a perennial basement team. Sure the Bucks have not been great but it could have been worse. Micheal Redd, Luc Mbah ah Moute, Ramon Sessions, Rafer Alston, Irsan and even Dan Gadzuric (I know many people hate Gadzuric but he has lasted a while now, more than most second rounders can claim) are all players the Bucks have taken in the second round that have made a real contribution.
Lance Stephenson: The pick by ESPN. I would take it.
Jarvis Varnado: Shot blocker, could be a second rounder that sticks.
Devin Ebanks: It would be interesting to see where his draft stock would be if he did not get hurt.
Jordan Crawford: Crawford can score but it is hard to project where he will go I have seen projections for him in the top twenty or mid second round.
Any guy that should have been in the first round that falls is in play with the Bucks first second rounder.
Late Wild Cards
These are some guys that are probably borderline but I would not mind the Bucks taking a chance on. With three second round picks the Bucks have the luxury of taking a flier on a guy that many other teams have written off.
Jerome Randle: The guard from Cal can light it up, he is a tough kid from Chicago that may find a place in the league as a spurt minutes guard.
GreivisVasquez: Vasquez always made things interesting at Maryland, he has a flair for the dramatic and wants the pressure on his shoulders, if he has enough skill/athleticism to stick in the league he could be worth a late second rounder.
Scottie Reynolds: He is tough, can find points, and is a winner.