The difficulty with fixing a car missing a door, wheel, and windshield (under a constricted budget) is deciding where to start. The Milwaukee Bucks are in a similar situation with the 2011 NBA Draft, as the team is, to borrow a John Hammond-ism, multiple pieces away from contending.
The 2011 draft class is rich with the middle class of the NBA: role players. Role players are valuable to every NBA team. Hell, some even boast a roster of nothing but these often specialized, but never special players. I’m still optimistically waiting to determine if the Milwaukee Bucks fit this profile.
The Bucks decided to go to free agency/trades to allegedly solve their free throw and scoring problems (Corey Maggette, John Salmons), and need for a big (Drew Gooden). However, there was a big need at the four heading into the 2010 NAB Draft, which happened to be littered with power forwards. Using the transitive property, it was relatively easy to predict the position of the Best Player Available for the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 15. Winning 46 games didn’t hurt either.
But losing exposes a team’s flaws as much as winning illuminates their strengths, and Milwaukee certainly could justifiably add a BPA at any position on the floor. Ideally, the backup center and third point guard issues would be solved through free agency. Hoarding power forwards with David Kahn-like vigor would be a questionable, especially since Hammond has already stated the Bucks’ preference for passiveness throughout this offseason.
John Hammond’s confidence is reason enough to assume that any potential role playing point guard, center, or power forward available at No. 10 will still be available at No. 11. Unless the thin crop of wing players is depleted by that point, why would the Bucks take one of those three positions if Hammond has faith in younger players like Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, and Larry Sanders?
That narrows down the ideal BPA to a shooting guard or small forward, preferably one that’s athletic and capable of hitting a jumper and/or getting to the rim. John Salmons and Carlos Delfino are still key parts of Milwaukee’s offense (my stomach just churned), but there’s no depth behind either player and only Delfino is somewhat threatening from beyond the arc.
But as with any draft, what should happen and what will happen are two entirely different beasts. Ideally, the Milwaukee Bucks will take a wing player. Realistically, John Hammond and Co. may believe an available power forward, center, or point guard will meaningfully contribute sooner than a shooting guard or power forward still on the board.
It’ll be easy to question the Bucks’ pick if they go that route, but the only thing that matters in the NBA is winning basketball games. If a point guard, center, or power forward can bring the Milwaukee Bucks closer to that ultimate goal than a wing, then it’ll be a successful draft pick.