According to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, the Bucks are looking to trade up in Thursday’s draft.
On the surface, that statement is akin to saying that the Bucks like good players, but Woelfel also takes a realistic view of the situation and notes some relevant aspects and possibilities.
For starters, they are not moving into the top-four. New Orleans, Charlotte, Washington, and and Cleveland are holding pat. The first three squads floundered in 2011-12 and Cleveland needs elite young talent to pair with Kyrie Irving. None of those teams would give up a pick for what the Bucks could offer them.
Two possible targets are Golden State with the 7th pick and New Orleans with the 10th pick. Getting the 7th pick could help them land Andre Drummond or John Henson, who could both help the team up front, albeit in different ways. Drummond has incredible athletic talent, plus size, but would need time to mature. Henson is a wispy, long defensive ace who could step into the rotation straight away.
Woelfel floats the idea of using Luc Mbah a Moute as bait to pique Golden State’s interest, but it’s hard to see the Warriors giving up ground in the draft for a player with two big question marks: a creaky knee and a limited offensive game. Luc’s a great defender, but he would be towing a sizy contract with him to Oakland, too. Steph Curry would have his hands full keeping a Luc/Bogut offense from decomposing into a reprise of the 2010-11 Bucks.
Woelfel notes that the Bucks expect Henson to be taken by the Pistons with the 9th pick.
I can’t see the Bucks giving up much to move up to the #10 pick. The draft appears to be tiered, with Anthony Davis on top, Beal/Kidd-Gilchrist/Robinson/Barnes/Lillard filling out a plateau one step downward, and a third level of talent that should last through the end of the lottery. Trading with Golden State gets them to the top of the third level, which could make sense for them. But if the Bucks are eyeing a player at #10, there is still a good chance he may still be available in the #12 spot since the talent in this third tier isn’t well differentiated.
The Trailblazers have the #11 pick and, like the Bucks, one of the spots where they need help is at center.