Given the recent developments surrounding “The Decision” (Monta Ellis edition), the Bucks now have a bit more guidance in terms of which positions the organization may look to target on June 26. The team brought in another group of six prospects Monday, headlined by the NCAA’s leading scorer, Erick Green and intriguing Brazilian big man Alexandre Paranhos.
Despite the 2013 draft’s lack of star power at the top, it looks to be one of the deepest in recent memory and value can certainly be mined in the second round. The group as a whole – consisting of Mike Bruesewitz (Wisconsin), Nate Wolters (South Dakota State), Alex Oriakhi (Missouri), Joffrey Lauvergne (France), Green (Virginia Tech) and Paranhos – is similar to the six players the team worked out last week in that none project as solidified first-round picks.
The 6-3, 185-pound combo guard put up 25.0 points per game as a senior en route to earning Third Team All-America honors, as well as the ACC Player of the Year award. He led Virginia Tech in scoring in 29 of 32 games and became the first player from a power conference to lead the nation in scoring since future Bucks legend Glenn Robinson (Purdue) in 1993-94. While scoring at that clip often entails volume shooting and, in turn, poor percentages, Green managed to shoot an impressive 48 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. He also chipped in 4.1 rebounds and just under four assists per game.
Green is hands-down the best NBA prospect in Monday’s workout and is an excellent all-around scorer. He has blazing speed in the open court – often grabbing rebounds and sprinting to the other end for a layup – and the innate ability to hit tough shots from all over the floor. While he’s certainly not going to be Stephen Curry, his quick release and relentless movement off the ball validate the comparison. While he played some point guard at Virginia Tech, he projects as more of a combo guard at the NBA level and will need to add some strength before he’s ready for the daily grind of the league. Green would be a mighty reach at pick number 15 for Milwaukee, but if he slides to the middle of the second round, look for Milwaukee to pounce on the underrated, creative guard who can score in bunches.
Sure, Wolters played at a school most fans probably didn’t know existed. And sure, the competition level in the Summit League doesn’t hold a candle to the Big Ten or ACC. But don’t write off Wolters just yet – the 6-4 combo guard was a three-time All-Summit performer at South Dakota State and one of only four players in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists in a career. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game as a senior and had a reputation as one of the best scorers in the nation – just ask IPFW, on whom he dropped a career-high 53 against on February 7.
The small school aspect invites inevitable comparisons to Kings’ guard Jimmer Fredette, but Wolters has much more of a mid-range and attack-based game than the former BYU marksman. While Fredette may be the better NBA prospect, Wolters looks to have a more polished all-around game. Though he’ll never be a consistent starter in the league – and he’ll likely need to make the transition to point guard – look for a team to take a chance on him in the second round with the hopes he can develop into a Luke Ridnour-type spark off the bench.
Oriakhi played his first three collegiate seasons at UConn and was a crucial member of the 2011 national championship squad. However, when the program was hit with sanctions, Oriakhi took advantage of a rule allowing him to transfer without sitting out a season. He opted to play for Frank Haith at Missouri and thrived as an interior defender with great touch around the basket – think a Kendrick Perkins/Patrick Patterson hybrid. The 6-9, 255-pound senior averaged 11.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, and he shot 64 percent from the field. At 6-9, he’s slightly undersized for the power forward position, but his awareness and strength enable him to handle bigger opponents. At this point, he’s a fringe-second rounder but he’ll certainly receive plenty of summer league and training camp interest should he go undrafted.
As with many young European prospects, little is known about Lauvergne aside from the fact that he’s a big, athletic center. The 22-year-old played professionally in France, Spain and Serbia last season and put up very solid scoring and rebounding numbers in limited minutes. At 6-11, he has prototypical size and flashed an emerging ability to shoot from outside while playing overseas. However, his wingspan was measured at just 6-10, which could – believe it or not – make a difference for some NBA teams. A player like Lauvergne’s stock is difficult to judge due to lack of exposure, but it’s likely a team will take a chance on him late in the second round and stash him in Europe for a few years.
Paranhos, who reportedly impressed the Rockets during a recent workout, played professionally in Brazil this season and Leandro Barbosa reportedly had a hand in his discovery. At 6-8, 241 lbs. Paranhos bucks (no pun intended) the trend of skinny, soft overseas big men. And unlike Lauvergne, his whopping 7-3 wingspan works in his favor. Due to a lack of footage, little is known about his style of play, but his body style and skill set suggest a solid inside-out game. Paranhos was virtually unknown until fairly recently, but some significant buzz surrounding his potential could be enough for a team to take a chance on him in the latter portion of the second round.
Having watched nearly every one of Mike Bruesewitz’ games at Wisconsin over the past three seasons, I am rather surprised he’s already landed multiple workout invitations (Minnesota hosted both he and Jared Berggren last week). Proximity certainly played a role in both opportunities – Bruesewitz is a Minnesota native – but his style of play does not appear to translate to the NBA level. As a defensive-minded, 6-6 small forward (who really played power forward at Wisconsin) he’ll need to become a more consistent shooter before any teams give him serious consideration. On the positive side, however, he’s a very bright guy with excellent charisma and a unique style who, if he ever makes it to the league,could have a Scalabrine-esque cult following. While there’s almost no chance “The Bruiser” is selected on June 26, he’ll look to earn a summer league invite and potentially latch on with a team in training camp.