Just like that, one of the most anticipated drafts in NBA history is over.
For the Bucks, it was the most important draft of the new millennium, and it ranks among the most memorable in franchise history.
Milwaukee got its man in Jabari Parker, selecting the savvy forward from Duke with the second overall pick. As soon as Adam Silver announced the Cavaliers had settled on Andrew Wiggins, Parker’s destiny was sealed. The Bucks wanted him all along, and he wanted the Bucks.
Parker was the Bucks’ only first round selection, but Milwaukee added two more players in the second round: Damien Inglis (31) and Johnny O’Bryant (36). Milwaukee’s third second-round pick, Lamar Patterson (48), was promptly dealt to the Atlanta Hawks.
Overall, the Bucks did well. Very well.
Jabari Parker, F, Duke, Fr. – Round 1, Pick 2
In a draft where the Bucks could not afford to whiff on a top pick, they hit a home run. Not only is Parker the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft, he’s the most prepared to step into a new environment and carry the expectations of a fan base on his back.
At 19 years old, Parker already has the charisma and professionalism of a veteran. The son of an NBA player, he’s a charismatic, insightful interview. Parker understands the expectations that come with being the second pick in a loaded draft. Maybe he won’t be Carmelo Anthony 2.0, but it’s difficult to envision a player of his skill level and work ethic failing to live up to expectations.
The key will be managing those expectations. Is it fair to expect Parker to step in and produce like a superstar from day one? Of course not.
In Kevin Durant’s rookie year, the then-Sonics lost 11 more games than the season before. Rookie LeBron’s Cavaliers won only 35 games. And this is LeBron and Durant we’re talking about – the two best players in the world.
Like any rookie, Parker is going to struggle. And considering the youth on Milwaukee’s roster and the holes in his defensive game, he’ll probably struggle quite a bit. But that’s okay. It’s important to temper expectations and understand that his development will be a process that plays out over several years.
I give the Bucks an A for the pick because, frankly, I think Parker is going to be better than Andrew Wiggins. Of course, I can’t prove that, but can anyone at this point? The Bucks did what they needed to do. They landed a potential franchise player to add to a young core that already features one of the highest-upside players in the league. And they did it by selecting a high-character guy with the highest floor in the draft. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Damien Inglis, G/F, French Guiana – Round 2, Pick 1
In all honesty, I knew very little about Inglis before the selection, and I reckon (that’s right, reckon) most others were in the same boat. I headed over to DraftExpress to do some recon, and one thing jumped out: his size. At 6-8, 240, the 19-year-old already has an NBA body and then some.
While Inglis isn’t much of a force offensively, his potential defensively is immense, and that size will allow him to transition into the NBA game more quickly than most second-round European prospects.
I give Milwaukee a B though, because of how raw Inglis is offensively. At 31, the Bucks could have grabbed Cleanthony Early or K.J. McDaniels, two prospects with much more polished offensive games. Again, Inglis has the tools to be an ace defender down the road, but in such a deep draft it’s tough to justify grabbing an unproven commodity at an already crowded position.
Johnny O’Bryant, F, LSU, Soph. – Round 2, Pick 6
Another second round pick, another B.
I don’t have a problem with the choice here, but it was puzzling to see the Bucks again ignore a glaring need in the backcourt.
We know O’Bryant is a big body with nice touch around the basket, and the Bucks were able to take a close look at him when he worked out in Milwaukee a few weeks ago.
What we don’t know is how he’ll fit into the rotation as a rookie. At 6-9, he’s a natural power forward, but Milwaukee is already stocked at the position. Even if/when Ekpe Udoh and Jeff Adrien depart in free agency, Jabari Parker, Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and (sometimes) Khris Middleton all project ahead of O’Bryant on the depth chart.
The Bucks must have liked what they saw from O’Bryant in his workout, which is fine, but it’s tough to justify passing on a number of accomplished college guards with only four true guards – Nate Wolters, Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Carlos Delfino (I’m being generous here) – under contract for next season.