Should the Milwaukee Bucks Move Up In The Draft?


It’s a pretty simple question, but one that really takes some thought: should the Milwaukee Bucks make an effort to move up in the 2015 NBA Draft?

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I think the answer depends on how you feel about the Bucks’ young core–and I mean all of the young core, not just Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. That includes Khris Middleton, John Henson, Michael Carter-Williams and even guys like Tyler Ennis and Damien Inglis.

If you’re high on this young core and think it needs addition more than subtraction, then you probably don’t want to move up. Chances are, one or more of those guys will get dealt if a team in the lottery wants to swap picks with Milwaukee.

But if you’re like most logical Bucks fans, you realized that outside of Middleton, Giannis and Jabari those young players haven’t really shown that they’re going to be great or even good yet. The most you can really say about the rest of the young core is hopefully they can develop.

But what if one or more of those not-big-three Bucks could get traded into a player who does have flashes of being good, or even great? That’s where the talks of the potential Bucks move up comes into play.

There’s been talk of a Milwaukee/Sacramento pick swap that includes Henson for a while now, and although those rumors used to not make much sense they’re actually starting to come together. Chris Mannix has recently reported the Kings are looking into offers to move down in the draft if they can get a proven player for their pick.

John Henson is pretty proven I’d say, especially after his surprisingly very good playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. This trade seems to not make sense at first, however, because Willie Cauley-Stein seems like a player with a much higher ceiling than Henson, so why wouldn’t the Kings just take him?

Well, because of injuries to begin with. Cauley-Stein’s draft stock has actually fallen with many recent mocks having him go as low at eleventh overall, due to potential foot and sickle cell trait issues. Henson has neither of those problems, and also has the edge of already being a proven NBA commodity.

So, could that months-old rumor come to pass between the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks? It’s quite possible, considering one of the reasons Cauley-Stein was a good fit in Sactown was Kings center DeMarcus Cousins wanting him to play center so Boogie could scoot to power forward.

Henson could also play center in a frontcourt next to Boogie, and if he does have a lower ceiling than Cauley-Stein it’s certainly not because of his rim protection. Plus it’d be nice to see Henson go somewhere and get starter minutes, considering Jason Kidd seems determined to never give them to him.

But the pertinent question isn’t if the Bucks can move up, it’s should the Bucks move up. And I think they should.

I’ve written about John Henson and how much I like his ceiling before, and I stand by that. But..

I don’t think I like him better than Willie Cauley-Stein (injuries be damned, the kid’s ceiling is even taller than Kristaps Porzingis), Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay, or Porzingis himself.

And considering that right now the top three picks will probably be, in some order, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, that means at least two of those four players will be available at sixth overall, the pick the Bucks would receive from Sacramento.

I would, without hesitation, trade any player on the Bucks’ roster outside of the formerly-established “Big Three” (maybe they should be the little three? considering we’re talking about the “Young Bucks” and all) to move up and grab one of those seven players.

Okay, maybe a little hesitation with Inglis. I hate trading guys you’ve never seen play before. But I doubt the Kings would ask for him anyway. Although it seems prudent to not fall for the grass being greener on the other side and sticking with what you’ve got, I’m not sure patience is really a virtue in the NBA.

The two teams in the NBA Finals both made huge changes during the regular season (and more during the postseason and even the Finals themselves) that got them there.

The Golden State Warriors gave Draymond Green a starting spot and eventually sat down Andrew Bogut for Andre Iguodala in the Finals, both moves that resulted in a better Warriors team.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended up trading half of their team in the middle of the season to acquire two new starters in Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov who carried them through the entire Eastern Conference.

Could this move by the Bucks explode, and set the team back? Of course it could. But it could also be the move that sets Milwaukee on the path to it’s second championship.

I’ll take that risk any day.

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