Milwaukee Bucks NBA Draft Prospect Watch: Nico Mannion

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29: Nico Mannion #1 of the Arizona Wildcats instructs the offense during the game against the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on February 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The UCLA Bruins defeated the Arizona Wildcats 69-64. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29: Nico Mannion #1 of the Arizona Wildcats instructs the offense during the game against the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on February 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The UCLA Bruins defeated the Arizona Wildcats 69-64. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Nico Mannion, NBA Draft, Milwaukee Bucks
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 11: (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images) /

Fit with the Bucks

As is the case with the various guard prospects that we have profiled throughout this process, the Bucks will soon have to find some kind of guard depth in the coming months.

Whether that is looking for a point guard of the future, so to speak, is up for debate, but the longevity of both of the Bucks’ veteran guards, Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, will surely be taken in mind when assessing their roster for immediate and long-term future.

From that standpoint, is there a world where Mannion may be of consideration where the Bucks end up in the first round outside of the lottery courtesy of the Indiana Pacers?

The fact that Mannion offers up an ability to lead an offense and is a threat to fire away from well behind the 3-point line would give the Bucks a different dimension offensively from their backcourt options. And despite the physical and athletic concerns that hang over him at this stage, Mannion’s competitiveness, hustle and overall effort level on the defensive end is certainly encouraging.

Those questions will certainly give the Bucks’ front office some level of pause when weighing their options. But the bigger dilemma may just be projecting how effective or efficient the instant offense that Mannion theoretically brings to an NBA team.

Mannion’s aggressive scoring certainly gives off the vibe of a team’s sixth man and there’s certainly some value in that, no question. But forecasting what kind of scorer and how Mannion can fit within the construct of an NBA system, and whether he’ll create high-level offense against NBA-caliber athletes is the exact line of questioning that has generated the kind of skepticism Mannion is facing from draft evaluators.

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Fairly or unfairly, the Bucks will certainly be among those teams, given that Mannion could be available by the time they’re selecting. And those worries may lead to the Bucks selecting a player or a skill set they’ve traditionally valued under general manager Jon Horst.