Ahead of an offseason of uncertainty and potential change, how the Milwaukee Bucks approach the draft could tell us a lot about what will follow.
The 2018-19 offseason was one of the most significant in Milwaukee Bucks‘ history given the extensive number of key players hitting free agency and yet, for very different reasons, the next few months may prove to be even more important.
Having brought the band back a year ago, the Bucks now find themselves in need of adding some new touring members at the very least.
Given the continued playoff struggles of Eric Bledsoe, it seems inevitable that a more dramatic change at point guard could be on the cards too.
Where that particular situation really gets interesting, and challenging, is when it comes to how exactly they’re going to go about doing that.
The Bucks are far from blessed with an abundance of trade assets, as a combination of whiffed picks, and terrible contracts that needed to be bundled with draft compensation to move them on have left Milwaukee with minimal tools to deal with.
It’s not an unfair reflection of the Bucks’ roster to describe Donte DiVincenzo as the only encouraging young player, and therefore the only playing asset who could be dangled with any real appeal. The problem is that because DiVincenzo is the Bucks’ only promising young talent, they can’t really afford to part with him either.
That means any truly meaningful change that the Bucks make this year will likely come via moving draft picks along with salary filler, but how they decide to do that will offer us a glimpse into where the front office’s mindset is anyway.
The Bucks are slated to pick 24th overall in this year’s draft, thanks to the first round pick they recouped from the Indiana Pacers in the Malcolm Brogdon sign and trade.
That may not be the most exciting pick the franchise has ever had at its disposal, but as one of the NBA’s oldest teams this season, and with no sign of an obvious path to adding an injection of young talent to the roster otherwise, that’s a pick that the Bucks would be well served in not just keeping, but putting to good use too.
If the Bucks have the patience and composure to do that, parting with picks further down the line if needed for trades, it would make for something of a change in how Milwaukee has approached roster building over the past couple of seasons.
Put simply, for as much as the Bucks have felt the pressure of needing to do all they can to maximize the current window of contention and convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to stay long-term, many of the moves they’ve made to that end are set up to prove incredibly detrimental to how good the roster could be if Giannis actually does re-sign.
On that front, even though the need to fix the team in the now has never been more pressing, the Bucks’ second round exit exposed that a supporting cast of soon to be retired veterans doesn’t quite cut it either.
One of the great strengths of Mike Budenholzer and his coaching staff, far predating their time in Milwaukee, has been development. With the Bucks, to say they haven’t really been given much to work with on that front would be a major understatement.
Given the salary cap constraints the Bucks will be working with, veteran players signing in free agency are an inevitability. But as the Heat just taught the Bucks in a very painful way, Milwaukee could do worse than trying to find their own Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson to add some much needed life to the back end of their rotation.