Milwaukee Bucks 2020 NBA Draft: Addressing shooting needs in 2nd round

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - FEBRUARY 08: (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - FEBRUARY 08: (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /

Always in need of improving their 3-point efficiency, the Milwaukee Bucks addressed just that late in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft.

The motto of the last two seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks has been let it fly and it can easily summarize their draft night Wednesday night.

It took until the 45th overall pick for the Bucks to enter the draft where they ended up selecting Louisville junior Jordan Nwora. 15 picks later, the Bucks were back at it with picking an experienced 3-point sniper in Utah State guard Sam Merrill, who doubles as the oldest prospect in the class, which is due to having gone on a two-year mission trip before starting his collegiate career.

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The shared experience, floor spacing and marksmanship that both Merrill and Nwora provide at their respective positions start to fill in a Bucks roster that is very much incomplete at this stage.

With the events of the last few days in mind where the Bucks essentially overhauled their entire roster, save for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton, the team’s front office is working with a pretty blank canvas when it comes to filling out their depth.

Of course, the big challenge facing the Bucks, on top of whatever you want to call what is going on with the Bogdan Bogdanovic situation, is the very finite resources and flexibility they have available to them up as they’re up against the hard cap. That is if their offseason plays out the way the way they want it too, but that’s another topic entirely.

The mad dash the Bucks made in acquiring second rounders in the Jrue Holiday deal as well as from the Orlando Magic before the draft showed the fine line they have in trying to construct the roster in the short lead up to the start of the 2020-21 season.

If there’s a theme to take away from the Milwaukee Bucks’ draft night, it’s that there’s more to letting it fly to the degree they’ve done over the last two seasons.

Even with this incomplete picture as far as the Bucks’ rotation goes, betting on both Merrill and Nwora coming in and becoming immediate contributors is a little more than presumptuous. That may be cynical, but promising players have to earn the benefit of the doubt, despite the clear belief the Bucks have in both Merrill and Nwora.

With that in mind, the bar for entry of players asserting their role in the league comes from all sort of different avenues, regardless of draft position and so on. Especially those that happen to carry the level of shooting skills that both Merrill and Nwora bring to Milwaukee now.

Having spoken to local media and reporters earlier in the week, Bucks general manager Jon Horst spoke to the value of offensive efficiency and shotmaking, especially in a playoff setting.

In each of the Bucks’ last two playoff runs, we saw the limits to what their gambit of hoisting threes at a high volume turned out to be. When it came to it, the floor shrunk as the Bucks’ rolled out non-shooters at multiple positions, which helped opposing defenses build up the walls that are necessary to contain Antetokounmpo and silence the head of the Bucks’ offensive attack.

Do Merrill and Nwora help fix that problem? It’s far too early to make that determination and time will tell if each player can prove their worth in other areas of the game and more importantly, adapting to the NBA level over their rookie seasons and their overall NBA careers.

Nevertheless, it’s a good start for the Bucks in trying to rebuild up their roster and address some of their more outstanding flaws that led to their demise in the playoffs over the last two seasons.

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There are many more hurdles the Bucks have to clear in order to shore up their foundation, including the Bogdanovic saga, and will soon see how both Merrill and Nwora can chip in and make their presences known in Milwaukee.