Why Walker Kessler is better than you think for Milwaukee Bucks at 24

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - FEBRUARY 08 (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS - FEBRUARY 08 (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks hold the 24th overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft.

The team and fans certainly have their favorite targets. Among them for me is Walker Kessler. Yet when I hear most other fans speak of Kessler, most would prefer the team to stay away from him. Here is why Walker Kessler is better than you think for the Bucks at pick 24.

Walker Kessler is a great fit for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2022 NBA Draft

If you think highly of Brook Lopez, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t think highly of Walker Kessler. Kessler, just like Lopez, could be a monster defender for the Bucks.

Kessler is coming off of a college season that earned him the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors by averaging 4.6 blocks per game. Kessler gives the team an opportunity to continue their drop coverage scheme defensively because of the type of player that he is in terms of rim protection.

Kessler also has a knack for the boards, as he averaged 8.1 rebounds per game during his final season at Auburn and 12.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Kessler knows how to get the ball, whether it’s for a rebound, blocking a shot, or for a ball that is loose anywhere on the floor. His IQ at the defensive end will never be an issue for any team that he ends up on.

The concerns with Kessler are not on the defensive end, however. The biggest issue that most have with Kessler is his lack of offensive ability at this stage of his career. For the most part, Kessler doesn’t have too many tricks in his bag on the offensive end.

Kessler scores a majority of his points in the paint off of dunks and alley-oops. He does a tremendous job of getting open in screening action as the roller on pick-and-roll plays. That’s really about it when it comes to his offensive game though and that’s what is so worrying about him at this point in time. Most of what Kessler is going to do early on in his career on offense will come from pure heart and hustle on the offensive glass and in designs for him as a screener. That may cause spacing issues if he’s used in lineups with Giannis Antetokounmpo in the early stages of his career.

His lack of ability in the post and as an outside shooter are valid concerns, but those kinds of things can be developed with NBA coaches and veteran players to help guide him along the way. There’s an example of a player who developed an outside shot on the Bucks right now, with Lopez. Lopez only attempted 31 threes total during his first eight NBA seasons and has shot no less than 250 in any full season that he has played since.

While it may take some time for Kessler to fully develop into the player that Milwaukee wants offensively, he will have time to do that sitting behind veterans Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez. Kessler reminds me a lot of Brook Lopez and he’s really a development of a three-point shot away from bringing to the table exactly what Lopez does for the Bucks.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor projects Kessler to the Bucks in his latest mock draft and had this to say:

"“Massive interior force with elite shot-blocking and finishing skills. Developing his shot would be the cherry on top.”"

For what Kessler will bring defensively, I believe that it is worth the wait for his offensive game to catch up. He’s a smart player and you can’t teach IQ and awareness. He’s a very similar player to Lopez in terms of athleticism and defensive ability, so it would be a seemingly smooth transition into the next generation for the Bucks at the 5.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 10 potential prospects with 24th pick in NBA Draft. dark

Stay tuned to see what the team will do in the NBA Draft.