Milwaukee Bucks’ Jon Horst can put past draft failures behind him in 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 29 (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 29 (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

Jon Horst doesn’t have all too great of a reputation for finding talent in the draft since he took over as general manager for the Milwaukee Bucks. The last time the Bucks had a first-round pick play for them was in 2018, when they selected Donte DiVincenzo. It’s tough to exactly blame Horst for that though, considering that the team usually trades their first round picks for upgrades to their roster as a whole.

Still, it has become clear throughout the years that while Horst has been excellent in all other phases of improving the team such as free agency and trades, he struggles to find the top talents in the draft. With a solid draft in 2022, Horst can finally leave the past behind him.

The 2022 offseason will go a long way in determining the future of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks simply can’t afford to make any mistakes in any facet of the NBA offseason, whether it be in free agency, in the draft, or any trades that they may make. History will not be on their side when it comes to the 2022 NBA Draft, though.

Jon Horst was hired as general manager of the Bucks in June of 2017. That means that 2022 will be the sixth draft for the Bucks with Horst at the helm. From his first five drafts, a grand total of zero first round picks of the Jon Horst era remain with the team today. That isn’t necessarily Horst’s fault if you take into account that they’ve traded every first round pick that they’ve had since 2018.

However, that doesn’t mean that Horst has done a great job in the draft as a whole either. The most successful player that Horst has drafted has been Donte DiVincenzo. Had DiVincenzo been able to stay healthy, it would’ve been a great pick for Horst. Instead, DiVincenzo was traded in 2022 after a rough start after coming back from an ankle injury that sidelined him last season.

Here is the full list of every player that Milwaukee has acquired via the draft since Jon Horst took over:

D.J. Wilson – 2017 first round

D.J. Wilson is one of my favorite Bucks players of all-time, but that’s not because he actually contributed much to the team. Wilson’s career-high in scoring came during his second season in Milwaukee, where he averaged 5.8 points per game. Wilson’s biggest contribution to the Bucks was being a part of the trade that landed P.J. Tucker in Milwaukee.

Sterling Brown – 2017 second round

Sterling Brown came to Milwaukee in a draft day trade. Just like Wilson, Brown’s best season came in his second season, where he averaged 6.4 points per game. Brown and Wilson were both selections when Jason Kidd was coaching the Bucks, so it’s hard to blame the team from moving on with Mike Budenholzer at the helm now.

Donte DiVincenzo – 2018 first round

As previously mentioned, Donte DiVincenzo was the last first round pick that ended up actually playing for the Bucks. DiVincenzo was not bad at all for being a guy picked with the 17th pick. He appeared to be a breakout star in the pandemic shortened season, but struggled once the team returned for the bubble. If not for injuries and unforeseen circumstances such as the pandemic keeping him off the court, he would likely have been a part of the team’s future at the guard position.

Jordan Nwora – 2020 second round

Nwora is one where it’s too early to tell whether or not he will be a successful player for the Bucks. Nwora has shown signs of becoming a great bench scorer for the team, but at the same time has been frustratingly inconsistent in his first two seasons in the NBA. This one has the potential to be a successful pick for Horst if he can eliminate his inconsistencies.

Sam Merrill – 2020 second round

Sam Merrill was the NBA Draft’s equivalent of the NFL’s Mr. Irrelevant, being the last pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Merrill only played in 30 regular season games during his only season with the Bucks, averaging 3.0 points per game. Merrill did become useful though, as he was included in the trade that landed Milwaukee Grayson Allen.

Sandro Mamukelashvili – 2021 second round

Mamukelashvili, as with Nwora, is a player where it’s too early to tell whether or not. He showed signs of being a potentially solid role player down the road, as he averaged 13.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per 36 minutes in his rookie season. He was able to shoot the three at a 42.3 percent rate, which makes him another good perimeter shooter around Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Georgios Kalaitzakis – 2021 second round

Kalaitzakis was a very weird pick for the Bucks. The Bucks signed him to a three-year deal after the draft, yet never actually gave him a chance. Milwaukee waived Kalaitzakis after only 9 games in his rookie season.

Milwaukee Bucks GM Jon Horst can put past draft day failures behind him in the 2022 NBA Draft

The good news for Horst in the 2022 draft is that whether Milwaukee trades up, trades down, or stays put, there will likely be some talent there for him to take. The 2022 class is full of players with tremendous upside. Not all of them will be instant contributors, but even if all of the instant contributors are gone by the time Milwaukee picks, they will be able to add some talent for the future.

The player that a lot of Bucks fans are high on is E.J. Liddell from Ohio State. However, Liddell may not be there when the Bucks draft unless they trade up. Even if they stay put, the Bucks will have plenty of options that will become key player for them in the future.

There’s a lot of pressure on Jon Horst in the 2022 NBA Draft, given that he’s never drafted a player that has been able to contribute for a span of many years. The talent is certainly there for him, now it’s just up to him to not mess this up. We know he can make good out of anything through trades, as he did with Merrill and Wilson, but it would be nice to keep a player and have him develop for a change.

dark. Next. Milwaukee Bucks 2022 Potential Draft Prospect Tiers

Stay tuned to see how the Bucks will approach the 2022 NBA Draft.