5 offseason needs for the Milwaukee Bucks following 2022 NBA Draft

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Pat Connaughton, Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Washington
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 10 (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

No. 2 – The Milwaukee Bucks need to add a small ball power forward

Leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft, many clamored for the Milwaukee Bucks to select E.J. Liddell of the Ohio State Buckeyes due to the team’s small ball four opening. Ultimately, they elected to take a wing in MarJon Beauchamp with their first rounder to address a different flaw, which was a solid move. Now, Jon Horst must address Milwaukee’s need for another power forward elsewhere, as it could be the key to making this team even more formidable, given how lethal the Bucks are when they go to their smaller lineups with Giannis Antetokounmpo at center. Finding the perfect piece to put next to Antetokounmpo will not be easy, but Horst will have his options to consider.

When discussing which players the Bucks should target to fill this vacancy, the name that makes the most sense is P.J. Washington. The 23-year-old forward just finished up his third season with the Charlotte Hornets, and he has shown impressive two-way potential early in his young career. Standing at 6-foot-7, Washington can defend multiple positions at a high level defensively, but he is also a stellar offensive player, having averaged 11.8 points while knocking down 37.5 percent of his 3-pointers throughout his first three NBA seasons. Washington would be the perfect fit for the Bucks, checking off everything they need in a small ball four. There are rumblings that he could be had via trade, as Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that Charlotte is expected to gauge trade interest in Washington and several other key players to shed some salary. On the books for what many would consider a bargain at $5.8 million next season, Washington is an affordable target for the Bucks, and they should make a spirited run at acquiring him.

If the Bucks are unable to acquire Washington or want to look elsewhere, there will be a handful of notable names available in free agency. Though Thaddeus Young and Taurean Prince may be out of Milwaukee’s price range, given their stature, that should not stop the Bucks from at least making a competitive offer to try and bring them in. On a lesser scale, they could target Joe Ingles, who has been a stellar rotational player throughout his career. While Ingles is coming off a knee injury that will likely cause him to miss time next season, bringing him aboard on a low-cost deal would be a low-risk move for the Bucks, as Ingles could be back for the playoffs and would not only be a great small ball four, but he would sharpen the team’s 3-point shooting tremendously, having buried an efficient 40.8 percent of his triples in his career.

After letting P.J. Tucker walk in 2021 and trying to replace him with Semi Ojeleye, who did not last past the trade deadline, Horst and the Bucks must get their small ball four right this time around.