Why the Bucks need to go all-in on player development next season

Jul 11, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: A.J. Green
Apr 2, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

As it currently stands, the Bucks have already exhausted their limited draft capital to acquire players who can help them win now.

They do have the 58th pick in this coming draft, and it’s their sole selection this year. For this writer, using the pick might be a better choice than trading it to draft another aging veteran.

Milwaukee’s Eastern Conference counterparts are testaments to the need to develop. The Miami Heat are up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals playing a litany of undrafted players. Boston’s own core is made up of players they drafted, and they have other serviceable young pieces like Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser coming off the bench. Philadelphia was able to develop Tyrese Maxey while still building around the talents of Joel Embiid.

This is just to say that finding diamonds in the rough is absolutely possible. The Bucks might have already found that with Sandro Mamukelashvili after all, but it remains to be seen how well he pans out for San Antonio.

Development also doesn’t just apply to Milwaukee’s young Bucks. Players like Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton still have holes in their game that they can work to patch up. Even Giannis Antetokounmpo has more room to grow to round out his offensive bag.

With a new head coach on the way, the Bucks may also finally have a lead tactician who is more liberal with giving young pieces some valuable playing time. One of Mike Budenholzer’s many faults was that he was persistent in giving his guys playing time. Just look at the decision to play George Hill and Thanasis Antetokounmpo over guys like Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig in the past few years. A new head coach might mean more playing time should open up for the Bucks’ bench moving forward.

Investing in the development of young players can also help the Bucks build for the future. The Bucks are currently in a win-now mode, but they will need to start thinking about the future at some point. By developing young players, the Bucks can ensure that they have a strong foundation in place for the years to come.

Having opportunities available for young players can also help the Bucks create and maintain their winning culture. When young players are given the minutes they need to play through their mistakes and develop into serviceable role players, they are more likely to buy into the team’s culture and be motivated to win. This can lead to a more successful team in the long run.

The Bucks will need to make some decisions about their future in the coming months. They can either choose to stay the course and try to improve their team through the draft and free agency, or they can make a big move by trading one of their stars in order to acquire another star.

The Bucks don’t have a lot of options available to them, and it will be interesting to see how they play their cards in the coming months. But one thing’s for sure: they can’t afford to not have their young pieces take the next steps in their games.

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Stay tuned for more updates and analysis on the Bucks’ youth movement over the coming off-season.