Bucks select Chris Livingston in 2023 NBA Draft: Reaction and analysis

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 07 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 07 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The annual NBA Draft is a great equalizer of sorts for the association, whether you’re a contending team looking to get over the hump or a rebuilding team trying to turn the page.

Former champions Milwaukee Bucks haven’t had the best history with the draft, and that’s something they need to change now more than ever. Their season came to a disappointing end in the first round of the playoffs, as they were handed a loss by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. This was a humbling defeat for the Bucks, who had won the NBA championship just two seasons ago.

There are a number of reasons why the Bucks were unsuccessful in the playoffs this season. One factor was their age. The Bucks had the oldest roster in the NBA, and they were no match for the Heat’s youthful energy and athleticism. Another factor was their bench. The Bucks’ bench was one of the worst in the NBA, and they were often outscored by their opponents’ benches.

With the final pick in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks looked to right the ship by drafting Kentucky freshman Chris Livingston.

Bucks select Chris Livingston in 2023 NBA Draft: Reaction and analysis

This pick was a clear fit for the Bucks, who were looking to add youth, athleticism, wings, defense, and secondary playmaking more than anything else. They get just that with 6-foot-6 Chris Livingston, an exceptional athlete with a high basketball IQ.

According to NBA insider Shams Charania, Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports, has been calling teams in the second round of the NBA draft and asking them not to select his client, Chris Livingston.

There’s a ton of potential there for Livingston, a former five-star high school recruit. Chris Livingston had a solid freshman season for the University of Kentucky in 2022-23, where he averaged 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest through 34 games.

Livingston is an explosive athlete with a knack for making highlight-reel plays. He can leap out of the gym, finish strong at the rim, and he’s also a gifted passer and ball-handler. Livingston’s athleticism allows him to create his own shot, and he’s also a threat to score off the dribble or in transition.

On the defensive end, it’s almost an understatement to say that Livingston is a disruptive force. He has lightning-quick hands and feet, and he’s always looking to block shots or disrupt passing lanes. Livingston is also a good rebounder for his size, and he’s not afraid to get physical.

It’s Livingston’s switchability that has this writer most intrigued. He is a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions, which bodes well for a Bucks team looking to go all in on its defensive identity headlined by the talents of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Livingston is also a good rebounder who has shown the ability to score the ball, particularly in transition.

Efficiency and perimeter shooting will be a bit of a project. Livingston shot just 42.9 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from 3-point range, though he was a key contributor to Kentucky’s success, helping them reach the NCAA Tournament and win the SEC Tournament.

Livingston is a versatile player who can play multiple positions. He is a good defender and rebounder, and he has also shown the ability to score the ball. He is projected to be a second-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

With the most recent haul, the hope is that the Milwaukee Bucks can finally shore up its long-dwindling youth movement to future-proof the core while looking to win now. And with new head coach Adrian Griffin at the helm, it’s not hard to imagine the two can develop well under his tutelage, given his long track record of doing so for wing-sized players.

Overall, Livingston is a talented player with a lot of potential. He very clearly has the tools to be a good NBA player, but he will need to improve his shooting consistency and add strength. If he can do that, he has the potential to be a solid contributor at the next level.

With most of the association making big moves all around them, it was clear the Bucks needed to make some changes this offseason. They also needed to add some youth and athleticism to their roster, improve their bench, and find a way to get more production from their role players. With these two draft selections, it seems they’ve done just that.

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