The Milwaukee Bucks did end up joining the NBA Draft festivities.
The team swung a deal with the Orlando Magic for the draft rights to Andre Jackson Jr. out of UConn (36th overall selection), and Orlando got Milwaukee’s 2030 second-round pick and cash considerations. It was an easy deal to make as John Hammond (current GM of Orlando) served as the Bucks’ general manager from 2009-2017. Milwaukee also selected Chris Livingston out of Kentucky with the 58th overall pick in the draft (That pick ended up being the last pick as Philly and Chicago had to forfeit their second-round selections due to tampering violations).
The draft picks are a surprise, as Milwaukee had one pick heading into the draft (the last overall selection), and those players are usually draft and stash types of players depending on how good the team is. Milwaukee selected MarJon Beauchamp with the 24th overall pick last summer, and they are high on him, but with guys like Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Giannis Antetokounmpo getting older, is the plan now to have a Golden State Warriors situation where you draft and develop guys and have a foundation to build around after those guys leave?
Why Bucks’ rookie Andre Jackson Jr. has a chance to play immediately
Possibly, Giannis isn’t expected to depart for a while, but what about the other three? It remains to be seen. Middleton declined his $40 million player option, Lopez is an unrestricted free agent, and Holiday has contemplated retirement after his current deal is up. Milwaukee will eventually need to join the youth movement, and Thursday’s draft is a positive start with the selection of Andre Jackson Jr.
Milwaukee, towards the last couple of years in the Mike Budenholzer era, became too one-dimensional. Sure Milwaukee had good metrics on defense in the regular season, but the postseason was a different story. I don’t need to go through the lack of adjustments in the Heat series, specifically against Jimmy Butler, but every team in the postseason needs a Swiss Army Knife in a guy who will guard the best player, get your team extra possessions, and make winning plays.
Milwaukee, two years ago, had P.J. Tucker, a guy who wasn’t known for his offensive, but helped the Bucks win based on his winning mentality, keeping possessions alive, and his penchant for rebounding. Andre Jackson Jr. can do those same things because he comes from a winning program.
You look at Jackson Jr’s stats at 6.7 points per game and think he doesn’t score much, but he does the things that don’t show up on the box score, such as playing elite defense, using his long 6-foot-6 frame to bother shots and deflect the basketball.
Not only that, but this is the prototypical player that new Bucks Head Coach Adrian Griffin wants on his team. During Griffin’s tenure as Raptors associate HC, Toronto built its team with elite defenders with long wingspans. As a team, Milwaukee wants to become more balanced, and this selection helps them do that. It may allow Jackson to see time right away next season.
Milwaukee, with their selections, jumpstarted an era of their young core, and it will be fun to see how Jackson Jr, Livingston, and second-year pro-MarJon Beauchamp develop over the next few years.
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