4 2024 NBA Draft prospects the Milwaukee Bucks must avoid at all costs

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No. 2 - AJ Johnson, NBL

Guard AJ Johnson, a high-scoring guard with a flashy offensive repertoire, is generating draft buzz. While his scoring prowess is undeniable, the Milwaukee Bucks, with the 23rd pick, should carefully consider whether he addresses their most pressing needs.

Let's get it out of the way. He is extremely raw, even if his upside is incredibly intriguing. So much of his game at the moment is more in theory than practice due to his overall inefficienct play the past few years.

On top of that, his lean and lanky frame just means he has a long way to go before areas of the game like finishing the rim, defending, and rebounding can be NBA-ready for him. Simply put, he's not ready yet, and he'll be a project player for any team he ends up on.

That's not to say he's a bad player by any means. His slashing ability is tantalizing, and it's not hard to imagine him leveraging his shiftiness and explosive ability to create advantages with ease on the offensive end. But right now, the positives end there.

The Bucks need good defenders at every position right now, and it doesn't help that Johnson's defensive effort has been questioned at times. He can struggle to stay in front of his man, particularly against bigger, stronger guards. The Bucks prioritize a strong defensive identity, and Johnson's defensive limitations could be a liability.

While Johnson can score in bunches, his shot selection can be inconsistent. He might force contested shots and struggle to create efficient offense within a team structure. The Bucks need a reliable scoring option that complements Giannis Antetokounmpo, not someone who might disrupt the offensive flow.

Johnson's primary focus is scoring, but his floor spacing quite candidly leaves much to be desired (he shot 27.8 percent from three in the NBL), while even his playmaking abilities are underdeveloped. The Bucks thrive on ball movement and Giannis' playmaking, and a point guard who can't contribute to the offensive flow while killing their floor-spacing around Antetokonmpo simply wouldn't mesh well with their system.

The Bucks already boast a strong backcourt with Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton. AJ Green could possibly compete for minutes at shooting guard, and the Bucks also have a similar player in TyTy Washington waiting in the wings if they bring him back this off-season.

While scoring depth is valuable, drafting another guard with a similar skillset might not be the best use of their draft pick. They need a power forward who complements Giannis, not competes with him for touches.

The Bucks are in a win-now window with Giannis entering his prime. Johnson might require time to adjust to the NBA's pace and improve his defensive awareness. The Bucks need a more polished prospect who can contribute immediately and complement Giannis offensively and defensively.

AJ Johnson is a talented scorer, but his defensive limitations, questionable shot selection, and skillset overlap with existing players might not be the solution for the Bucks' backcourt needs. Their draft strategy should focus on finding a well-rounded power forward who complements Giannis and bolsters their championship aspirations.