Milwaukee Bucks and the 2017 NBA Draft: Everything You Need to Know

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2017 NBA Draft just hours away, the Milwaukee Bucks have the 17th and 48th picks. Greg Monroe decided this week to take up his player option, keeping him on the team for next season. The Bucks took Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon last season, and with both of them having a significant impact while flashing potential, the Bucks could arguably have "won" the 2016 NBA Draft.

Times have changed. Beloved GM John Hammond left for Orlando, GM-in-waiting Justin Zanik proved to be the forever bridesmaid, and an inexperienced front office man by the name Jon Horst stepped into the limelight. Horst was wherever Hammond was, and to ease all of our concerns, we hope he took notes. While this isn't Horst's first draft, this is his first draft being the face of the process.

In all honesty, Jon Horst doesn't have to do TOO much compared to most other General Managers. He walked into a job with a solid, growing, young and hungry core of players. He has an All-Star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, a near All-Star in Jabari Parker, The Rookie of the Year (I don't care if the award hasn't been given out yet, we all know it) in Malcolm Brogdon, and potentially the next Kevin Garnett in Thon Maker. Include a sharp-shooting wing in Khris Middleton, and you have five players under 26 that can make a huge impact. Before I get into Draft pick options, let's take a look at the roster.

Under Contract players:


Matthew Dellavedova (26), Malcolm Brogdon (24), and Gary Payton (24)


Khris Middleton (25) and Rashad Vaughn (20)


Giannis Antetokounmpo (22) and Mirza Teletovic (31)


Jabari Parker (22) and Thon Maker (20)


Greg Monroe (27) and John Henson (26)

Pending Contract Players:

Tony Snell (SF, 25, restriced free agent) and Spencer Hawes (PF, 29, player option)

Obviously the positions are very flexible, but these are the 10 and potentially 12 players under contract this season. Remember that Jabari will miss nearly the entire season with another knee surgery, so the under-contract paint players are just Thon Maker, Greg Monroe and John Henson. Where the Bucks lacked last season is rebounding, and unless Henson starts crashing the boards as well as he blocks, it's still a severe issue. They could also use another 3-point shooter, as the Bucks only have two players under contract that shot above 40% from beyond-the-arc with at least one attempt per game (Khris Middleton, 43.3%; and Malcolm Brogdon, 40.4%). Mirza Teletovic has underperformed, Michael Beasley is gone and Tony Snell isn't resigned yet, so a sharp-shooting wing could be pursued with either pick as well. This being mentioned, let's take a look at the guys the Bucks are, or at least should, consider:

Justin Patton, C, Creighton

Justin Patton flew completely under everyone's radar as a late-bloomer in high school and a redshirt freshman at Creighton. Patton certainly doesn't lack athleticism or a high motor, as both were certainly present against Villanova, Marquette and Georgetown. At 6'11" plus change and a 7'3" wingspan, he certainly has intriguing height. He's effective in transition, and at times had a solid shooting stroke up to the three point line. Despite incredible flashes of potential, he is definitely a project. His lanky frame got outmuscled frequently during his first season, and his lack of maturity does not go unnoticed. Combine those to negatives with poor rebounding footwork and positioning, and he's almost an instant liability on the defensive end. The potential to be a sizable two-way threat is there, but his ability at the NBA level could also very well never materialize.

Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

Jarrett Allen had as much of an impact on their school's team as a freshman than any other prospect out there. Allen led the Longhorns in rebounding, blocks, minutes and finished second in scoring while racking up 12 double-doubles. He also played big when it counted, as he had a 22 points, 19 rebound night against Kansas. He stands at 6'10" with a 7'5" wingspan, and put with a 92" standing reach, Allen is appealing to the size-happy Bucks. He's a two-way, athletic player who can block a shot and pull down a rebound. His weakness includes only making 56.4% of his free throws and a 2.5 Turnover per Game ratio. Allen's offensive game wasn't poor, but it was incredibly inconsistent. His rebounding form has been questioned, and he didn't test well nor work out well with any team. At best, you found a Myles Turner 2.0, but he could also easily be a worse John Henson.

Ike Anigbonu, C, UCLA

The most intriguing aspect of Ike Anigbonu's game has nothing to do with his play. Anigbonu is 6'10", over 250 pounds and boasts a 7'6"+ wingspan. That sturdy, long frame is drooled over in today's NBA. Unfortunately, there's little to his play that benefits him. He played as a reserve, only playing more than 20 minutes in a game twice and only scoring double-digits once. Averaged over a Per-30 scale (starting minutes), he would have had a 10.8/9.2 spread with 2.8 blocks a game. His FG% is only high due to dunks, so discrediting that, Anigbonu is strictly an energetic size monster that can crash the glass and block shots as well as anyone in this draft. He's 18 with no solid shooting or free throw stroke, so it could be a few years before he contributes anything significant to the team. Still, if the Bucks to a good job developing, they could have a poor man's Hassan Whiteside in a half a decade.

Harry Giles, PF/C, Kentucky

If there was a standard deviation for the conceptual Risk/Reward ratio, Harry Giles would undoubtedly have the largest number. When healthy, he's the best big man in this entire draft. He's an extremely gifted athlete with a 6'10"/7'3" size spread. His footwork and physicality combined with transition and finishing ability make him a tantalizing prospect for later picks. This is when he's healthy. That's a rarity. If knee surgeries were strikes in bowling, he had a Turkey before his 19th birthday. It's one thing to have injuries, and it's another to come back from them. He never looked fully fit or healthy at Duke, and his lack of range and versatility on the offensive end raise question marks even when healthy. Some team could get the next Kevin Garnett, but that same team could easily have picked Greg Oden 2.0.

Terrence Ferguson, SG, Australia

Terrence Ferguson was a 2016 McDonald's All-American who abandoned a scholarship to Arizona to play overseas for a year. He's a 19-year-old athletic shooting guard with NBA range and windmill dunks in his back pocket. He came off the bench to play against guys much older than him, so his stats raise some questions. At 184 pounds at the combine, he'd be the lightest player on the bucks - and he's 6'7". The only other two players under 200 pounds are Delly and Gary Payton, and they're both 6'4" or shorter. He's going to need to bulk up big time in order to not be blown over on defense. He's undoubtedly a project with no indications on how he'll play defense, but the Bucks certainly like Australia and they could use another distance shooter.

Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky

Although I think Edrice is a fine name, "Bam" Adebayo stand at 6'10", 250 pounds with a 7'3" Wingspan. The altheticism Adebayo boasts for that frame is impeccable. His ability to defend and protect the rim is the reason he's a first-round pick. Bam is simply willing to battle it out down low, but he also has the speed to burn out opposing big men in offensive sets and transition. His offensive ability raises all of the questions. Adebayo doesn't have much to show with the ball, as he has a poor turnover ratio, no back-to-the basket play and zero go-to post moves. His 65.3% mark from the free throw line doesn't help his cause, and he seems to simply get confused in complicated plays and double teams. The Markieff Morris/Tristan Thompson lovechild will have to increase his basketball IQ significantly to see major minutes on the court one day, but his NBA-ready defense will get him some minutes right away wherever he goes.

Polling on, multiple fan sites and beat writer mock drafts have Harry Giles being the most popular pick, and I don't blame them. However, I don't agree. My hot take and very unpopular opinion is that Bam Adebayo would be the best fit for the Bucks in this draft. Here's why:

No to Justin Patton: Patton has size and two-way potential, but the focus of what the Bucks need is rebounding, and he simply relied on his size at the college level to rebound. His form and positioning are both highly questionable. I wouldn't be disappointed with the pick, but I wouldn't see the Bucks improving in any aspect anytime soon.

No to Jarrett Allen: Allen gets most of his criticism for his unreliable offensive game, but his rebounding ability not translating to the NBA level is what concerns me big time. His most realistic projection is John Henson, and we already have one "big" disappointment on our roster.

Maybe to Ike Anigbonu: I really have issues with drafting guys who have never started. Yes, he has what we need in rebounding and defensive play in general, and we can afford to take on a project, but his lack of shooting from the floor or the line combined with never starting prevents him from being a stand-out pick.

No to Harry Giles: Given this guy's variability in potential, he could easily be gone by #17. I would hate to have Greg Oden 2.0 on the roster, and a lot of the things Giles provides we already have in Thon Maker. Realistically, he's Bobby Portis 2.0 to me.

No to Terrence Ferguson: We do really need a sharp shooter, and with Moose coming back, Jon Horst & co. might be less inclined to take a big man, but his skinniness really concerns me. He 6'7" with a 6'8" wingspan and no proven defense. We'd be better off signing a free agent or trading for Kyle Korver to provide deep shooting. Plus, for a "good" shooter, he shot under 32% from beyond the Aussie arc.

YES to Bam Adebayo: What makes him better than the other big men? His rebounding ability and overall paint defense is proven, NBA-ready, and impactful Game 1. You can't say that about any other prospect in this draft. What the Bucks need more than anything is perimeter defense and rebounding, and they get that right away in Bam Adebayo. with Greg Monroe and Thon Maker in the front court, he doesn't need to contribute offensively right away. He's a tangible project that can also provide paint defense help immediately. Sign me up.

It should be noted that if the Bucks do decide to fill a hole on the wing, OG Anunoby and Semi Ojeleye might get more than a few looks from the front office. Potential picks for #48 incluse SF Dillon Brooks, SG Tyler Dorsey, and SG/SF Dwayne Bacon.

Bucks in 6,

Samuel R. Fuller