Monday, June 11, 2012

How Can I Help You? Milwaukee Bucks

The Jennings-Ellis combo is looking for some more firepower.
The Bucks were the best team in the Eastern Conference to miss the playoffs and they have a considerable amount of talent. This is the part of the draft where we see teams who are not in the rebuilding stage, but rather looking to add pieces to become or sustain a playoff team. Milwaukee is looking to break through.

There are exactly three free agents who will be departing the Bucks this offseason: Ersan Ilyasova, Carlos Delfino, and my main man, Kwame Brown. Brown is obviously going to be ignored. We've spent too much time on him already. Delfino is also expendable. His level of play dropped from last year and he's become nothing more than an average three-point specialist. And Ilyasova, from what I hear, will likely not return to the team. He had a breakout season last year and could go hunting for a fat contract that Milwaukee may be unable (or unwilling) to provide.

With those three presumably out of the fold, let's see what the Bucks have to work with.

At the point is none other than Brandon Jennings. Jennings is one of the better point guards in this league and is quietly improving his atrocious shooting percentage. At shooting guard are Monta Ellis and Mike Dunleavy. Ellis was brought here in the trade with the Warriors and completes one of the highest scoring backcourts in the NBA. Dunleavy is solid for the second unit. Like many of the recent teams, the Bucks' guards are in good shape.

At small forward are Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the defensive stopper, and Tobias Harris, the second year man out of Tennessee. While it would be hard to say SF isn't a position of need, Mbah a Moute is a role player and Harris is still very young. Milwaukee has a decision to make here. Power forward has Drew Gooden and Jon Leuer. Despite Gooden's play and Leuer's youth, this could be a position of need. Gooden is old (30) and Leuer was a mid second round draft pick last year. It would be tough to say he can truly become a starting PF in the NBA. At center lies Ekpe Udoh, and unless the Bucks are content with him, they may need to draft another big man.

Milwaukee picks 12th and 42nd in the draft. Let's take a look at some options.

It seems that frontcourt is the biggest issue so the Bucks should either use both picks on it or save one for a small forward if they deem necessary. The lottery pick will be used on a big man.

Zeller could play both PF and C.
Probably the best option is Tyler Zeller. Zeller has the ability to play both power forward and center. He is a solid rebounder and is capable of scoring down low, something that the Bucks will greatly miss after losing Ilyasova and even Andrew Bogut. Zeller can also run the floor with anyone, making him a great fit in the fast paced offense with Jennings and Ellis.

Here are some other possible picks: Perry Jones from Baylor has potential through the roof. He's still raw, but if the Bucks develop him correctly, he can morph into a SF/PF combo that they can roll with for a long time. Jared Sullinger could provide some top notch post scoring, but scouts are still unsure about his size and ability to compete against bigger players. Arnett Moultrie is another incredibly talented post player, but there's a very good chance he'll be gone in the top ten. Same goes for John Henson, because the Pistons aren't passing up on him. If Milwaukee decides to go the center route, the athletic Meyers Leonard from Illinois is their choice.

Now going to the 42nd pick, the Bucks must decide if they want to add another big man, take a small forward, or even draft a backup point guard. If they decide to go big, there are several options. Turkish big man Furkan Aldemir is a defensive minded forward who can also be a force on both the offensive and defensive glass. Drew Gordon from New Mexico is very strong and crafty in the paint. Virginia's Mike Scott is a player who will do everything you ask of him.

Papinkolaou is a big man who can shoot.
For a small forward, Milwaukee will want a scorer. Three players come into mind: Darius Miller, Kris Joseph, and Kostas Papinkolaou. Miller would probably be the best bet here as a shooter. Papinkolaou is also deadly from behind the arc. Joseph has potential and length, but he'll need some work on his offensive abilities.

The best backup point guard would have to be Iona's Scott Machado. Machado is a floor general who has great court vision and astronomically good passing ability. His pass-first mentality would be a good change of pace for when he backs up Jennings, a guard who always looks for his own shot first.

I think that the Bucks should take Zeller and Gordon. That would give them a starting five of Jennings, Ellis, Mbah a Moute, Gooden, and Zeller and a bench of Dunleavy, Harris, Gordon, Leuer, and Udoh. Adding more players to help Jennings and Ellis is the goal, and that's exactly what we've done here.

Up next is the Phoenix Suns and the great Steve Nash debate.

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