The NBA Draft is just weeks away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Milwaukee Bucks 2018 NBA Draft profile.
On paper, this year was another step in the right direction for the Milwaukee Bucks. Their playoff birth this season marked the first time since the 2003-04 season that this franchise made the playoffs in back-to-back years. However, a true Bucks fan would suggest that this team did not live up to expectations.
First, the Bucks possess a top-five player in the Eastern Conference in Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the NBA, having the best player in a series will usually guarantee you a win in the first round of the playoffs.
While the Boston Celtics are a tremendous team, and not just a collection of talent, Giannis was no doubt the best player in that series. To his credit, the Greek Freak was not the reason the Bucks could not pull out a win in Game 7.
Second, Milwaukee lost their head coach, Jason Kidd, midway through the season. Despite what people think of his abilities, losing a head coach will almost never have a positive impact on the remainder of that season.
Given the hiring of Mike Budenholzer this offseason, the Bucks did not have confidence in their interim coach either. Budenholzer’s experience might have made the difference in those late-game situations against the Celtics, which is what the Bucks are hoping.
Even though this year was not as successful as Bucks fans would have hoped, keep in mind that this is a young team. This team’s five best players are all under 29 years old. They do not have a large amount of cap space, but will certainly have the ability to add veterans and role players. The Bucks are slated to drop from –17 million in practical cap space to -2 million practical cap space. If they can make additional moves, they could add some older veterans to bolster this young and talented group.
Picks and Needs
The Milwaukee Bucks have just one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
First round: No. 17
The Bucks have a few offseason decisions to make. As of now, their primary need is at the small forward, or wing, position. Tony Snell is the only true small forward on this roster. Even though Jabari Parker can play and perform in that position, his injury history is a big red flag.
If they decide not to bring him back in free agency, it is almost a forgone conclusion they address the small forward position at the 17th overall pick. A secondary need would be a point guard since Eric Bledsoe is not secured past the 2018-19 season.
Targets and Thoughts
Pick No. 17: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucy
As previously outlined, small forward is the primary need for this team. Kevin Knox, if he slides, would be a great pick for the Bucks. Knox has ideal size for a forward in today’s NBA at 6-foot-9, 215 pounds. He is absolutely going to get bigger as he is only 19 years old.
What makes Knox so attractive to a team like the Bucks is his potential to be good, not great, at so many facets of the game. While he may not possess elite upside in any category, he can do everything from drive to the basket, rebound, knock down a mid-range jump shot and move off the ball.
Knox has the ability to develop his offensive game quickly as a result of his shot mechanics. The Bucks would not have to spend time tweaking or reconstructing his shot, so Knox can spend his entire season getting up shots and improving his consistency.
While Knox is one of the better prospects in this part of the draft, he is not without flaws. Offensively, he tends to be inefficient and lack awareness in sometimes obvious passing situations.
Specifically, Knox often does not pass the ball in transition. This could be an issue, given that Antetokounmpo is one of the best transition players in the NBA. Thankfully, the Bucks will not ask Knox to shoulder a large load offensively. If he can improve his situational awareness, he could be a great asset off the bench while he develops.
Featured image from NBA.com
“From Our Haus to Yours”