The Milwaukee Bucks are a perennial middle-of-the-pack team but were expected to make the playoffs last season in the weak Eastern Conference. Yet they’re back in the lottery, a big step back after a promising 09-10 campaign that featured the memorable “Fear the Deer” catchphrase. Injuries to multiple important players throughout the season didn’t exactly help the cause. Some of it perhaps is also due to Brandon Jennings not meeting the high expectations, unfair or not, in his second year that were placed on him after his offensive explosion in the first half of his rookie year. Rushing out and quickly signing Drew Gooden in the offseason last year yielded predictably underwhelming results.
The Bucks don’t have the luxury to draft for need, as pretty much every position could use reinforcements, so they’ll just have to take the best available player left on the board who is considered NBA-ready with a skill set that immediately translates to the pro ranks.
With the #10 pick in the NBA Draft, the Bucks will select Klay Thompson, the 6′-6″ top-rated shooting guard out of Washington State. The son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson is a sharpshooter who could work well in tandem with Jennings. Even if he’s not the most athletic guard in the draft, his length helps make up for that. His stock has shot up because of his shooting abilities and any NBA team could use that, let alone the Bucks.
The Bucks are thin at small forward with only Carlos Delfino and Corey Maggette so John Salmons could still continue to start at shooting guard and simply slide over to the 3 for a stretch should minutes become an issue, as could Thompson.
There are reports that the Bucks will listen to trade offers for the #10 pick and would likely be very willing to dump, I mean include, Gooden or Maggette in such a deal as well. Larry Sanders is still raw but is highly athletic with a decent skill set so he’ll need minutes out on the floor against NBA competition this year so that the Bucks front office can really see what they have in him.
With Michael Redd’s contract finally off the books, the Bucks have a chance to start fresh and put their woeful ’10-11 season behind them. Should Andrew Bogut remain healthy next season and with a capable core in place, the Bucks have a great opportunity to compete again in the postseason.