If the 2009 NBA Draft was the year of the point guard, then 2010 is the year of the forward. It looks more and more likely the Milwaukee Bucks are RSVPing to the party for a second year in a row, and their just as happy with their spot in the pecking order as they were in 2009.
After Thursday’s workout, Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney reiterated the team has not settled on a particular player at No. 15, and Milwaukee’s high comfort level with the placement of all three of their picks.
By Jake McCormick
“(Wednesday) we received a phone call from a couple of agents and a couple of teams saying that we had promised a player that we’re going to draft him at 15,” McKinney said. “One of the first things I wanted to do today was to address that just to say that we haven’t made any promises to anybody about us taking them at 15.”
Whether the rumor proves to be true or not, there has been a clear trend favoring the three position in the Bucks’ nine workouts, as the four small forward prospects brought in Thursday brings Milwaukee’s total to 12 over the past month. Excluding the top two threes (Al-Farouq Aminu, Wesley Johnson), the Bucks have brought in every potential small forward worthy of the No. 15 pick, including James Anderson, who made the trip to Milwaukee but had to sit out his workout due to his bad hamstring, and Xavier Henry, who will be in next week.
“People want to talk to us about giving up the 15th pick and right now, because we’re not sure who’s going to be there; we want to hold on to that pick to see who’s going to be there,” McKinney said. “That is unless a team makes us an offer so great that a veteran player was included that would help us and we could move down in the draft, but we like where we are at 15 and certainly feel like we’re going to get a good player at 37 and 47.”
So the possibility of Milwaukee moving down in the draft won’t even be considered until next Thursday between picks 10 and 14, and even then the chances would be pretty low considering the amount of similar ceiling forwards that will be available without having to sacrifice a pick and player. As for moving up in the forward-rich draft, McKinney summed up those prospects as “slim to none and slim left town last week.”
“That’s going to be very difficult for us because anytime you have to move up in the draft, you have to give up something of quality and for us,” he said. “We’ve got a nice core group that we’re working with and we want to keep that core together as we continue to improve our team.”
At least one of the small forward Milwaukee has worked out will be available at No. 15, whether it be Paul George, Xavier Henry, Gordon Hayward, Luke Babbitt or James Anderson, all of which carry fringe lottery stock. But if a “wow” deal comes along, the Bucks will almost surely address their small forward needs at some point in the draft.
“It’s more of a forwards draft, last year it was point guards, and now you’ve got a really good set of small forwards and power forwards in the draft this year,” McKinney said. “So we’re looking at all the possibilities of players that could be there, not only at 15, but some of these guys could possibly fall into the second round.”
For the second year in a row, the draft’s strengths fall directly in line with the Bucks’ weaknesses, which puts them in a great position to sit tight at the No. 15 position and let the draft unfold before them. John Hammond and Co. wouldn’t want it any other way.Follow paulmbanks