Bucks Draft Report: The Rumsfeldian guide to knowns and unknowns


Xavier Henry

With only two days until the ball drops on the 2010 NBA Draft, Milwaukee Bucks management is slowly putting together a short list of their best options at No. 15, but the ambiguity of the first 14 picks, as Donald Rumsfeld put it, has created as many knowns as unknowns. Many of them are known unknowns, and will become much clearer once the draft kicks off on Thursday.

Update: Read about the Bucks first round draft pick, Larry Sanders, and why John Hammond and Co. are so high on him.

By Jake McCormick

Any pick past No. 7 is utterly unpredictable
McKinney spent a week in New York watching German player Tibor Pleiss workout, and spent some time talking to scouts and executives with other teams in order to get a feel for the top 10 players in the draft. He came back to Milwaukee with a decent feel for who could be available, which is pretty much any prospect after the Detroit Pistons pick at No. 7.

“We’ve been focusing on those players, but we’re always prepared for the things that might seem like they might not happen,” McKinney said, “Kind of surprises of the guys that might fall. I think after the top-seven or so, I think the draft is going to be kind of a wild ride this year and it depends on who likes who.”

Hassan WhitesideThe Bucks are stuck at No. 15 until draft night
Because of the uncertainty in the back half of the top 10, McKinney was adamant that the team is highly unlikely to move up or down to grab a player unless the absolute right deal falls into their laps. Still, the chances of the team moving down are higher than moving up in the first round because that would require giving up some young talent, and the team certainly doesn’t want to shake up the core of Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and some kid named Brandon Jennings.

Milwaukee’s needs fall right in line with the draft’s strengths
With Monday’s workout of Xavier Henry, the Bucks have brought in every lottery-worthy shooting guard and small forward available, including Luke Babbitt, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Damion James, Stanley Robinson, and James Anderson, who interviewed but had to sit out with his hamstring injury. The best of this group (Henry, George, Babbitt, Hayward) could immediately fill the shoes vacated by John Salmons.

The Bucks are set at point guard and center, and adequately equipped at the power forward position for the time being, leaving a front court that is in desperate need of offensive consistency (a major reason John Salmons fit so well in the second half of last year). The only potential top 15 power forward the Bucks have tried to work out so far was Patrick Patterson, so it’s a safe assumption that Milwaukee will focus on the draft’s Best Player Available at No. 15, and he will most likely be a tweener two/three.

The Bucks’ core is enticing for any prospect
Every potential draft pick offered a different answer to the question of what they would bring to the Bucks. However, they were nearly unanimous when asked about the appeal of Milwaukee: having an up-and-coming point guard-center combination of Jennings and Bogut.

Brandon JenningsFrom Xavier Henry:
“This would be a great place to step in next to Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, have a solid team around you and just come here and contribute and compete from day one and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “People like to play with flashy people (like Jennings) but they also like to play with unselfish people and I think he has a combination of both. So when you’re out there playing with him, you’re having fun, it’s not so much of a serious, serious game. “

From Lance Stephenson:
“I watched the Bucks a lot this season, especially when Brandon Jennings was on the team,” he said. “I liked the way they play up and down, that’s similar to how I play, so I think I’d fit in real good with the Bucks.”

Those are pretty stereotypical answers, maybe even politically correct ones, but the fact remains that Milwaukee has enough young talent that any player falling out of the lottery would be more than happy to take the pressure off the Jennings-Bogut combo and reap the benefits of open perimeter shots.

The Bucks don’t want a project
Time and time again, McKinney has reiterated the team’s commitment to players that can immediately contribute, which all but rules out one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft (7′ shot blocking extraordinare Hassan Whiteside) and any other player that has been deemed “raw” in scouting reports. Thanks to the early maturation of the team’s core youngsters, Milwaukee has pole vaulted themselves over the “complete rebuilding stage” bar onto the “need for complimentary players” mat.

These knowns and unknowns will certainly have an impact on how the Bucks operate and view their draft board on Thursday, but a lot can happen in the next 58 hours and counting.


  1. Reportedly the Bucks really liked Stephenson… 15 is way too high to take him but if Henry/Babbitt/Hayward/George are all off the board, maybe they try to trade down??? or move up with their 2 2nd rndrs to get into the late 1st round as well???

  2. paulmbanks says

    HAHHAHHAHA love the title. “there are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, the known knowns…God he was such a douchebag. “We know where the wepaons are, their near Tikrit, and also in the north, south, east, west”

    rot in hell rummy

  3. paulmbanks says

    And its pretty funny to watch players and coaches say NOTHING this time of year. It’s an art form.

    last year at the Bulls draft night watch for the media, Gar Forman was asked bout ben gordon leaving, and he said “we’ll begin dealing and thinking about that on july 1st” we were laughing and saying “that’s a whopping four days from now. nice plan”

  4. jmccormick says

    If the Bucks trade down, they’ll probably take Larry Sanders or Stephenson. I never thought of Stephenson as a first rounder anyways.

    Apparently the Bucks are trying to swing a deal for the expiring Charlie Bell and Danny Gadz for Corey Maggette. What they do on Thursday could go a long way in predicting how hard they pursue that or Salmons.

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