Milwaukee Bucks NBA Mock Draft 2020: Prospects to Target

Draft History

Milwaukee BucksOutside of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks have not drafted well in the 2010s. 1st round picks Jimmer Fredette, D.J. Wilson, Rashaugn Vaughn, and arguably Thon Maker have become busts. Others such as Jon Leuer, John Henson, and Jabari Parker have been role players at best. The only other bright spot was 2016 pick Malcolm Brogdon who is no longer on the roster. Other notable draft failures include sending the Dirk Nowitzki and Stephon Marbury picks to the Mavs and Timberwolves and the Bucks drafting Yi Jianlian and Joe Alexander as back-to-back top 10 picks.

For small-market teams, it is crucial that they draft right. Teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, and Utah Jazz aren’t desirable free agency destinations in comparison to the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and other big market cities. Missing on picks can really hurt their chance to consistently win which was the case for the Bucks throughout the 21st century.

Things have turned around since the Bucks drafted the greek-freak Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013. After a few years of development, the Bucks have become a championship-contending team for this season and seasons to come. However, this is only if Giannis stays with the team. If Giannis leaves, the Bucks will be left with a bundled mess that they can only fix through the draft. If Giannis stays with the team after 2021, the team must use their late-round picks to draft future starters that fit alongside Giannis. In either scenario, it is imperative that the Bucks draft correctly. Luckily, the draft is deep with talent outside the lottery. Getting the right Malcolm Brogdon-Esque players to build around their championship core while also providing the insurance for a rebuild if Giannis leaves should be the Bucks number one priority.

Team Breakdown

The Bucks have a championship roster. Their starting five features Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez. The Bucks also have a strong bench unit including George Hill, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, and more. Like most championship teams, the roster features veteran talent over the age of 30 with few younger developing players. Donte DiVincenzo and borderline bust D.J. Wilson are the only guys under the age of 25.

All other players considered, the Bucks only have Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez solidified in their long-term plans after the 2021 season. The Bucks also include Giannis in these plans but have to resign him after his contract ends in 2021. With Donte DiVincenzo also presumably in the Bucks future plans, the team has a core that will contend in the East throughout the early part of this decade. What the Bucks need out of the draft are players that will fix their deficiencies.

The Bucks’ main weakness is that their offensive production and rhythm centers around Giannis. In the past few playoffs, teams such as the Celtics and Raptors put all their attention on Giannis, clogging the lane and forcing other Bucks to play outside of their role. While Khris Middleton is a great complement to Giannis, the Bucks need another playmaker that can create their own shot, and be a better playmaker than Eric Bledsoe. For this reason, the Bucks should target a playmaking point or shooting guard. Again, Eric Bledsoe is a quality point guard but doesn’t have the elite vision and passing ability to consistently run a fluid offense. A pass-first point guard with shooting ability or a shooting guard with playmaking ability will help take the pressure off of Giannis to be the Buck’s primary ball-handler.

If Giannis leaves, the team needs to find a viable forward that can play defense and occasionally find their shot. However, I think this scenario is less likely given Giannis’ affinity for the city. Given this, I will focus on prospects that will fit alongside Giannis for the foreseeable future.

Draft Range

The Milwaukee Bucks don’t have any of their own picks but have rights to the Indiana Pacers first-round pick. Currently, the Pacers are projected to have the 18th pick, just outside the lottery. At this range, the Bucks have more than enough impact players at their disposal. At this range, elite prospects that could make a serious impact on the Bucks squad like Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes will be off the board. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t find quality talent at the draft position. Many fans are knocking this draft because it lacks that star power of previous drafts. Although true, this draft is very deep in quality starting-caliber players that will make an impact in the NBA. The Bucks have plenty of opportunities to find their impact piece.

Prospects to Target

Josh Green

SG 6-5 200 Lbs – Arizona

PTSREBASTSTLBLKFG%3PT%FT%TO
12.04.63.61.5.4.424.361.7801.4

Out of all the prospects listed below, I believe Josh Green has the greatest potential to be a star in the NBA. At 6-6 210 pounds, Green has an ideal frame to play the shooting guard position and matches the Milwaukee Bucks’s desire to be a lengthy team. What’s great about Green is that he understands how to leverage his frame. For example, Green uses his 6-11 wingspan to jump passing lanes at an elite level (1.5 Steals per game). He’s an in-your-face defender that knows how to dig his feet into the ground and square up on post-ups. He’ll bring that defensive energy on the perimeter that the Bucks were occasionally missing.

While listed as a shooting guard, Green took over the point guard role when fellow draft prospect Nico Mannion sat. Under Green, the offense thrived as he showed great ball-handling skills and court vision, making nearly every pass required without turning the ball over. I like Green playing the point guard position in spurts for his NBA team. He forces opposing coaches to gameplan against a look totally different from Eric Bledsoe. Also, I love that Green is unselfish with the ball in his hands. He’s always willing to make the extra pass, displaying his high basketball IQ in the process. Coach Budenholzer will love having Green in his system which thrives on making the extra pass.

Lastly, Green is currently an average shooter. I see his shot only improving after a couple of seasons. If Green can become a knockdown shooter, you are talking about a prospect that can shoot, defend 4 positions, play multiple roles on offense, and bring energy and athleticism to the court. In my opinion, that sounds like a burgeoning star.

Kira Lewis

PG 6-3 170 Lbs – Alabama

PTSREBASTSTLBLKFG%3PT%FT%TO
18.54.85.21.8.6.459.366.8023.5

Kira Lewis reminds me a lot of Dennis Schroeder but with a better shot. Lewis is an extremely fast point guard, with a quick first step to easily get past most defenders. In the NBA, he shouldn’t have issues consistently getting to the basket. His body control complements his speed; he uses his speed to get to the basket and body control to effectively finish at the rim. In addition, he’s can get vertical and finish with a rim-rattling dunk despite his size. Quicker guys like Dennis Schroeder and De’Aaron Fox are so helpful to an offense because their speed forces defenders to play off other wing players. An addition like this to the Bucks will only open up three-point opportunities for Middleton, Hill, and DiVincenzo, guys that are deadly in catch and shoot situations. I love the fit an additional speedy point guard brings to this already dynamic offense.

Lewis doesn’t only have speed. At Alabama, Lewis showed a good ability to shoot the ball from downtown, most notably, in catch and shoot situations. Also, his speed forces defender to play further away, which often gives him wide open mid-range opportunities. This devastating combination of being able to hit three’s, use his speed to get to the basket, and create easy mid-range opportunities makes him an exciting addition to any offensive unit. Bucks fans should be excited about Lewis because he can bring back the polished playmaking and decision-making that Malcolm Brogdon brought to the team, but with more athleticism and explosiveness.

Dennis Schroeder was the sixth man and part of the dynamic point guard trio in OKC. In that role, he brought a level of explosiveness that most benches lack while creating opportunities for bench sharpshooters with his speed. Now imagine that dynamic playmaking with guys like George Hill and Wesley Matthews in managing the corners. This addition could put the Bucks over the top next season.

Theo Maledon

PG 6-5 175 Lbs – France

PTSREBASTSTLBLKFG%3PT%FT%TO
7.41.83.1.3.1.456.367.6891.9

Theo Maledon is an athletic menace on the court. He’s got the size to be a combo guard and shines in the open court. He has a quick first step and burst which helps him get downhill and find angles to the basket. He impressed me with his touch around the rim and shooting form. While by no means an elite knockdown shooter, he provides an offense with capable spacing. His height bodes well on defense as he consistently jumps passing lanes. Also, Maledon’s defensive footwork is very polished for his age, he rarely gives up open angles to the basket and effectively fights through contact.

Maledon reminds me of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a quality combo guard that is above average in every aspect of his game. If the Bucks are looking for a Malcolm Brogdon replacement, this guy best fits his game. Maledon offers the potential to be the steady glue guy presence that calms things down with a smart timely shot or crisp execution of a play. He’s rarely erratic and would be a nice complement to Eric Bledsoe’s more erratic play at times.

Maledon doesn’t fit as seamlessly into the Bucks offense but the front office may draft him due to his similarities to Malcolm Brogdon. Underrated about Malcolm Brogdon’s game was his leadership. Nicknamed Obama, Malcolm Brogdon was a voice in that locker room that people respected. Theo’s level-headedness, unselfish behavior, and approach to the game will gel with arguably the most interesting locker room in the NBA. I mean George Hill has an 850-acre ranch in Texas with Zebras and Kangaroos, the Lopez Twins are Star Wars super nerds, and Giannis loves wrestling with teammates. It’ll take the right personality to fit and elevate this team, which I think Maledon can offer.
https://twitter.com/HawksDraftNerd/status/1262726725135478787

Predictions

These three guards stand out among the rest at their position and draft range. All three guards display a polished offense game including an ability to score at all three levels of the court. Moreover, all have great court vision which fills a huge hole on this team after Brogdon’s departure. Overall, I think Kira Lewis or Josh Green are the best fits for this Bucks team. While Maledon has similar qualities to Malcolm Brogdon, he’s not a sharpshooter which could limit his usefulness to the Bucks championship aspirations. The Bucks need polished offensive weapons and I think it’ll take Maledon too long to figure it out.

Kira Lewis and Josh Green are the more polished prospects. Both can defend and score at all levels of the court. Also, both prospects can provide steady point guard play when Bledsoe sits as George Hill is most deadly when playing off-ball. It’s hard to pick one over the other, but I believe in Josh Green’s star power. Green has the prototypical NBA body to handle contact at the rim and can play nearly every position defensively. The Bucks are a small market team that has historically struggled to attract top free-agent talent. Having the opportunity to draft a mid-round prospect with so much potential leads me to believe that they should go this route. Having two guards in Middleton and Green that shoot, pass the ball, and create the own shot will mesh well with Giannis in the long-run.

  
Miles Jasper is an incoming law student studying employment and labor law. Miles’ passions lie within the salary cap, collective bargaining, and labor relations between leagues and their players. He also likes to analyze college prospects and participate in fantasy sports. In his free time, Miles is an avid runner who also enjoys poker, cooking, and watching movies.

Hot NBA Draft Stories

Free Articles & Offers