2017 NBA Draft preview: Milwaukee Bucks


Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo drives against Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

NBA.com draft preview by Steve Aschburner

2017 Draft picks: 17, 48
2016-17 record: 42-40, second place in the Central division, lost to TOR in the first round

Areas of Strength

Milwaukee climbed into the East’s No. 6 spot this spring thank primarily to one hot month (14-4 in March). But there’s no denying the Bucks are on the rise, with a strong nucleus of young talent, a new arena popping up adjacent to the Bradley Center and reinvigorated management. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a do-everything type who probably will unveil an improved jump shot after a summer of work. Lanky rookie Thon Maker showed flashes of brilliance, in keeping with Milwaukee’s wingspan obsession, and guard Malcolm Brogdon was a candidate for Rookie of the Year despite his arrival as the draft’s No. 36 pick.

Needs Work

Keeping the core together is a challenge for a lot of teams, and the Bucks are no exception. Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker missed considerable time due to injuries, and now Greg Monroe and Tony Snell are eligible to sign elsewhere after contributing in key roles (any offer Snell gets can be matched). 

Two Stats That Matter

20 — That was the operative number for Giannis Antetokounmpo. “The Greek Freak” became the only player in NBA history to rank in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks (at least since 1973-74, when steals and blocks began to be trucked). Only three players have ever ranked in the top 25: Antetokounmpo, Kevin Garnett (twice) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

84 — The cumulative number of games missed to injury of Khris Middelton (torn hamstring surgery) and Jabari Parker (torn knee ligament). Both young offensive threats are eager to play Robin to Antetokounmpo’s Batman, though Parker won’t be penciled back from rehab until after the first of the year.

The Way to Go

“The Bucks need to get better defensively and better on the boards, so adding more size a year after taking Thon Maker makes sense. John Collins, Justin Patton, Jarrett Allen and Ivan Rabb are projected in that range.” – Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com

2016-17 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank) 

Offensive: 106.9 (13th)

Defensive: 106.4 (19th)

Under Contract 

G: Malcolm Brogdon

G: Matthew Dellavedova

G: Gary Payton II

G/F: Khris Middleton

G/F: Rashad Vaughn

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo

F: Jabari Parker

F: Mirza Teletovic

F/C: John Henson

C: Thon Maker

Free Agents 

G: Tony Snell (restricted)

G: Jason Terry (unrestricted)

F: Michael Beasley (unrestricted)

F: Spencer Hawes (player option)

C: Greg Monroe (player option)

Recent Draft History

2016: Thon Maker (10), Malcolm Brogdon (36), Patrick McCaw (38), traded to Golden State.
2015: Rashad Vaughn (17), Norman Powell (46), traded to the Toronto Raptors.
2014: Jabari Parker (1), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O’Bryant (36), Lamar Patterson (48)
2013: Giannis Antetokounmpo (15), Ricky Ledo (43)
2012: John Henson (14), Doron Lamb (42)

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