A Different Take: The Bucks Should Take a Power Forward
In an earlier article, I gave reasons why the Bucks needed to take Johnny Flynn. I believe he will be one of the two best point guards to come out of this year’s draft and can help the Bucks right away. He could be the missing piece to a veteran team not that far away from the playoffs and, if he is there at the number ten spot, I would love for the Bucks to nab him.
However, this draft is completely up in the air as to who will be taken and many teams in front of Milwaukee need a point guard as well, including Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Minnesota, and New York. There is a chance Flynn, who has performed extremely well in workouts, will be gone when the Bucks pick, so there are other options they might look at.
Playing the devil’s advocate, I’d like to give reasons why the Bucks would be better off taking a power forward in this year’s draft over one of the many point guards expected to go in the lottery and first round.
If the Bucks were to pass on a point guard, it would need to be that there was a competent player on the roster that would allow the team to not worry about the position. Enter Ramon Sessions. The 23-year-old out of Nevada just completed his second season in the NBA, finishing with 12.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 79 games.
The second half of the Bucks’ season saw Sessions enter the starting lineup as he started the team’s last 35 games. For the year, he started 39 games and in those games saw almost all of his averages increase to 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.6 assists.
He showed that he is clearly ready to take on a starting role in the NBA and has formed a solid chemistry with the rest of the starting unit, something that is hard to come by for a young player.
The Bucks have two key free agents that need to be re-signed this year in Sessions and power forward Charlie Villanueva. General manager Scott Hammond has already said signing both players looks to be out of the question and that one player will not be there next year.
From a financial standpoint, Sessions will be the cheaper of the two to sign at this point in both of the players’ careers. Because of that and the potential that Sessions brings as a starting point guard for a long time, he needs to be re-signed over Villanueva this off-season.
If Sessions were to be brought back next year, there is a very good chance that Villanueva would pack his bags and find a new destination. With this potential move, there would be a gaping hole at the power forward position that the Bucks would need to address via the draft.
Looking at the current roster, last year’s second round pick Luc Richard Mbah a Moute showed a ton of promise for the future as he averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds off the bench. He proved that he can be a solid back-up for the team but, at 6’8″, probably is not big enough to play every day at power forward.
Other than Mbah a Moute, the Bucks’ roster features journeymen and deep bench players when it comes to power forward, meaning the four spot will surely be addressed on June 25th.
As much as the draft features a potential 11 first round point guards, the power forward position is plentiful as well and there are a few names that could be called when the Bucks pick in the ten spot.
The first option for the Bucks would be Jordan Hill, a 6’10” power forward from the University of Arizona. Before the lottery, Hill was considered a top three pick by many over the likes of Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, and in some people’s minds, Ricky Rubio.
As a junior, Hill took his game to a completely different level while averaging 18.3 points and 11 rebounds to go with 1.7 blocks. Known as a defensive stopper his first two years, he rounded out his game and led the Wildcats to a Sweet 16 appearance in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
For whatever reason, Hill’s name has slid slightly down the draft boards as pre-draft workouts and combines have taken place. Some believe there is chance he is still taken as high as fourth by the Sacramento Kings, while others think he can drop all the way down to the Bucks.
Hill struggled somewhat during one-on-one drills in a few pre-draft camps and finished dead last at the combine with a lane agility test of 12.23 seconds. However, his feel for the game and blue-collar approach has made him a very likeable player and one that can play in the Association for quite some time.
Names like Tyreke Evans, Stephon Curry, and DeMar DeRozan have all been seeming to jump past Hill these days and it is now a mystery as to where he might go. It could be the less-than-stellar performances at the workouts or that Hill isn’t the flashiest player in this year’s draft, but if he is available at pick ten, the Bucks would be wise to make him their power forward of the future.
With so many teams taking a look at Hill, it would be no surprise to see him selected before the Bucks pick, but there are other players out there worthy of the tenth pick.
The next best option would be Earl Clark, a 6’10” junior from Lousiville. While he does not possess the build of a true power forward, his height and skills allow for him to be a tweener at the position. Much like a Lamar Odom or Charlie Villanueva, Clark can play both positions and play both very well. Prior to last year, Clark was a consensus top-five pick that was ready to carry Lousiville deep into the NCAA Tournament.
While Clark was on the Big East Champion Cardinals that took the title of the number one overall seed in the tournament, his year was somewhat of a letdown. He averaged 14.2 points and 8.7 rebounds but only shot 45.7 percent from the field and did not use his size as much as scouts would have liked him to.
Still, he is one of the rare players whose body might suit him better in the pros than the college game. He has all the potential to be a great player in the league if he puts the time in, and while he is not the traditonal power forward, the Bucks may take a stab at him at number ten.
Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair has looked very good in pre-draft workouts and has caught the eye of a few teams in the lottery. However, there are many concerns about his knees being able to hold up in the pros that have scared off a few teams. While he stands just 6’8″, Blair is as tough as they come and uses that to offset his lack of size at power forward.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina’s all-time scoring leader, has also seen his stock rise over the last month and is another potential pick for the Bucks. As much as the label comes with him, Hansbrough brings more energy to the game than anyone else in the draft. The athleticism is there and he measured out bigger than most thought, making him an option at power forward.
James Johnson, another undersized power forward from Wake Forest, has loads of potential but has not shown it in workouts thus far. His stock has fallen considerably and would be a huge reach for the Bucks, especially because his name has not been linked to Milwaukee once.
At the end of the day, there is a good chance that the Bucks pull the trigger on a point guard. This is one of the deepest drafts for point guards in recent memory and there are potential gems everywhere. However, if Rubio, Evans, Curry, Flynn, and even Holiday are all taken, it could potentially cause the Bucks to change their direction that they take in the draft. In eight days, it will all be figured out. For now, we can only wait.