Milwaukee Bucks Draft Review
The 2009 NBA Draft has come and gone with many picks that came as surprises (Minnesota selecting four PG’s) and some picks that did not (Blake Griffin to the Clippers). Staying in the Midwest, let’s break down the Bucks and what they did last night to improve their team.
First Round, 10th Overall: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy
One of the biggest stories of this year’s draft was where Jennings would end up. Having one of the biggest ceilings of any player in the draft made him an option as early as number four to the Sacramento Kings, but his decision to play in Europe instead of college, making him somewhat of an unknown, meant that there was a chance he slipped out of the lottery.
However, when the Bucks’ pick came around, Johnny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, and Stephen Curry had already been selected. Jennings was the next highest ranked point guard in front of the likes of Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, and Jeff Teague.
Why I Liked the Pick: Jennings’ stats in Europe (5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 17 minutes) do not reflect the kind of player he is. His senior year at the prestigious Oak Hill Academy, Jennings set a school record for total points and scoring average in a single season. This is the same high school that has had Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Josh Smith, and Rajan Rando attend, among others.
His best asset is his ability to score, giving the Bucks a scoring point guard that they lacked last year. With a 37 inch vertical, Jennings’ athleticism was second to none in the draft which should make up for his lack of size (6’2″, 165 pounds). Another one of Jennings’ traits is his ability to push the basketball and find open teammates.
He is a playmaker on offense and gives the Bucks a threat at the position every night. His lightning quick speed makes it near impossible to stay in front of him and he is an excellent finisher at the hoop. With Rubio and Flynn off the board, the Bucks took the player with the next biggest upside and a player that could be the steal of the draft as he becomes more polished.
Why I Didn’t Like The Pick: Jennings is a bit of a showboater and a “me-first” player which is not going to fly in Milwaukee. It’s true that in the NBA, one needs to have an ego to succeed and keep up with the rest of the crowd, but if Jennings comes in with too big of a head, he will be in for a very quick and large reality check.
With Jrue Holiday still on the board, taking Jennings might be a questionable call. The freshman from UCLA slipped all the way to the 17th pick but easily could have been swiped up by the Bucks. Like Jennings, Holiday has tremendous upside and more of an NBA frame to build on.
Jennings is also very raw and might take a few years to develop, especially if he can not come in and shoot the ball well. He needs a more consistent jump shot and needs to make better decisions on the court. He has been in the spotlight his whole career, so he should be able to make the jump fairly easily.
Defensively, he will need to bulk up a bit more in order to play night in and night out against what will usually be a much bigger point guard (in terms of weight). His scouting report says that he is a defensive gambler which could be a good thing if he perfects it.
Overall Breakdown: With Flynn and Jordan Hill off the board, Jennings was most likely at the top of the Bucks draft board. It probably meant that Ramon Sessions has played his last game as a Milwaukee Buck, while management will likely begin negotiating with Charlie Villanueva. Jennings has superstar potential if he can harness his ego, continue to work on his game, and become more consistent. OVERALL GRADE: A-
Second Round, 41st Overall: Jodie Meeks, SG, Memphis
One of the group of players who was leaning towards pulling his name out of the draft before the deadline was Meeks. With the number one recruiting class in the nation back at Kentucky, his senior year awaiting, and the chance to be a favorite for the National Championship, Meeks had many reasons to go back to school and see what could have been.
In the end, Meeks decided to stay in the draft and wound up on a rebuilding and improving Milwaukee Bucks squad. With a potential future point guard already in the bag, the Bucks stayed in the backcourt and selected one of the purest shooters in the draft not named Stephen Curry.
Why I Liked The Pick: At number 41 overall, Meeks was excellent value for a Bucks team that was looking for the best player available and not neccesarily a need. Last year, the Bucks ranked 18th in the league in bench scoring with 26.4 points per game and will likely get a boost with Meeks.
Despite being one-dimensional for the most part, that one dimension is the only thing Meeks will need to succeed in the NBA. His long-range shooting was unbelievable this year as he averaged 23.8 points per game, good for eighth in all of college basketball. Meeks is able to shoot from any spot on the floor and will give the Bucks an Eddie House-type player that can come off the bench and make up baskets.
Why I Didn’t Like The Pick: When looking at Meeks’ game, one could say that he is a poor man’s Michael Redd in the sense of other than scoring, he isn’t going to bring much on a given night. With a guy like Chase Budinger still on the board who could potentially fill in as a replacement for Richard Jefferson, the pick seems questionable.
Charlie Bell will be back for the Bucks next year as a solid back-up shooting guard so the pick was hardly a need.
Overall Breakdown: Meeks was the best pure shooting guard left on the draft board and will be a scorer in the league. I doubt he will ever be able to start just because he can’t do much other than shoot, but if he can be Eddie House for the Bucks, the pick will be worthwhile. I just wonder if Budinger or Danny Green would have been a better decision. OVERALL GRADE: B
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