|Joel Embiid presents himself as the best freshman option for the Milwaukee Bucks, even over Andrew Wiggins.|
When the 2014 NBA Draft rolls around, history might already be made as this may be the last year the lottery is a part of the league. Due to accusations of teams purposely "tanking" to qualify for the draft lottery, the league has been debating ending the concept of the lottery and coming up with a new system such as a "spin the wheel" approach.
According to ESPN's 2014 NBA Lottery Mock Draft generator, the Bucks have a 25% chance to win the lottery and the first overall pick. And, with the way the season is going, it looks like the Bucks will end up with the worst record in the league which gives them the best opportunity to win the first pick. Before I jump into who I think the Bucks will take, here is a look at what some of the top NBA Draft sites are predicting.
Bleacher Report: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke (#1 overall)
NBADraft.net: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas (#1 overall)
DraftExpress.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#1 overall)
CBSSports.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#2 overall)
MyNBADraft.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#1 overall)
SportingNews.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#1 overall)
WalterFootball.com: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke (#1 overall)
NBADraftRoom.com: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas (#1 overall)
BasketballInsiders.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#1 overall)
Draftsite.com: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (#1 overall)
With four total picks (one in the first round, three in the second round) in the semi-decent draft class, the Bucks have an opportunity to make a large step to start rebuilding. Besides their regular picks, they have a pick from the T-Wolves that was acquired in the Luke Ridnour trade and a pick from the Raptors that was acquired in the J.J. Redick trade. The pick from the Raptors is a bit complicated because They have a large gap in a dominant center and an efficient shooting guard. They could also use a backup point guard to play behind Brandon Knight (Yes, I know we have Nate Wolters). So, with that here's what I came up with (assuming the Bucks win the lottery).
Round 1 Pick 1: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas University
Unless the Bucks think Andrew Wiggins can improve his play in college and live up to his own hype, I think they pass on the "best talent available" and take Wiggins' teammate Joel Embiid who is showing he is way more NBA ready than Andrew. According to many GMs in the league, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker would be picked over Andrew Wiggins if the draft was today.
Also, unless the Bucks plan to have Wiggins be a shooting guard, I don't see them taking a small forward again like last year with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Don't get me wrong, the Bucks are in a stage of rebuilding that taking the best player available isn't out of the question. But, many believe that what Joel brings to the table actually makes him the best player available. The biggest obstacle to get Joel isn't even if the Bucks get the number one pick, but it's if he'll even enter this year's draft. Embiid was quoted saying “I don’t know if I feel like I’m ready for all of this. All of the great big men went to college at least two or three years. I think it’s a big factor. I don’t know if it will always work, but I think it’s the best choice.”
Round 2 Pick 31: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington University
Even if the Bucks don't win the lottery, if they finish the season with the worst record they will have the 31st overall pick which will allow them a shot at a really good player. As I mentioned above, the Bucks need a shooting guard who is a game changer yet efficient. O.J. Mayo and Monta Ellis are/were not that at all. Low shooting % and shaky performances are getting tiring to watch from the guard two spot for the Bucks. The senior is averaging 20.3 PPG, 46.1% shooting percentage and a 88.9% free throw percentage. Each year he's improved his numbers and has formulated into a very sound shooting guard for Washington.
Round 2 Pick 36 (from T-Wolves, previously Suns and Lakers): Shabazz Napier, PG, University of Connecticut
Another standout senior like Wilcox, Shabazz is one of the NCAA's top senior talents heading to the NBA Draft. Getting compared to Derek Fisher will help him a lot come draft day. He has improved on all of his numbers from his junior year, including going from 4.6 to 5.9 assists per game, field goal percentage has risen from 44% to 50%, and his three-point percentage has risen from 40% to 57%.
Because of his size (6'1" with a 6'3" wingspan), it's assumed his stock will fall on draft day and which ever team he ends up with he will be a back up to start out his NBA career as the team will want to test the waters with him.
Round 2 Pick 48 (from Suns, previously Raptors): Alec Brown, PF/C, University of Green Bay-Wisconsin
Alec Brown is a very unique player and could be an option for the Bucks if he's on the board for their third pick in the second round. He's a seven-foot-one (in shoes) center that has 3.3 blocks per game, but is also shooting almost 50% from three point range this season. He's a very versatile player to say the least. His rebound numbers have been down over the last two seasons, but his offensive numbers have been on the rise. He's currently averaging a career-high 17.0 PPG and his field goal percentage has gone up from 44% last year to 52% this year.
(Note: If Thanasis Antetokounmpo is on the board for this pick, it wouldn't shock me if the Bucks drafted the 20 year old brother of Giannis. He's a shooting guard/small forward currently playing in the NBA D-League but can be drafted in the 2014 Draft out of Athens, Greece.)
Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.
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