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Any of you folks interested in following the NBA draft tonight? I know it is no where near as popular as the NFL draft, but many might be interested where these soon to be young millionaires end up. The Bucks currently have picks 23 and 33, unless they trade 1 or both for a proven player today. Or, do they sit and pick some young talent, possibly try to move a bit higher in the draft?

Anyway, I wont be watching it, but will be reading about the outcome after.

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Bucks draft AJ Johnson. A long-term project who averaged 3 points a game in the NBL



Overview
Johnson was born in California and played his senior year of high school basketball at Southern California Academy. Coming out of high school, Johnson was a four-star recruit and initially committed to play college basketball for the University of Texas before de-comitting and opting to play for the Next Stars program in the NBL. He spent the 2023-24 campaign with the Ilawarra Hawks, averaging 2.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 7.7 minutes across 26 appearances. Johnson has a close relationship with the No. 2 pick in 2021 NBA Draft, Jalen Green.

Analysis
At 6-foot-5, Johnson has the ideal size and athleticism for a guard at the next level. He flashed the ability to create his shot and has the vision to find open teammates. Defensively, Johnson’s length gives him the tools to bother opponents on the perimeter.

Projection
Johnson’s skillset is similar to Jalen Hood-Schifino’s due to both having the size and athleticism to operate as combo guards at the next level. Like Hood-Schifino, Johnson will likely need time to develop in the NBA G League before making a true impact in the NBA, as he saw limited playing time in his first taste of professional basketball in the NBL.

To say this pick is puzzling is an understatement. The Bucks need to get younger and more athletic, but he is 19 years old and 6'6" and 170 pounds. He is year away from being a year away. I guess you aren't going to get much to help you win-now drafting where the Bucks do every year, but Giannis' oldest son will be draft eligible when this guy is 33 years old. Dame, Middleton, and Lopez are all older than that right now.

I was certainly surprised by this pick.   It doesn’t give you much hope of filling the 2 guard position and honestly he’s not ready to be even their backup PG - which this team also needs.

That being said, he has the physical tools and instincts to be a PG of the future but for a team that’s built to win now this makes very little sense.

Now, if they can find a way to get a Tyler Kolek type guy I’ll feel better about the AJ selection but right now I give this pick a β€œC” grade at best.  The only more questionable choice in round 1 was Memphis taking Edey 9th overall.  

Speaking of which, Memphis and New Orleans adding centers likely means that Brook Lopez won’t be heading to either of those two locations.   It’s still possible the Lakers and Rockers may be interested but worth paying attention to for sure.  

@Tschmack posted:

I was certainly surprised by this pick.   It doesn’t give you much hope of filling the 2 guard position and honestly he’s not ready to be even their backup PG - which this team also needs.

That being said, he has the physical tools and instincts to be a PG of the future but for a team that’s built to win now this makes very little sense.

Now, if they can find a way to get a Tyler Kolek type guy I’ll feel better about the AJ selection but right now I give this pick a β€œC” grade at best.  The only more questionable choice in round 1 was Memphis taking Edey 9th overall.  

Speaking of which, Memphis and New Orleans adding centers likely means that Brook Lopez won’t be heading to either of those two locations.   It’s still possible the Lakers and Rockers may be interested but worth paying attention to for sure.  

This pick seems like Horst was taking a flyer on someone with high potential that could be a good player on a post-Giannis team. If he's ever ready for NBA rotation minutes in a playoff series, it will be in 3-4 years. Realistically, Giannis' game is not going to age well since he's not going to morph into a knockdown jump shooter in his mid-30s, so the Bucks' window with Giannis as a top 5 player is really the next 2-3 years at best.

If you were passing up some NBA ready players to make this pick, it would be highly questionable. But, this draft overall had very few surefire NBA rotation guys (maybe the two UConn guys drafted in the lottery) that are ready to play now. And certainly where the Bucks picked there was no one that was likely to be any better than Jackson, Beauchamp, Livingston, or AJ Green. So, they might as well try to hit a grand slam than draft another Beauchamp/Jackson type.

Last edited by MichiganPacker2

I mean, that’s fair.  He is a good athlete and has a ton of raw talent not unlike a certain guy from Greece that was taken 15th overall in the draft 11 years ago.  

Realistically, their β€œwindow” is next year and the following year- maybe as Middleton, Pat C, and Portis (if they exercise player options in 2025/2026) means in year 3 it’s just Giannis and Dame left - albeit Dame has a 60M option that he will most certainly exercise.  Giannis would have one year remaining with a player option in 2027/2028.

There’s another angle to consider which is if the Bucks don’t sign AJ or their 33rd pick they can be included in sweeteners attached to let’s say a Pat C trade or Lopez or Portis trade.  I think the most realistic scenario is attaching to Pat C because he has little to no value.  

Given salary escalation I would say Lopez is probably the next most likely to be dealt and his value is two fold - he’s on an expiring deal which is always appealing to some teams, and his salary is high enough that you may be able to get a semi decent (younger) guy back.  I would think for a team that thinks they are close like OKC or Dallas or Houston or maybe even Denver or the Lakers it might make sense.  New Orleans would have made a lot of sense but they took a center.

Given where the Bucks are with the cap they are hampered even more in terms of making deals.  Certainly not impossible but that’s why Memphis and New Orleans taking centers in the draft sucked.  Realistically, a Lopez for Marcus Smart trade could have worked.  

Last edited by Tschmack
@Tschmack posted:

I mean, that’s fair.  He is a good athlete and has a ton of raw talent not unlike a certain guy from Greece that was taken 15th overall in the draft 11 years ago.  

Realistically, their β€œwindow” is next year and the following year- maybe as Middleton, Pat C, and Portis (if they exercise player options in 2025/2026) means in year 3 it’s just Giannis and Dame left - albeit Dame has a 60M option that he will most certainly exercise.  Giannis would have one year remaining with a player option in 2027/2028.

There’s another angle to consider which is if the Bucks don’t sign AJ or their 33rd pick they can be included in sweeteners attached to let’s say a Pat C trade or Lopez or Portis trade.  I think the most realistic scenario is attaching to Pat C because he has little to no value.  

Given salary escalation I would say Lopez is probably the next most likely to be dealt and his value is two fold - he’s on an expiring deal which is always appealing to some teams, and his salary is high enough that you may be able to get a semi decent (younger) guy back.  I would think for a team that thinks they are close like OKC or Dallas or Houston or maybe even Denver or the Lakers it might make sense.  New Orleans would have made a lot of sense but they took a center.

Given where the Bucks are with the cap they are hampered even more in terms of making deals.  Certainly not impossible but that’s why Memphis and New Orleans taking centers in the draft sucked.  Realistically, a Lopez for Marcus Smart trade could have worked.  

The challenge with Lopez is several fold. The biggest thing is that the CBA basically forces the Bucks to move him for something this year or they lose that salary cap space completely. He'll turn 37 years old before next year's playoffs and makes 25 million a year and kills them for luxury tax purposes at that salary. He should be in the Al Horford (a much more versatile player in the same role) salary range right now (10 million a year) but the Rockets had some money to burn last summer and pushed his price up. In one way of thinking, that was good for the Bucks since they can trade that 25 million he's due for another player making up to that.

Other than CBA ramifications, the biggest challenge with Lopez is that he's only really useful for one specific matchup in an Eastern conference playoff series. And that's to guard Embiid. He probably will not be on the floor in crunch time against the Celtics, Pacers, or Heat. Other than that, his value is to absorb minutes during the regular season at the 5 so that Giannis doesn't get too worn down.

In the West, his main value is in a playoff series against Jokic and maybe against the Wolves because he's a natural defender for KAT/Gobert. The problem with that is that teams like Dallas, Houston, or OKC really aren't going to deal you anything this year that's going to help the Bucks in 2024-25. Maybe you could get one or two of the seemingly dozen of first round picks OKC has in the next 5 years for him, but that's not going to fit the Giannis window.

@mrtundra posted:

Bucks' Pick is in. Day 2, Pick 33, overall, is:  Tyler Smith from the G League Ignite. 6'9". 19 years old.

He's more NBA ready to at least get some minutes in some back to back game where they rest guys than Johnson is. 38% on catch and shoot 3s in the G league on a large volume is the best sign for utility at some point soon.

https://www.nba.com/draft/2024/prospects/tyler-smith



Overview

Smith was born in New Orleans but relocated to Houston with his family after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He blossomed into a five-star recruit and took his talents to the Overtime Elite program, opting for OTE over Kansas, Baylor, Texas and others. Following two campaigns at OTE, the 19-year-old joined the G League Ignite in 2023-24, generating 0.969 points per possession, which ranked in the 73rd percentile among all G League players, despite the Ignite finishing with a ghastly 7-45 record in total. In addition to his scoring efficiency, Smith chipped in 5.0 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.0 blocks while logging just 23.3 minutes per game.

Analysis

A true power forward who will hit threes and be a constant lob threat, Smith’s services are always a positional commodity. Smith is best when he can get downhill out of pick-and-roll, setting up dunks and showcasing his fluidity and ambidexterity. He is worse at finishing in traffic, converting just 49.1 percent of his layups, which ranked in the 24th percentile among all G League players. Smith knocking down 37.7 percent of 180 catch-and-shoot threes this year must be respected and is extremely gravitational for a frontcourt player. A 56:53 AST:TO ratio is  a strong starting foundation for his offensive processing, especially in the context of an Ignite  environment that could be dysfunctional at times.

Projection

Smith exits the 2024 NBA Combine with nearly identical measurements to John Collins, emblematic of the his next-level athleticism.  If Smith improves his technique as a finisher, he has serious upside as an elite role player and/or capable starter. His physical profile makes him an impactful offensive rebounder, multi-level defender and screener β€” with athleticism and shooting to be a dynamic offensive weapon via rolling and popping after screening. Smith runs the floor hard and is a fiery competitor. Smith is best viewed as a play-finisher, but the iteration of Christian Wood who averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals plus blocks in 2021-22 across a full season with Houston is the ceiling for Smith. An all-around impact similar to Tari Eason is also on the table. Smith’s ability to defend on the wings is indicative of his modern-day skills, but 2005 No.2 overall pick Marvin Williams’ late-career balance can be drawn as a parallel to Smith, as well.

β€” Profile by RotoWire

@MNPackman posted:

And, of course, the Lakers take Bronny.

I am the first to admit I really don't pay much attention to the NBA these days but sometimes something will get my attention.  So Bronny played on a very crappy USC team in a so-so conference and averaged what 4 points a game?  And this 4 points a game allows him to even be in the conversation to get drafted? and say only the Lakers and Suns should draft me?

Besides his last name being what it is am I missing?

@The Heckler posted:

I am the first to admit I really don't pay much attention to the NBA these days but sometimes something will get my attention.  So Bronny played on a very crappy USC team in a so-so conference and averaged what 4 points a game?  And this 4 points a game allows him to even be in the conversation to get drafted? and say only the Lakers and Suns should draft me?

Besides his last name being what it is am I missing?

The Bucks took a guy who averaged 2.9 in the first.  He does have a big wingspan tho.  

Like fuck Bronny and the Lakers.  

I hope they win 20 games next year.  Bunch of posers all around - their so called owner, their so called GM, and that wannabee owner and GM LeBron.  Fuck them all.  And ESPN and the commish for allowing this to happen.  You aren’t kidding anyone.  We all knew he would end up in LA.   Now we get to spend all offseason hearing about the father/son thing non stop.  

Last edited by Tschmack

To say this pick is puzzling is an understatement. The Bucks need to get younger and more athletic, but he is 19 years old and 6'6" and 170 pounds. He is year away from being a year away. I guess you aren't going to get much to help you win-now drafting where the Bucks do every year, but Giannis' oldest son will be draft eligible when this guy is 33 years old. Dame, Middleton, and Lopez are all older than that right now.

I heard a draft analyst say the Bucks liked what they saw of Johnson in his 5 on 5 drills. FWTW.

@Tschmack posted:

Like fuck Bronny and the Lakers.  

I hope they win 20 games next year.  Bunch of posers all around - their so called owner, their so called GM, and that wannabee owner and GM LeBron.  Fuck them all.  And ESPN and the commish for allowing this to happen.  You aren’t kidding anyone.  We all knew he would end up in LA.   Now we get to spend all offseason hearing about the father/son thing non stop.  

I was listening to Doug Gottlieb (who I usually am not a fan of) fill in for Dan Patrick today and absolutely roasting the NBA and the Lakers for all of this. More importantly he was roasting ESPN for playing into this. Woj reporting this like he would a trade of a superstar player. He had someone else on who was a college coach previously and said that the high school conference that Bronny played in had at least 10 guys that were better than him.

A lot of people are claiming that Thanasis having a spot on the Bucks' roster is an example to justify this. Thanasis averaged 12 points a game in a Greek professional league before Giannis was even drafted. He averaged 12 points a game in the G league and was selected to a G league all-defensive team. He's 6'7 and a very good athlete. Should he be an NBA player at this point - no, but it's not like he was some total stiff that wasn't scouted. He was a legitimate prospect who was a legit G league player for years.

The other example is, of course, the Griffeys in MLB. That comparison is a complete joke. Griffey Jr. was a once in a generation prospect, the number one overall pick, and played two years in the minors with an OPS of over 1000. He was not some sideshow, and his father, while not a HOFer, was a 3-time all-star. Comparing LeBron and Bronny to the Griffey's playing together is ridiculous.

Bronny James went into cardiac arrest last summer. For even elite prospects, that is usually enough to flag you on a physical and take you off of most teams draft boards. Bronny played on a sub-500 college team last year and averaged 5 points in 20 minutes a game. He's an undersized guard who shot 26% from three. He is said to be a good defensive player. His ceiling is probably Javon Carter. Carter started out with similar stats to Bronny as a freshman in college and stayed another 3 years and worked his way into being a second round pick and has bounced around the NBA ever since. Javon Carter would probably put up 40 on Bronny right now. A healthy Thanasis probably abuses him one on one. And Bronny is not even going to sign a two way contract.

In some ways I feel sorry for the kid. He needed to stay in school for 2-3 more years, then maybe head to the G league or Europe and get more experience under less pressure. He has some potential to be a professional player if he follows the PJ Tucker type route. But he's going to sit on the bench for the Lakers and be a side show.

It's just another reason not to watch ESPN as they will lead every Sportscenter all year with Bronny (summer league, training camp, etc).  



It's just another reason not to watch ESPN as they will lead every Sportscenter all year with Bronny (summer league, training camp, etc).  

Oh absolutely true.  They will figure out some way on SC and their social media to push this story line.   Outside of college football and some NFL coverage ESPN to me has really fallen off since they put some much in to the NBA. 

I am very much not a conspiracy type of guy but I think this whole thing was orchestrated by LeBron who let's face is runs the Lakers, the NBA, and ESPN to push more excitement for the NBA because a lot of people are just not that invested in watching it. 

The Lakers get what they deserve.  Rob Pelinka got the GM job because he was Kobe’s agent.  Jeanie Buss (like Mark Davis) won the genetic lottery.  She rewarded her buddy Linda Rambis with some literal made up executive job.  Then there’s Clutch Sports and Rich Paul.  And LeBron.  We all know they are calling the shots.  What a dysfunctional mess.  

Everyone cutting deals and making gobs of money and carving out their power plays - yet no one seems focused on winning.  Now we have to put up with Bronny James and what a spectacle that will be.  

People killing Giannis for having Thanasis on the roster but he’s like Karl Malone in his prime compared to BJ.  A guy that couldn’t even average 10PPG on a mediocre USC team.  And he’s really undersized.  

Last edited by Tschmack
@The Heckler posted:

I am the first to admit I really don't pay much attention to the NBA these days but sometimes something will get my attention.  So Bronny played on a very crappy USC team in a so-so conference and averaged what 4 points a game?  And this 4 points a game allows him to even be in the conversation to get drafted? and say only the Lakers and Suns should draft me?

Besides his last name being what it is am I missing?

Clearly he's not getting drafted if he's the 12th mans son. But I also wouldn't put a ton of stock into his season as USC. The kids heart stopped less than a year ago.

In the end I predict he'll be somewhere between Michael Jordan and Dell Curry's kids.

@PackerHawk posted:

Clearly he's not getting drafted if he's the 12th mans son. But I also wouldn't put a ton of stock into his season as USC. The kids heart stopped less than a year ago.

In the end I predict he'll be somewhere between Michael Jordan and Dell Curry's kids.

It's not like he's a complete stiff. I mean, he's going to be better than Johnny Davis. But treating him as a sideshow is probably going to inhibit his development. He would really benefit from going and playing big minutes for two full years on a G league team or in Europe. Instead, he's likely to sit on the end of the bench and play at the end of blowouts.

The nepotism stiff is a two way thing. Yes, it gets guys like Thanasis and Bronny jobs they wouldn't have otherwise. However, there is a lot to be said for growing up around the NBA your entire life, hanging out all summer in the gym and playing basketball from a young age. Despite the implication that the nepotism brings entitlement, the opposite seems to be true. Most of the second generation guys are not divas, and besides the 4 or so HOF examples, many of them end up being the guys willing to do the dirty work of playing tough defense and hustling to stay in the league.

Kobe Bryant

Steph and Seth Curry

Klay Thompson

Al Horford

Devin Booker

Domantas Sabonis

Darius Garland

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Andrew Wiggins


Larry Nance Jr.

Gary Payton Jr.

Wesley Matthews

Jae Crowder