Milwaukee Bucks 2022 NBA Mock Draft Round-up

It’s NBA Draft Day. One of the few chances over the next five years that the Milwaukee Bucks actually keep their pick. With all the prospects rusting over the past few weeks, I’m eagerly anticipating how Jon Horst chooses to approach the evening. My bet is that they return, but this is the most accurate description I’ve seen of what the Bucks plan to do.

Anyway, we rounded up who the experts asked in Milwaukee on Thursday night, and I lent my opinion on each choice.

Jaden Hardy

Jeremy Woo – Sports Illustrated

Although Milwaukee hasn’t used a first-round pick since 2018, the Bucks have their key players under contract next season and have a good opportunity to add some youngsters to the roster through this draft. Trading back could also be an option here. But developing a talented scorer like Hardy could be tempting and could give their backcourt a different dimension. His title has fluctuated heavily this year, but he ended the season on a positive note and has a lot to offer on the offensive side, particularly if he is able to adjust his shot selection and become more efficient. He is a talented shooter, has a good build for his size and it should help that he has already been tested by the G League. Once screened as a lottery pick, Hardy becomes a good value game at this draft interval, and there’s enough advantage here that it’s worth finding out.

Ricky O’Donnell – SB Nation

Why Walker Kessler is the most likely pick on the board: The Bucks know they have yet to add help on the inside after their midseason swap for Serge Ibaka failed to sell him. Kessler would fit perfectly as Brook Lopez’s protege due to his massive build and excellent shot-blocking ability after his 19.1 percent block rate led college basketball last year. The shoot is going to be harder to develop, but Kessler went 10 out of 50 from last year’s depth, so there’s at least something to work on as far as the shoot goes.

Why Jaden Hardy is the top pick on the scoreboard: The Warriors once found the young scorer guard they needed to keep their dynasty alive at the end of the first round when they chose Jordan Poole. Could Milwaukee get a similar injection of offense by taking Hardy? A former top five rookie, Hardy was underwhelmed with the G League Ignite before ending the season on a high note. His rebound shot is his calling card. Bucks can always use someone who can get a hard half-court bucket.

My opinion: Personally, Jaden Hardy yells at me a project, and I just can’t see this team pulling the trigger on someone like that. He has the pedigree as one of the top five guys before last season, and the G League is a tougher competition, but I’m just not interested in betting on a shooter at this stage of the franchise’s development who could potentially fail. Even with offense as the main reason Milwaukee failed in the playoffs, defense is the team’s calling card and I’d rather have someone with defensive acumen and potential offensive tools to hone.

I don’t think Kessler is worth getting caught up in. Milwaukee is clearly not invested in building a major rotation beyond Portis-Giannis-Brook.

Jake Laravia

Sam Vecenie – Atletico ($)

It would be a surprise to see LaRavia come out of the top 35. He shot very well in pre-draft training and convinced teams that he can be a high-volume shooter making them. She has tried athletically well at the combine and has the kind of confident mindset that tends to succeed at the next level among role players. The Bucks need shooters alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, and LaRavia has the kind of bounty and cross-shot that would fit well. The range of him begins in late adolescence.

My opinion: Seems like someone who can do the things Milwaukee likes. He passes, dribbles, shoots and plays. I am wary of his defensive ability to stay on the ground even if at 6’8 ”, could he really switch to smaller players in the formations? He would need a hyper solid shot to justify the choice in my mind, so I think I’d rather bet on a winger like Beauchamp.

Mar Jon Beauchamp

John Hollinger – Atletico ($)

Milwaukee would be another great landing point for Liddell; will have a lot of fans in this stretch if the choices are not swapped. Beauchamp is crude in many ways, but getting a high-energy striker off the bench could help detract from the Bucks’ somewhat slow second-unit play. Milwaukee has no players in this size / position profile with a last name less than 13 letters.

Speaking of which, a Milwaukee swap of choice 24 with Orlando for choices 32 and 35 makes too much sense to ignore. The Bucks could take a hidden player with one (like Italy’s Gabriele Procida) and select one player with the other and sign him for a minimum rookie deal, which would save about $ 5 million in salary and luxury taxes for what the team is likely to be 14th and last in the standings. That savings would increase if the Bucks increased their tax account further by shelling out to keep them both Bobby Porti And Pat Connaughton and using the taxpayer mid-tier exception.

My opinion: I think Hollinger hit right on the money with his thinking about trading Bucks. Maybe not the exact swap with Orlando (although he might see something like swapping for 32, the Bucks return in 2026 according to which they owe the Magic from the Jordan Nwora deal and another second future). Frank took stock of Locked on Bucks today, but unless someone like Terry or Liddell slips towards them at 24, I’d rather just go back and amass some resources. The longer I stare at players who seem possible at 24, the more I feel like I’m talking about myself rather than themselves. At that point, why not trade and bet on a second player who will save money, yes slightly worst odds to be successful and potentially allow you to master the resources that make trading possible in this off-season and during the season.

However, if they chose Beauchamp, that would be fine too.

Dalen Terry

Kevin O’Connor – The Ringer

The Bucks have a number of key free agents this off-season, including Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis. With Brook Lopez just turning 34, it could be argued that Milwaukee should be targeting a big man here. I had them select Walker Kessler in previous mockery. But you can easily argue that they add a wing with 3-ed quality. Terry can also handle the ball and has the ability to attack on the rebound and pass the dribble.

My opinion: Terry goes to the Bucks in O’Connor mockery, I think largely because KOC falls short of Terry by consensus, ranking him mid-20s on his big board. I would be surprised if he lasted that long with his passing ability and wide defensive tools. If he’s there and Milwaukee kidnaps him, huzzah!

UPDATE: In his latest Mock, KOC has the Bucks taking Bryce Mcgowens. Dalen Terry is already off the scoreboard for Memphis. Here’s what it has to say:

Khris Middleton’s injury in the playoffs put the Bucks’ lack of shot making behind him into perspective. Jrue Holiday can only do so much to support Giannis Antetokounmpo. McGowens is a rough scorer who has never been asked to be a director. But the flashes as well as his ability to score make him a positive pick for Milwaukee at this point in the draft. Playing behind Middleton and learning to grow up with Giannis might be the best thing that ever happened to him.

EJ Liddell

Jonathan Givony – ESPN ($)

The Bucks are said to be exploring a number of options with this choice, with names included Andrea Nembhard, Jake La Ravia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate got agitated and indicated that the team is exploring “older” players who can help the team win now while its league window is open. Rival teams say the Bucks have indicated a willingness to explore the ascent phase in the mid-to-late teens part of the first round, potentially targeting some of the draft’s best 7-footers such as Marco Williams And Walker Kessler.

On top of that, with several frontcourt players either expiring their contracts or entering their final seasons, the addition of a great American like Liddell could be attractive. Liddell is a solid hoop protector who can activate the perimeter and greatly enhance his junior shot, giving him a high floor for perspective. Liddell’s productivity and tenacity make it a solid option at this stage of the project.

My opinion: Again, another perspective that seems likely to have disappeared at this point. I would be thrilled if Liddell fell with his potential positional versatility to join Giannis in smallball formations. The first names mentioned by Givony are not that interesting to me, can be Christian Braun, but I’m not buying the climb talk. I smell rotten kraut there.

So it does it for what the experts think, but we want to know what the real, diehard Bucks experts think. Yes, you are my righteous readers. Vote in the poll below for how you think it will turn out tonight.


What will Milwaukee do at Draft Night?

  • 35%

    Make your choice at number 24

    (129 votes)

364 total votes

Vote now

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