Britt's Blog: Second Helpings
Bucks Show knack for getting help in the second round
By Britt Clement
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It has been said that drafting in professional sports is a crapshoot. Even the players ranked near the top of the draft frequently struggle to make the transition from being an amateur to becoming a professional. The farther you get from the top of the draft, the longer the odds the player selected is going to have any real impact on your franchise.
One team that has made strides in bucking that trend is the Milwaukee Bucks. Over the last several years they've done a good job of selecting players who have not only seen the court, they've also made significant contributions to the team.
Before chatting up some notable second rounders here's a trivia question. One Bucks player, drafted after the first round, is in the top 10 in franchise history in points, rebounds and assists. Who is he? Also, there are three other players with that distinction. See the last paragraph for your answers.
When talking about successful second round picks of the Bucks, you have to start the conversation with Michael Redd.
Michael Redd 2000 Draft 43rd Overall Selection
The 43rd player selected in 2000 appeared in just six games as a rookie, totaling 35 minutes. It's safe to assume that after that season no one would've guessed that Redd would go on to be in the top-10 in franchise history in 11 statistical categories, but here we are 10 seasons later with that being the case.
Holding off on his season-by-season numbers and looking purely from a career standpoint, Redd is one of three players to play in 10 seasons for the Bucks along with Junior Bridgeman (two stints) and Sidney Moncrief (10 consecutive seasons). The Ohio State alum is fourth in points (11,510), fifth in scoring average (20.3), seventh in field goals made (4,045), second in free throws (2,421), second in three-pointers (999), tied for seventh in games played (568), fifth in minutes (19,202) and seventh in three-point percentage (38.4).
Beginning with the 2003-04 season, his first as a full-time starter, and running through the 2008-09 season, Redd averaged 21.7, 23.0, 25.4, 26.7, 22.7 and 21.2 points, respectively. He was also a member of the United States' 2008 gold medal Olympic squad and, as you can see here, has provided Bucks fans with many exciting moments over the years. There may be a few players with more impressive careers as a second round pick, but definitely not many.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute 2008 Draft 37th Overall Selection
Fans who have watched the Bucks of late no doubt taken note of Mbah a Moute's play. Whenever the team needs a stop, scraps for a loose ball or any of the other intangibles that help to win games, Mbah a Moute is usually in the middle of it all. The prince in his native Bafia (Bia Messe) in Cameroon has used defense as his calling card since being drafted out of a UCLA group that also included Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Shortly after his rookie training camp began, Bucks head coach Scott Skiles declared him an NBA-level defender immediately and Mbah a Moute earned time on the court guarding essentially four positions on the floor and it wouldn't be a total shock if he gave a valiant effort in defending a center or two at some point.
It may be a clich, but Mbah a Moute is truly one of those players where his numbers don't tell the full story of his value to the club. In just two seasons he's made his mark as a tough defender who receives compliments from several of the opposing team's coaches and players postgame. Here's a clip of him throwing one down on the Pacers. Also, check out mbahamoute12.com for more info on Mr. Mbah a Moute and also to check out his shirt collection, which includes one of my favorites, "Moute Kicks Boute."
Ersan Ilyasova 2005 Draft 36th Overall Selection
Sometimes it's hard to remember that Ersan Ilyasova turned 23 less than a week ago. It seems like he's been in the fold for the Bucks for so long but remember that he is the youngest player to appear in a game for the Bucks as he took the floor on November 1, 2006 at Detroit at 19 years and 170 days old. He appeared in 66 games for the Bucks that year, went overseas to work on his game and returned this year to appear in 81 games (second-highest Bucks total to Brandon Jennings and Luke Ridnour's 82 games) and average 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds.
This should be just the beginning for Ilyasova as he's under contract for two more years and said he enjoys playing in Scott Skiles' system. Both with the Bucks and in his overseas play, Ilyasova has shown that he has some serious skills.
Dan Gadzuric 2002 Draft 34th Overall Selection
Danny G came to the Bucks out of UCLA and immediately showed the willingness to hustle and play defense. He's in ninth place in franchise history with 405 blocked shots and has played eight seasons with the Bucks entering a small group of players to reach that many seasons with the Bucks.
A little off topic, but some of my favorite Bucks memories in recent years were Toni Kukoc's passes. Here's one to Danny G for <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-VXMYb4OeA>dunk</a>. They made it look effortless. Kukoc always knew where his teammates were going to be and Gadzuric was on the receiving end of many of those passes.
Ramon Sessions 2007 Draft 56th Overall Selection
In another recent draft, Ramon Sessions was the 56th out of 60 selections in the 2007 draft, but in his first season, he set a franchise record with 24 assists against Chicago on April 14, 2008. He became the first Bucks player to record 20 points and 20 assists in the same game. Sessions went on from his rookie year to put up 12.4 points, 5.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his second year and signed with the Timberwolves in the offseason.
Fred Roberts 1982 Draft 27th Overall Selection
Fred Roberts was a fan favorite in his time with the Bucks and it's interesting to note that while the Bucks selected him in the 1982 draft, he had a long journey before eventually making his way into a Bucks uniform. He was traded several times before joining the Bucks in a swap with the Heat prior to the 1988-89 season.
In his five seasons with the Bucks, Roberts averaged 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists, but he was definitely a fan favorite and will long be remembered by Bucks fans for not only his hustle and play on the floor, but also his classic haircut.
Other notable selections
In the 2000 and 2002 drafts, the Bucks had two second round picks. In 2000 they got Redd at 43 and added Jason Hart out of Syracuse at pick 49. Hart appeared in one game for Milwaukee and made the only shot he took. He appeared in five games this season split between Minnesota and New Orleans. Hart has 341 games to his credit, not bad for a second-rounder. In 2002 the Bucks picked up Gadzuric and Ronald Flip Murray. Murray (42nd pick) saw action 12 games with Milwaukee, but has 487 games with eight teams in his career and has averaged 9.9 points in those tilts.
Another second rounder who found success elsewhere in the NBA is Rafer Alston, who spent three seasons with the Bucks before going to Toronto, Miami, Houston, Orlando and New Jersey. He has 671 games under his belt and knocked down 996 threes. Not too shabby for the 39th pick in the 1998 draft.
In a case of what could have been? the Bucks drafted Alex English with the 23rd overall selection in the 1976 draft. He spent two years with the Bucks before signing with Indiana. He really hit his stride with Denver, where he led the league with 28.4 points per game in 1982-83. Imagine if he had stuck in Milwaukee and he was part of the Moncrief, Lanier and (eventually) Pressey teams. It's impossible to say that the Bucks still would've had those players if English had stayed, but it's interesting to think about.
It wasn't a second round choice, but in 1969 the Bucks got Bob Dandridge in the fourth round, 45th selection. Not a bad pickup considering he's fifth in team history with 11,478 points, second in field goals (4,826), sixth in free throws (1,826), third in games (618), second in rebounds (4,497) and eighth in assists (1,956). In a pretty decent draft, the Bucks also got the player who is first in many categories in their history with the top pick in that draft (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Dandridge and Abdul-Jabbar are two of four players who are in the top-10 in franchise history in points, rebounds and assists. The other two? Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson.