Jake's Take: Going Back for Seconds - 01/21/11
Jake LeRoy [@JakesTake34]
Bucks at Cavaliers
With the Bucks playing the Cavaliers tonight, I couldn't help but think of former Buck and current Cavs starting point guard Ramon Sessions. And that made me think of former Bucks draft picks. And that made me think of former Bucks second-round draft picks. Sessions is just one of many second-round picks the Bucks have made in recent years that has developed into a, at the very least, serviceable NBA player, whether it's in Milwaukee or somewhere else.
After doing a little research, I was even more surprised over how well players drafted by the Bucks in the second round have panned out. Now when I use words and phrases like "serviceable" and "panned out," I'm referring to players who have played at least five good, quality years in the NBA. I'm talking about guys who have been rotation players, not just benchwarmers who hang around because they're 7 feet tall.
In the last 20 years, Milwaukee has made 25 second-round draft picks starting with Bobby Phills in 1991 and concluding with Tiny Gallon in 2010. Of those 25, I would classify 14 of them as players who have carved out nice careers for themselves. Those 14 players are Phills, Voshon Lenard, Eric Snow, Moochie Norris, Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston, Michael Redd, Jason Hart, Flip Murray, Dan Gadzuric, Keith Bogans, Ersan Ilyasova, Ramon Sessions, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Jodie Meeks.
Granted, only Redd could be considered a huge success at this point, but six of those players have career averages over 10 points per game. The other eight players, highlighted by Snow and his 551 career starts, have all enjoyed significant playing time over the course of their careers. Looking at the big picture, my initial thought was that a 56 percent success rate is pretty solid.
I wanted confirmation, though, so I looked at the second-round draft picks of the last 10 drafts. My initial notion was correct. Over the last 10 years, only 61 of the 297 total second-round picks can, or could, be considered serviceable. That's just a 20.5 percent success rate league wide. Take players drafted by the Bucks out of the equation and that number falls to 19.1 percent.
The total useful players by draft class with the bigger success stories in parentheses: 2010 - 1 (Landry Fields); 2009 - 6 (DeJuan Blair, Marcus Thornton); 2008 - 6 (Mario Chalmers, The Prince, CDR); 2007 - 5 (Carl Landry, Big Baby Davis, Marc Gasol); 2006 - 5 (Craig Smith, Paul Millsap); 2005 - 10 (Monta Ellis, Brandon Bass, Andray Blatche); 2004 - 4 (Anderson Varejao, Trevor Ariza), 2003 - 9 (Mo Williams, Luke Walton); 2002 - 8 (Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola); 2001 - 7 (Gilbert Arenas, Mehmut Okur).
The only unfortunate part of all this fine scouting is that a good portion of Milwaukee's second-round draft picks have found their greatest success somewhere else. Guys like Lenard, Snow, Murray and Meeks couldn't crack Milwaukee's rotation but were able to catch on somewhere else. Of course there are also players like Jeff Nordgaard and Chris Owens who don't work out at all for anybody. All in all, though, I think it's a testament to the job the Bucks have done finding good players in low places.
- I assumed the uniform merry-go-round in Cleveland would've come to a halt with LeBron taking his talents elsewhere. Apparently that's not the case as the Cavs are wearing what seems like the seventh uni they've worn in the last two years. Now they've decided to infuse some baby blue into the color palette. I can understand busting out a new jersey every two weeks if LeBron's in play. People want to collect different LeBron jerseys. What jerseys are they looking to move now that he's gone? Are they trying to get those J.J. Hickson jerseys flying off the shelves? What's your motivation Cleveland? What's your endgame?
- I think the Bucks may be on to something with the Andrew Bogut-CDR two-man game. Whether it's a pick-and-roll or CDR cutting off of Bogut in the post, these two have developed a chemistry that often results in something good. That was evident midway through the first quarter when CDR used a Bogut pick to go left toward the middle. Upon getting into the lane, CDR softly tossed the ball up to the right side of the rim where Bogut caught and converted for an easy deuce. I'm not saying CDR is ready to orchestrate pick-and-rolls on a regular basis, but this duo has shown enough flashes that it's worth looking into more in the future.
- Although Sessions is now playing for a division rival, I'm still a fan of his game. He's been stuck in some bad situations in Minnesota and Cleveland the last two years, but I think if given a chance he can become a very good point guard. After all, there can't be many players in the history of the league who posted a 40-point game, 20-assist game and triple-double all within their first 100 games as a pro. His game in 2011 is pretty much the same as it was in 2008. Sessions still doesn't have much of a jumper, but he can get into the paint almost at will and has a knack for getting guys the ball in good position to score.
- Considering the severity of the injury he suffered, I don't think anyone would blame Carlos Delfino if he played a more conservative brand of basketball. I have seen nothing close to resembling that, though. What stood out most to me was his willingness to get up under the chin of the opposition, a location that lends itself to elbows upside the dome. That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. In the first half alone, he's taken a charge, drove the lane hard and launched at will. It's almost as if he never left.
- I rarely, if ever, feel bad for another sports franchise. When it comes to sports and the teams that oppose my favorite squads, the sympathy gene doesn't come into play. It remains in deep dormancy. With the Bucks up 20 late in the third quarter, I can't help but feel a little bad for the Cavs. That roster would give any fan nightmares, especially compared with what it once was. It's a disaster. Who do I really feel bad for? Antawn Jamison. From what I can tell, Jamison is a legitimately nice guy who has had a very nice career. To see him in this position is unfortunate. He deserves better than sharing a starting nod with Alonzo Gee and Manny Harris.
Closing It Out
Yaaay for playing the Cavaliers. Obviously anything can happen on any given night in the NBA, but I had no idea the trials and tribulations that the Cavs are currently going through. A 14-game losing streak with a 16-point average margin of loss is really bad. It really puts everything the Bucks have gone through this season in perspective.
That being said, I'm perfectly content seeing the Bucks contribute to Cleveland's downward spiral. I might feel a little bad for the team and city, but not nearly enough to not thoroughly enjoy tonight's win. Outside of a brief two-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter, the Bucks controlled this game pretty much throughout. They gradually built the lead up to double digits where it stayed through most of the second half. It was the kind of comfortable win that has been few and far between this season.
A few numbers jumped out at me. 102: The Bucks met, and this time surpassed, the century mark for the second consecutive game. It's practically uncharted territory. 24: The Bucks tallied 24 assists on 39 baskets, a driving force behind 50.6 percent shooting from the field. 12 and 11: Keyon Dooling posted his first double-double since the 2008-09 season as a member of the New Jersey Nets. That game also came in Cleveland. Dooling's assist-to-turnover ratio improved to 3.1-to-1 following tonight's contest.
Milwaukee also got good efforts from Bogut (23 points on 11-of-14 shooting), Corey Maggette (20 points on just 12 shots) and, of course, Delfino, whose much-anticipated return netted nine points and five rebounds in 21 wonderful minutes. I can't help but smile knowing that the Bucks have Delfino back in the lineup.
You know what would be really awesome, though? A three-game winning streak. The Bucks have a pair of three-game winning streaks under their belt this season, but a third won't be frowned up. As a matter of fact, it's encouraged. I think it'd be great to continue to build momentum with a win over Memphis and then carry that momentum into Chicago for a big contest against the Bulls. A sweep of the Bears and Bulls will make this unbearably cold weather much easier to tolerate.
Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.