Pre-Draft Analysis

Areas Of Strength
Giannis Antetokounmpo took another “Greek Freak”-sized step this season, establishing himself as a legit Kia MVP candidate for much of the year and a top-5 talent into the future. The Milwaukee Bucks made some progress in learning how to best play off his versatility, a process that will continue as long as they stock the roster with outside shooting. Point guard Eric Bledsoe should benefit from a training camp with Milwaukee and most of the Bucks will be better off with one coach for the entire season; Mike Budenholzer takes over for Jason Kidd (fired) and Joe Prunty (interim).

Needs Work
There’s the matter of Jabari Parker, a restricted free agent whose value is hard to decipher. Is he damaged goods, a fellow whose left knee -- and its twice repaired ACL -- can’t be trusted to hold up to the NBA’s physical demands? Or is his run of bad luck over, allowing him to consistently be the 20-point scorer he was for 51 games in 2016-17? If the Bucks choose not to bring Parker back, that heightens the need for offensive help around Antetokounmpo.

Two Stats That Matter
13.3 -- Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 13.3 points per game in the restricted area, most in the last 15 years (since Shaquille O'Neal averaged 14.6 in 2002-03).

38.9 -- The Bucks allowed a league high 38.9 points per game in the restricted area. 37 percent of their opponents' shots, the highest rate in the league, came from the restricted area.

-- John Schuhmann

The Way To Go
In focusing on a Milwaukee need and in homage to Khris Middleton, we’re suggesting a pair of shooting guards with a misplaced H in their names: Zhaire Smith of Texas Tech or Khyri Thomas out of Creighton. Smith is known for his versatility but is a project offensively, especially as a shooter. Thomas is said to have a pretty shooting stroke but has to overcome the stigma of being a senior -- which worked out fine for the Bucks with 2017 Kia Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon.

2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 107.8 (7th)
Defensive: 107.1 (17th)

Under Contract 
G: Malcolm Brogdon
G: Matthew Dellavedova
G: Eric Bledsoe
G: Tony Snell
G: Sterling Brown
G: Brandon Jennings
F: Khris Middleton
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo
F: D.J. Wilson
C: John Henson
C/F: Thon Maker
C: Tyler Zeller

Free Agents 
G: Xavier Munford (restricted)
G: Jason Terry (unrestricted)
F: Jabari Parker (restricted)
F: Shabazz Muhammad (player option)
C: Marshall Plumlee (restricted)

Recent Draft History
2017: D.J. Wilson (17); Sindarius Thornwell (48)
2016: Thon Maker (10); Malcolm Brogdon (36); Patrick McCaw (38), traded to Golden State
2015: Rashad Vaughn (17); Norman Powell (46), traded to Toronto
2014: Jabari Parker (2); Damien Inglis (31); Johnny O'Bryant (36); Lamar Patterson (48)
2013: Giannis Antetokounmpo (15); Ricky Ledo (43)

-- Steve Aschburner


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