Draft Nights

by Alex Boeder
Bucks.com Writer

Two weeks until the day, NBA Draft people of the world.

Consider this a quick look back. Because looking forward is the right direction right now.

Of the 15 players below who finished the 2013-14 season on the team, exactly six were originally drafted by the Bucks: Henson, Sanders, Antetokounmpo, Ilyasova, Wolters, Sessions. Based on where they were selected, each of the six was a nice value choice.

Now for some draft history, with a fun draft class fact for each.

O.J. Mayo – #3 overall – 2008

As rookies, Mayo (18.5 points per game) actually outscored Kevin Love (11.1) by quite a bit.

Mayo was in the middle of a top five that also included Derrick Rose (#1), Michael Beasley (#2), Russell Westbrook (#4), and Love (#5). Mayo was picked by the Timberwolves at #3 and then traded to the Grizzlies along with Greg Buckner, Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker in exchange for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

Ekpe Udoh – #6 overall – 2010

Ekpe Udoh

Udoh became the first Baylor Bear to be drafted since Brian Skinner back in 1999. Skinner went on to play three separate one-season stints with the Bucks.

After just one draft pick from Baylor in the first 12 years of the 2000s, the school managed to produce three (including multiple Quincys) in the 2012 draft alone: Perry Jones (#28), Quincy Acy (#37), Quincy Miller (#38).

Brandon Knight – #8 overall – 2011

Brandon Knight

Knight and Kemba Walker (#9 overall in 2011) posted incredibly similar stats this past season.
Seriously, I am not sure any two players could have been more similar. (It should be noted that Knight is roughly a year and a half younger than Walker.)

John Henson – #14 overall – 2012

John Henson

Henson was the third of four players who played for North Carolina to be drafted in the top 17 of the 2012 draft.

The jury is still out to crown the best of the four, but you can make a case for Henson (#14) being ahead of Harrison Barnes (#7), Kendall Marshall (#13) and Tyler Zeller (#17).

Larry Sanders – #15 overall – 2010

Larry Sanders

Often forgotten: The Bucks had this #15 pick only because they acquired it from the Bulls in the trade that fetched the team John Salmons for the Fear The Deer run.

The Bulls received from the Bucks what turned out to be the #17 pick in the same draft, and they drafted Kevin Seraphin. (This worked out well for the Bucks.)

Giannis Antetokounmpo – #15 overall – 2013

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Considered by nearly everyone to not be ready to contribute as a rookie, Antetokounmpo scored more points than four of the top six draft picks… combined.

That would be Anthony Bennett (#1), Otto Porter (#3), Alex Len (#5) and Nerlens Noel (#6).

Carlos Delfino – #25 overall – 2003

Carlos Delfino

Prior to 2003, this draft pick had been traded as a future draft pick five times.

The future draft pick trading dated all the way back to 1997 as part of a deal built around Jerry Stackhouse. Details in the transaction history of this page.

Ersan Ilyasova – #36 overall – 2005

Ersan Ilyasova

Ilyasova is the only player from the 2005 draft that remains on the same team by which he was drafted.

Even Turkish Thunder played on a different team for a short time, but the Bucks are his only NBA club. After his rookie season, he played two seasons in Spain with powerhouse FC Barcelona. He also signed with Anadolu Efes in Turkey during the 2011 lockout. Just four other players from that 2006-07 Bucks team from Ilyasova’s rookie season are likely to even be in the NBA next season (Mo Williams, Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, Steve Blake).

Nate Wolters – #38 overall – 2013

Nate Wolters

Wolters ranked 10th in points per game (just ahead of Giannis) and fourth in assists per game among all rookies… not just second rounders.

He also ranked ninth in PER among all rookies (ahead of guys like #9 Trey Burke, #12 Steven Adams and #15 Giannis), so this was not just a matter of Wolters getting minutes and netting higher per-game averages.

Khris Middleton – #39 overall – 2012

Khris Middleton

Middleton leads the draft class in three-point percentage (.400), just ahead of #3 Bradley Beal, #42 Doron Lamb and #6 Damian Lillard.

He is also the leading scorer from the second round of the 2012 draft. In fact, he ranks seventh overall in the draft class in points per game, and sits ahead of four top-10 picks (#7 Harrison Barnes, #8 Terrence Ross, #2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, #5 Thomas Robinson).

Zaza Pachulia – #42 overall – 2003

Zaza Pachulia

The #41, #42 and #43 overall picks have played more combined games than the #8, #9, #10 and #11 overall picks from this famed draft.

That is: Willie Green, Zaza Pachulia, and Keith Bogans (2092 games combined), compared to T.J. Ford, Mike Sweetney, Jarvis Hayes and Mickael Pietrus (1646 games combined).

Ramon Sessions – #56 overall – 2007

Ramon Sessions

The two players drafted directly in front of Sessions (Brad Newley and Herbert Hill) and behind Sessions (Sammy Mejia and Giorgos Printezis) never played a single game in the NBA.

Sessions has played 467 games.

Jeff Adrien – Undrafted – 2009

Jeff Adrien

While Adrien went undrafted in 2009, his former frontcourt teammate at Connecticut went #2 overall in the draft.

His former frontcourt teammate at Connecticut was Hasheem Thabeet. Adrien scored more than 10 times as many points as Thabeet this past season.

Miroslav Raduljica – Undrafted – 2010

Miroslav Raduljica

The Bucks now have three forwards/centers from the 2010 draft.

They are: Ekpe Udoh (#6), Larry Sanders (#15) and Raduljica.

Chris Wright – Undrafted – 2011

Chris Wright

Wright is shooting 55.0 percent from the field in his NBA career, in 32 games.

Kenneth Faried (#22) leads all 2011 draftees shooting 55.4 percent from the field, in 206 games. Which is to say, Wright has a long way to go, but carrying a 17.7 PER in 312 minutes is a reasonably encouraging start.


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