Grading the 2013 Draft Grades
Right now, no one knows who the Bucks will pick in the draft. In a few weeks (the draft takes place on June 23), after the Bucks pick someone, no one will know whether that player is going to be good.
Nonetheless, this is the season for mock drafts and then draft grades. People enjoy these things.
Now, this story may strike you as an excuse to talk about Giannis. It is that. It is also interesting to look back at what writers thought about the Giannis pick at the time. Generally speaking, there was a lot of talk about upside, and most erred on the side of commending the Bucks for taking a chance on that upside.
As you may recall, the Bucks picked Giannis at #15 and Nate Wolters at #38. Here was the top-15 (full draft here):
- Anthony Bennett
- Victor Oladipo
- Otto Porter
- Cody Zeller
- Alex Len
- Nerlens Noel
- Ben McLemore
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Trey Burke
- C.J. McCollum
- Michael Carter-Williams
- Steven Adams
- Kelly Olynyk
- Shabazz Muhammad
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
“The Bucks secured the international prospect carrying the highest upside in the Greek 18-year-old. Although Adetokunbo needs to add muscle and iron out the rough edges, he brings natural guard skills to the table at 6-foot-10 that will only ameliorate with basketball experience. He has an intriguing size/length/athleticism combination to use as a platform for his eclectic game to explode. The Hawks apparently had a promise with him at No. 17.
Nate Wolters has an incredible feel for spacing on offense and he has a penchant for manipulating defenders like chess pieces. If he can hold his own defending the perimeter, we could be looking at another Jeff Hornacek -- two inches taller, but minus the aesthetically pleasing shooting form.”
Spot-on with regard to Giannis. Nate Wolters is not Jeff Hornacek, but that is not really the point here. Grade of grade: A-
“The youngest player in the draft has tremendous potential. But there's not a lot known about him. Antetokounmpo may stay in Greece, as is typical for Greek players, for a few years. He has a great wingspan and is a very smooth athlete. He already has shown great handles and reminds scouts of Nicolas Batum. The Bucks could use help on the wings, but this pick is one for the future, possibly even three or four years down the road.”
That last part, about Giannis potentially staying in Greece for three or four years, was a very mainstream (and seemingly very reasonable) view at the time. Many considered Giannis years away from not only contributing, but even playing stateside at all. Update: We are “three years down the road” now, and Giannis is unquestionably the best player on the team, and probably an All-Star next season. Grade of grade: B
“The Milwaukee Bucks, even with Shane Larkin on the board, decided to go with the ultimate high-risk, high-reward selection, drafting Giannis Adetokunbo with the first post-lottery pick.
A 6'9" small forward who has reminded some of Kevin Durant in very limited doses, Adetokunbo has thrilled with his long-term potential, huge frame and monstrous hands. He dominated in a second-tier Greek league, but he wasn't exactly playing against stellar competition.
Adetokunbo isn't just months away from being ready for the NBA—he's years away.
With great ball-handling skills and a solid perimeter game, there's a shot at superstardom here. It'll just be a while before we figure out if it hits the target or not.”
I had to click 19 times to reach the Bucks grade (because Bleacher Report likes slideshows). I did not have a good time doing that. Moreover, the Timberwolves (Minnesota) preceded the Bucks (Milwaukee), which was alphabetically dubious. Anyway, the “even” in the first sentence feels crazy now, but Shane Larkin was something of a consensus Bucks pick for a time going into the draft. I am tired after all the clicking and giving up on grades.
“Antetokounmpo (who I will probably nickname “CTRL-C” at some point during his rookie season) is a massive project with very little history playing against strong competition, but one that features a fantastic NBA skill curve and impressive wingspan. He could go Scottie Pippen, he could go Thabo Sefolosha, or he could watch as the Bucks pass on picking up his team option in 2015. The range is that wide.
Wolters is a shooter whose footspeed will have to improve, but he does appear to have minutes-earning skills at this level.”
Giannis continues to remind me of Scottie Pippen, and his numbers over his first three years show tons of similarities. Well done, Kelly Dwyer.
“The mystery surrounding the player known as the “Greek freak” was one of the big stories headed into the draft. He’s an 18-year-old who played on a second-division team last season. Six months ago, few knew he was. At No. 15, he’s a gamble that could pay off big for Milwaukee down the road.”
The Bucks are infamous for taking the safe route when it comes to coaches, trades, and free agency. And yet general manager John Hammond has never been shy to go for the strange ones in the draft – going after projects like Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders.”
The nuanced approached here (breaking down the grade in three ways) is appreciated. Virtually everyone assumed that Giannis would not have an immediate impact, so you cannot lambaste the giving of that F grade, though it has proved to be far off.
“Drafted Giannis Adetokonbo and Nate Wolters. Adetokonbo is an upside pick. He’s a hard player to get a handle on, but this is about where most had him pegged, so I have nothing bad to say about this. I always like when a team goes for upside. Wolters is a great value pick in round 2. I think he’ll contribute as a rookie.”
It proved wise to go out of the way to say nothing bad about the Giannis pick. But the glowing words about Wolters suggest that Wolters brought up the overall grade to a C. This is disconcerting.
Aim high! Picking at 15 overall, the Bucks took a guy with insanely high potential based on his physical profile in Giannis Adetokunbo. A huge risk but they have the time to develop him. While it would have been great to see Ricky Ledo on the Bucks, Mike Muscala can fit in as a rotation player behind LARRY SANDERS! as a part of a now-deeper Milwaukee big man rotation.
Not sure how great it would have been to see Ricky Ledo on the Bucks (he currently plays in Puerto Rico), but he was a popular fellow among a vocal group before, during (and for a shorter time, after) the draft. It is quite great to see Giannis on the Bucks. They aimed high.
“However it happened and whatever it means, we need to mention Giannis Adetokunbo here, because he should probably be everyone’s favorite player for the next few years. For one thing, he looks like he’s 13 years old. For another, he’s built like Kevin Durant and has apparently only scratched the surface of his talent, so, hey, who knows what happens from here?
But mostly, it was his answer after a reporter asked about his family’s struggles in Greece, and what getting drafted means to them: “This moment I’m very happy. And I think in the past, make me sad. We struggled a lot in the past to have a better life, and now that I get drafted in the NBA, for sure we’re going to have a better life. And I think now my mother and my father at home, they will be very happy to see me drafted, because four years in sadness and poverty is very difficult. Maybe after four years, maybe today it’s the happiest day of their life to see me drafted, to see all that work and effort that they gave then, he work out. He worked out, a good thing.”
Seriously, that kid is just the greatest. Go Bucks.”
Pretty perfect. Sigh. Grantland.
Reminds me: Great things only come around here and there, so embrace them while they are around…