While almost tempted to move the Bucks up a few slots to start the rankings, due to their rash of injuries this past season , it is clear the team is devoid of talent throughout the roster. Plus, Milwaukee is in transition with long-time owner Herb Kohl selling to a group of investors led by Marc Lasry and Wes Edens.
Milwaukee, which had 16 different players start a game, were expected to challenge for a playoff spot this past season. However, with injuries to Larry Sanders (right thumb), Zaza Pachulia (right foot fracture) along with Carlos Delfino ( right foot) put a damper on the Bucks playoff hopes. Plus, Sanders, Pachulia, Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo were major disappointments last season. The Bucks finished 28th in the league in scoring, 25th in scoring defense and 24th in rebounding.
There is some good news. The Bucks have four draft picks – No.2, 31, 36 and 48, along with about $12 million in cap space – the No. 2 overall election is slotted at $4.1 million -- and a $3.25 million trade exception (Gary Neal).
Milwaukee currently has 12 players under contract with only two players over the age of 30 (Pachulia and Delfino). Ekpe Udoh, who likely won’t be re-signed , is a restricted free agent while Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien are unrestricted free agents.
Khris Middleton, who is the only Buck to play all 82 games, and Chris Wright have a non-guaranteed contract worth $915,243 each. Middleton, who is an undersized power forward, was second on the team in scoring and led the team in three-point shooting. Middleton should be kept around due to his versatility but will likely see a dramatic decrease in playing time.
Wright, 25, has the ability to provide scoring off the bench so at such a low salary could be a keeper as the 12th man on the bench or let him develop a little more in the D-League – while keeping on the roster. The athletic forward is a volume scorer who needs to improve his free throw shooting and develop more range on his jumper.
Wright, who impressed head coach Larry Drew with his defensive work during his short stint with the club (eight games), will join in the Bucks' summer league program. If he impresses the team during the summer, he could earn an invitation to training camp.
Head coach: Larry Drew went 15-67 in his first season with the Bucks. He has a career record of 143-169 and 10-14 in three playoff appearances.
Antetokounmpo, 19, has superstar potential. While he still has a lot to work on, he had several quality games – at the beginning of the season before running into the preverbal wall --- and produced two double-doubles. He also showed promise on the defensive end
Henson is very energetic and improved tremendously in year two. He averaged 11.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game in just 26.5 minutes of action. The Bucks are loaded in the frontcourt and could move the talented big-man for another lottery pick.
Knight: Knight had a terrific season as he led the team in points and assists per game. However, the question is can he be a starting point guard? The 6-foot-3, 22-year old has improved every year but still has a sub-2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and doesn’t shoot the ball extremely well. However, he got to the rim (a ton) 444 times and made 51.8 percent of those attempts – meaning he needs to improve as a finisher as well as develop a mid-range game.
Wolters: Wolters is expected to play a key role in the Bucks rebuilding project. The 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 7.2 points, 3.2 assists and 1.0 turnover. However, he struggled shooting from the field (43.7 percent) and beyond the arc (29 percent).
Free agents who will possibly return: Adrien
Needs: SF, SG, PG. Depth at all positions – focusing on perimeter shooting and perimeter defense.
The Bucks need to get another 1st-round selection and will probably deal two of their three second round selectionto get a late top-30 selection. However, rumors are teams are interested in Larry Sanders and thus perhaps the Bucks can parlay him or Henson along with Knight into another lottery pick.
Milwaukee should take Andrew Wiggins at No. 2 or trade down due to their overload in the frontcourt. If the Bucks trade Knight they will need a point guard -- meaning Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton or Tyler Ennis could be in play later in the draft. Australia phenom Dante Exum is an intriguing prospect for the Bucks but not at No. 2. Milwaukee may be better off trying to move Knight to the off-guard position rather than giving up on him.