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The annual Draft Day conundrum: Need vs. Best Player Available

Who will strike fear when they become the next Deer?
Who will strike fear when they become the next Deer?
Milwaukee Bucks

This is nothing new

The dilemma is played out in the war rooms of pro sports General Managers each and every year.

Now it's John Hammond's, GM of the Milwaukee Bucks, turn to play 'Pin the tail on the donkey' and hope he morphs into Secretariat.

This Thursday, June 23rd, is the National Basketball Association's annual harvest of talent known as the NBA Draft.

You will either watch a drama unfold that puts you on the edge of your seat or be bored to tears as a steady parade of future millionaires put on the caps of their new teams as they dwarf Commissioner David Stern in the photo op.

The Draft will be televised on ESPN.

If you are a fan of the Bucks, you will want to tune in to 540 ESPN or for its annual wall-to-wall coverage of the event beginning at 6 p.m..

Guru of The Association Steve Haywood, Hall-of-Famer Tony Smith, yours truly, Matt Salmon, Mike Podoll and a cast of hundreds will pick apart the picks and give their take on the hits and misses and all things NBA.

Scheduled guests include Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Marquette's Jimmy Butler as they wait to hear their names uttered at the podium in a night filled will nervous anticipation.

With the league in the midst of a financial crisis and with a lockout looming just eight days hence, it is an exercise that feels a little bit like polishing the brass on the Titanic. But, oh well!

Even if your team is not in The Lottery, as the Bucks are again this season, you feel as if you are in The Lottery.

The NBA Draft is, simply put, a crapshoot.

It is one big, fat and juicy roll of the dice.

Sometimes you get LeBron James, sometimes you get LaRue Martin.

One can Google the latter to find out about arguably one of the monumental draft busts of all time.

Scouts pore over footage from these players until their eyes come out of their sockets.

And still an elephant with a paintbrush in his mouth may make a better choice as some of the careers unfold.

You can measure wing span, height, weight and a standing vertical leap.

But you can't measure heart. Or which guy will let the money go to his head.

In 2009, Buck point guard Brandon Jennings' stock dropped. There was talk of him being a bit of a head case.

That allowed Jennings to 'slide' all the way to the 10th selection and into the outstretched arms of Hammond.

Jennings has not been perfect. But he is certainly no head case. He has shown a lot more poise for his age in his two years on the team than some other players who came into the league after four years of college. Go figure.

In 1989, then-Head Coach Del Harris was dissuaded from taking UConn's Cliff Robinson with their Second Round pick because he was said to be 'soft.'

Harris took Vanderbilt's Frank Kornet instead. Robinson went on to a more than serviceable, 17-year career. Kornet...not so much.

Should Hammond fill a need or take the proverbial best player available?

Ideally, they'd be a matched set.

But I believe since they have finished at or near the bottom of the league in scoring in the last couple of years, they need to take a shooting guard!

You could say that the franchise is just a mirror-image of its defensive-minded Head Coach Scott Skiles.

But the fact is no one on this team has been able to score consistently from the outside, night in and night out.

The Bucks need the re-incarnation of Ricky Pierce, The Deuces.

You could wake Ricky out of a dead-sleep and he would hit one of the two jumpers he took. He'd sit for a quarter or more, get up, tie his shorts and just fire away. He was uncanny.

Naysayers will gripe that the game has changed since then, but the object is still to score more points than the other side and you do that when you have a decent jump shot.

It also works in opening up the inside game. The Bucks are blessed with a good-passing 'Big' in Andrew Bogut and a very good/potentially great point guard in Jennings.

They have to add a guy who -- when he gets a pass on the fly -- knocks down the jay. If he develops his game from three-point range, all the better.

Here are a few names to consider:

Alec Burks:

The 6-6, 193-pound guard from Colorado. The knock on him is that he is underweight. Same was said about Kevin Durant. Portland took Greg Oden instead. Disaster.

Kemba Walker:

Walker is 6-1, 184-pounds from Connecticutt. A proven winner who could score at will.

Klay Thompson:

Washington State pure shooting guard. At 6-7 and 208 pounds, he has the kind of touch that has scouts drooling.

Jimmer Fredette:

The Senior at BYU is 6-2, 196-pounds and strong. He is being compared to Mark Price and Eddie House, two very impressive shooters.

If Hammond takes one of the centers from Europe that are on the board when they select at Number 10, expect that player to end up a Houston Rocket.

The Bucks are rumored to be shopping their pick for Houston's two first-rounders (14 & 23).

We'll know more after Thursday night. Or, more to the point, a few years down the road.

It takes some time (in most cases) to fairly assess every draft in every sport.

Because of that, if you are at all like me, you won't pay attention to the silly grades given out by the sports pundits.

Too early to tell.

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