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2009 NBA Draft: Five Guys the Milwaukee Bucks Are Targeting

(Above: That's the usual reaction in Milwaukee these days.) Let's face it: Until he's traded or released, injury or not, Michael Redd is and will continue to be the face of this franchise. With that said, this club still has a lot of work to do. Sure, they remained competitive despite key injuries to Redd, Andrew Bogut, and even saw Luke Ridnour miss some time. But were they 10 games better with those guys? Probably not. If Bogut can get it together, stay healthy, and actually play like a No. 1 pick, then the Bucks may have no worries at center. However, with the expiring contracts of Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee is faced with losing one or both of their two young talents. Losing either one would create holes in their depth and possibly their starting line-up, so making the most out of this June's draft, as well as free agency, is key. Before we even touch the draft, three things need to be addressed: First, is Michael Redd the right guy in Scott Skiles' system, and does he stay for good? Defensively, and arguably offensively, that doesn't look to be the case. Whether Milwaukee fans want to hear it or not, a trade could be in the works. The only problem for that on Milwaukee's side is Redd is coming off of major knee surgery, and isn't a sure thing for them, let alone another team. Secondly, which of two young potential-ridden talents—Sessions or Villaneuva—does Milwaukee invest in and sign to a long-term deal? Just on tape alone, Sessions appears to be a bit too inconsistent to be a full-time starter, and offers maybe a slight increase over Luke Ridnour as the guy that could run their offense. With that in mind, it's likely the Bucks let him go if he asks for a ton of money. Villanueva had a great showing this past season, and displayed his versatility, as well as his ability to take over games at times. A lot of teams will be after him, and the Bucks may not deem him valuable enough to spend big money on. The third issue is their overall depth. How long can this team stay competitive—or hope to reach a competitive level—if their bench is full of guys who shouldn't even be playing more than 10 minutes a game? These questions can't all be answered with the 10th overall pick in this year's draft, but it's arguable that the Bucks (if they make the right pick) could land a stud that could aim things in the right direction. Here's five guys they are likely targeting with their selection: 1. Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis Evans is a phenomenal athlete that shoots well, and is extremely fluid both in the fast-break and in half-court sets. He has tremendous versatility and athleticism, that could potentially allow him to replace Michael Redd, slide over to small forward, or even attempt to run the point. If the Bucks aren't sold on Sessions or Ridnour, they could try him at point guard, but the most likely scenario is Evans coming in to take Redd's spot, or at least be a sixth man off the bench in his first year. Obviously this would shake up the entire roster. If Redd's spot is gone or challenged, that would either mean he's saying goodbye to Milwaukee, or Richard Jefferson is. This also could set the wheels in motion for a Joe Alexander departure. 2. Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse Milwaukee has been battling with the disease that is mediocrity at point guard ever since Sam Cassell left town. Mo Williams was solid for a few years, but wasn't worth the money Cleveland was willing to pay him. He's an outstanding starter and role player, but not necessarily a franchise point guard. Flynn, on the other hand, could be just that. His speed and athleticism is reminiscent of T.J. Ford, though he's much stronger and aggressive that Ford ever was. He's also better at creating for himself, and extremely effective at getting to the rim. Skiles needs a point guard who can effectively lead his offense while defending opposing point guards with ease. Flynn may not have ideal size, but he has all the other tools needed to be a superstar in the NBA. 3. Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona Back to the Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson debate. I don't mean to get all "whitey" on Milwaukee fans, but it's not insane to think that in the near future, they could be looking at a team with four white starters. Crazy, I know, but if the Bucks selected the athletic and versatile Budinger, they could opt to trade both Redd and Jefferson, while promoting Joe Alexander to the starting lineup as the small forward. Unlikely, but depending on who is available, Budinger may be the most tempting choice. 4. Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina The consensus here is the Bucks will likely go with a stud point guard, or they'll hit their inside game, hard. The only problem is, after Blake Griffin, Jordan Hill, and Hasheem Thabeet, there isn't much value in the big men in this draft. Nabbing Lawson would give them a proven leader and winner, as well as an athletic point guard who can shoot and defend. Lawson is another point guard who is hindered by less-than-ideal size, but has almost no knocks in the rest of his game. 5. Earl Clark, SF/PF, Louisville Clark is an exceptional talent that has great size and athleticism, and brings a ton of versatility to the table. He could potentially bang inside, or can easily run with the NBA's best small forwards, while having a good size advantage. Clark posted modest numbers at Louisville, but the game tape doesn't lie. The kid can play. Drafting Clark would ensure either Richard Jefferson or Charlie "V" will be gone. Other Possible Candidates If Milwaukee doesn't like where they are with the 10th pick, they could opt to trade down, possibly shipping Redd, Ridnour, Jefferson, or even Alexander somewhere else, while still getting a quality player in the 15-20 spot-range. If this happens, it wouldn't be unrealistic for them to grab Tyler Hansbrough, or even DeJuan Blair. Again, this all depends on how committed they are to being a true defensive-minded team, and if they feel they're set in their backcourt. Another possible candidate could be Ohio State's B.J. Mullens. Mullens had a ton of hype just a year ago, and was mentioned as a top-five pick on many mock drafts. While that's unlikely to happen after a very weak freshman year, he still has a ton of potential, and could end up being a lottery pick. Whether or not they keep their current pick, Milwaukee will undoubtedly at least consider Mullens, as either a developmental project behind Bogut, or even as a potential replacement. Eric Maynor, Gerald Henderson, and Jeff Teague are three other guys the Bucks will strongly consider, depending on who's left after the first nine picks. Ultimately, the Bucks need to decide what is more important: Getting your own Deron Williams, or adding depth to your wings. If they think Mullens can become the player he has been hyped up to be, he could also factor into the equation. All thoughts, comments, and suggestions are welcome. This, and more NBA articles can be found at www.robertsroundballreport.com

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