SLAMonline Mock Draft: Paul George, No. 15
Creating a young and exciting backcourt.
by Adam Fleischer
My name is John Hammond, and I’m the man.
That’s just a reminder in case you forgot. But here’s an extended one: The Milwaukee Bucks were dealing with constant injuries and mediocrity over the last few years. Things were getting bad. There had been no Playoffs since 2006, and we hadn’t made it out of the First Round since the ‘00-01 campaign. Ah, the days of Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson, Sam Cassell, and the Ervin Johnson without the “a.” But I digress. I came aboard in 2008 with the goal of bringing the Bucks back to the championship level that the franchise hadn’t seen in decades, and things finally started to come together last year.
We took Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft. OK, fine, he fell in to our lap. Still, there were plenty of other teams that passed on him despite needing a point guard, including one whose city is often referred to as a large fruit. But we knew better than to let the uninformed opinions of others sway us, so we took the speedy Compton native. He was the spark and leader that this team needed last season and will need in the future.
I’ll admit that the way I used my previous lottery pick-on the forgettable Joe Alexander-was maybe a mistake. But I took the UCLA product Luc Mbah a Moute in the second round of that same draft, and he’s turned in to a crucial part of this team and one of the backbones of our defense.
This year’s mid-season trade to acquire John Salmons also really helped us continue to build. He was a great go-to-guy late in games, and forced opposing teams’ two guards to exert energy on defense. The Jerry Stackhouse pick up wasn’t bad, either. Couple all of these things with a healthy, dominant Andrew Bogut, and you’re staring at a 46-win team that could have made it out of the First Round.
But almost doesn’t count. And Salmons may be walking. And we may be parting ways with crucial bench players like Luke Ridnour and Kurt Thomas.
All that I’ve been trying to say during these last few paragraphs of awkwardly reaching my right arm around my left shoulder and patting myself on the back is that I’ve been here for two years and we’ve made big strides towards becoming the franchise that we can and hope to be. Further strides will be made this off-season, beginning with this pick.
With the 15th pick of the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select…
Paul George from Fresno State University.
Like I said, we have a handful of needs. Bogut has shown that he is injury prone. Our big man rotation is relatively thin. We may be losing our best perimeter playee in Salmons and our best backcourt guy off the bench in Ridnour.
At this spot, and with this roster, I wanted to go with either a two, a big man, or the best available if such a player was blatantly looking back at me from my draft board. I’m comfortable saying that Paul George fills two of those criteria, in that he’s a shooting guard and, in my eyes, at this stage, the best available player.
I think he smoothly combines upside for the future with talent at this moment. George is long, athletic, and a good shooter. With Jennings getting to the cup and Bogut being a beast down low, that should open up plenty of opportunities for guys on the squad to take and hit open shots. He also has the ability to rebound from the guard spot, which is a luxury in any situation, but especially ours, considering how small Brandon is.
Which reminds me. I can’t wait to watch the two of these guys grow together for the next decade as one of the League’s best backcourts. They should compliment one another’s games beautifully. Like Jennings, Paul seems hungry and humble; ready to work but aware of his own abilities. Paul’s defense on the perimeter could use a little work, but lucky for me, him, and Bucks fans, he has the right coach and players around him to ensure that he’ll make huge strides on that end of the floor.
We’ve just taken the next step in something memorable.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|