Kelly Olynyk, No. 15 (Mock Draft)
The Bucks take a First-Team All-American big from Gonzaga.
by Danny Hazan / @DeeHaze24
I’ll tell any basketball junkie who will listen that NBA League Pass is the best 170 bucks I spend every year. Even when they raised the price to the highest it had ever been during the lockout season—which made complete sense to me at the time—I happily paid my cable company for the service that also included a League Pass Broadband account on NBA.com.
Unlimited access to every NBA game that isn’t televised nationally, or exclusively in your local market, allows one to see teams and players they normally wouldn’t as much as one would want—should they not be married and/or with a significant other who puts a limits on sports intake.
Luckily, or sadly (depending on the day), I’ve had free reign to watch as much NBA as I could tolerate the last couple years. Further evidence of this: I’ve seen plenty of Bucks games during that time.
If you catch Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings on the right night, they appear to be among the most electric combo guards in the League. Another night, they might seem like the dude at the park or the gym with no game but insists on continuing to force/take poor shots. Power forward Ersan Ilyasova has played like a matchup nightmare with his ability to stretch the floor shooting the rock, but also has nights that makes fans wonder if they could get paid close to 8-mil a year for doing nothing on the court too.
Larry Sanders and John Henson have both had intriguing stretches showcasing how disruptive they can be as shot blockers and rebounders on both ends, but much like everyone on Milwaukee’s roster, they haven’t been able to remain consistent.
It all added up to a 38-44 regular-season record, and a swift exit from the Playoffs at the hands of the Heat. Milwaukee has since brought in Larry Drew to take over as coach, but questions remain with the immediate future of Ellis and Jennings.
Ellis and Ish Smith are the only guards who can handle the rock currently under contract, so logic would point to taking a point guard here. But with four already off the board, and German wildcard Dennis Schroeder available for the taking, I am cautious of taking a guy who will most likely take plenty of lumps as he transitions into the League and that position given his age and playing background.
So without further ado:
With the 15 pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select…
Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga.
The 7-footer was a primary reason the Zags were ranked the top team in the country by the end of the regular season as he was on basically every First-Team All-American team, and one of the final five players in the running for the Wooden Award. He averaged 17.8 points per game, 7.3 boards, 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocks.
To top it off, he was voted the scholar athlete of the year by athletic directors and a First-Team Academic All-American. Forgoing his senior year of college to enter the Draft is another sign of his impressive intelligence, as he seems to be a no-brainer first-round pick.
Besides Sanders and Henson, the Bucks also have Ekpe Udoh, Drew Gooden, Gustavo Ayon and Luc Mbah a Moute under contract for next season, so a big isn’t necessarily the Bucks’ most pressing need.
But they’re in a take-the-best-available situation and Olynyk certainly fits that bill because of his ability to knock down shots with consistency out to 15 feet, rebound and screen. His passing ability is arguably the best among post prospects. His presence offensively will make the Bucks much more versatile down low than they would be without him.
Defense will probably be his biggest issue teams have in evaluating him, but with guys like Sanders and Henson perhaps he won’t be exploited as much. Depending on how well, or poorly, his foot speed translates defensively; he may be able to play the 4 or 5, enabling Drew to be more flexible with his rotations.
Wings like Allen Crabbe and Jamal Franklin would also fit well with the team and can contribute immediately as shot-makers from the perimeter. It seems as if there are a lot more 2-guards and small forwards in the Draft who have a chance at carving out nice careers than posts, so Olynyk seems like the least risk of a bust here as well.
If the Bucks’ front office is convinced they won’t be re-signing Redick or Jennings, the likelihood of drafting a guard will rise.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|