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2024 NBA Draft: The Best Options for the Bucks at 23 and 33

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The Milwaukee Bucks have holes on their roster.

The good news, though, is that the Bucks’ issues can be partially filled in the upcoming NBA Draft. While there isn’t likely a ton of minutes available on paper currently, the Bucks need an infusion of youth and energy. Needs were made clear during another early postseason exit.

The Bucks entered last year as the oldest team in the NBA. The Bucks need to trust their young players more, play them and allow them to grow into roles.

Some needs for the Bucks: More long, athletic 3-and-D wings, a mobile big and a backup playmaker behind Damian Lillard. The overall NBA Draft class is rumored to be a bit weak, but there are some potential strong fits in this class with the Bucks’ needs. Who are some potential draft targets for the Bucks if they keep their selections?

Let’s dive in.

Top Bucks draft fits at No. 23

Kel’el Ware: If Kel’el Ware is still on the board, the Bucks should run the ticket up to the podium.

Ware is a mobile, long, lob-catching modern big man, who can shoot. Ware measured in with a 9-foot-4.5 standing reach and is nearly seven feet tall without shoes and possessed a 7-foot-5 wingspan at the NBA Draft Combine. The big man averaged nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game this season at Indiana.

Ware can also shoot the ball a bit as he showed in his sophomore campaign. He shot 42.5% from 3 on 1.3 attempts per game. Throw in over a block per contest and Ware would be a perfect replacement for Brook Lopez, who turns 37 this season.

Bobi Klintman: Klintman has all the tools defensively and the Bucks need long, athletic defenders.

Klintman is 6-foot-9 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and an 8-foot-10.5 standing reach. The Sweden native could be a Swiss-Army knife. He played professionally in Australia this past year and averaged nearly 10 points per game. With his size and foot speed, he could switch onto guards or bigs. If he can knock down shots, he would be a strong option at 23 for the Bucks. His NBA.com draft profile also notes, “if his connectivity and defensive instincts grow, an Aaron Gordon or Jalen Johnson-esque trajectory is plausible.”

Another option for Bucks

Tristan Da Silva: The Colorado wing really boosted his draft stock in the NCAA Tournament.

Da Silva showed off shooting prowess and with his length, the NBA Draft Combine could provide him an opportunity to shoot up draft boards. He is over 6-foot-8 with a wingspan over 6-foot-10. Entering his senior year, he was a borderline first-round pick— now there is a real chance he is off the board when the Bucks pick at 23. Da Silva averaged 16.0 points and 5.1 rebounds on 39.5% shooting from distance.

He shot over 37% from 3 his final three years at Colorado while averaging 1.1 steals per game.

DaRon Holmes II: Holmes II’s game is very well-suited for the NBA.

An issue, however, could be he’s kind of a tweener. The Dayton big man is 6-foot-9 but has a nice face-up game. I am not sure he’s a center, but there is no doubting Holmes’ athleticism. Holmes averaged 20.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season. He also shot 38.6% from 3. He is a fascinating prospect as much of his game fits the NBA style, but can he defend wings in space?

If he were 6-foot-11, he’d be a top-15 pick in the draft, but he measured under 6-foot-9 without shoes at the NBA Draft Combine. Holmes does have a 7-foot-1 wingspan and 9-foot standing reach. Holmes is not a top choice, but if top 3-and-D wing options are gone, Holmes would be a very nice pick. He could be a very good small-ball center and a potential athletic version of Bobby Portis with his offensive game.

Wouldn’t surprise me

Harrison Ingram: Ingram had his first strong season shooting the ball from 3 at North Carolina this season.

He is considered a nice all-around offensive player. Ingram has is 6-foot-6 but has some tools defensively that fit what the Bucks need. Ingram has a wingspan of more than seven feet. If the Bucks believe he can shoot the 3 and can be a strong defender with his length, he could be an ideal fit.

https://twitter.com/ryanhammer09/status/1798124526586433875

Wouldn’t shock me

Kyshawn George: The 6-foot-8 Switzerland native played just one year at Miami.

His freshman year, he showed good catch-and-shoot ability, hitting over 40% from 3. George averaged just 7.6 points per game in 23 minutes per contest for the Hurricanes. While his shooting is solid, George might not be a great overall offensive player. Also, I am not sure he has the defensive chops to be a great defender.

Second-round top options for Bucks

Keshad Johnson: Keshad Johnson might be the biggest riser in the draft.

When mocks were first coming out after the NCAA season, Johnson was often projected to be a late second-round pick. Now, the Bucks might be a prime target for Johnson at 33. Johnson also showed out at the NBA Combine.

From NBA.com— 8 standouts from the NBA Combine:

“Keshad Johnson popped numerous times in Chicago during scrimmages with his shooting, defensive playmaking and foot speed around the perimeter. He also tied for the highest max vertical at 42 inches, and he measured two of the biggest hands at the combine.”

He has an NBA-ready body, was in college five years and will be 23 years old by draft night. Johnson could be in the rotation Day 1 for Milwaukee. He averaged 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and shot 38.7% from 3 at Arizona after four years at San Diego State. Johnson also is 6-foot-6 but has a 6-foot-10.25 inch wingspan with ideal 3-and-D size.

Kevin McCullar Jr.: The wing did it all at Kansas. McCullar was looked at as a scorer and he was tasked with defending opponents’ top wings. McCullar is a good two-way player, averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

In NBA.com’s latest mock draft on Bleacher Report, it said of McCullar scouts buy his versatility and defense to be a good role player, though he’ll have to avoid any medical concerns. McCullar is 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan.

Other Round 2 options for Bucks

KJ Simpson: Simpson measured just 6-feet tall, but he looked the part at the Chicago combine in the scrimmages.

He also can score the ball and is very athletic. He averaged 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season for the Buffs. Simpson’s shooting ability — 43.4% from deep on nearly five 3PAs per game — and athleticism could play as a backup point guard.

The Bucks need a backup ball handler badly. Simpson did have a 40.5-inch vertical leap at the NBA Combine and despite not having the measurables, could be a strong change of pace option for the Bucks. The Bucks seem to love guys who can play from Day 1 with their second-round picks. Simpson seems like a potential fit for the Bucks in that regard.

Jalen Bridges: Bridges didn’t test as athletically as many thought he would in Chicago. His stock may have slipped a bit, but he flashed some defensive versatility at Baylor. At 6-foot-7, Bridges could be what Jae Crowder was signed for, able to defend the 3 and 4 spots. Bridges averaged 12.2 points and 5.7 rebounds and shot over 41% from 3 at Baylor this season. He also collected nearly 60 steals and blocks combined.

Others: Pacome Dadiet; Yves Missi; Tyler Smith; Ryan Dunn; Baylor Scheierman; Ajay Mitchell; Adem Bona; Ulrich Chomche; Tristen Newton; Oso Ighodaro.

Picks for Bucks could be instant contributors

Ware might not be available when the Bucks are picking at 23.

If Da Silva is available at 23, that would be a nice addition or Klintman seems to have all the tools to potentially be a Buck. With the Bucks in win-now mode, however, they will likely pass on potential for higher-floor players. In Round 2, the Bucks should have a very nice option for an NBA-ready in either Keshad Johnson or Kevin McCullar Jr.

If Ware is there, he is the guy at 23. At 33, then the Bucks can take a 3-and-D wing like Johnson or McCullar Jr. to fill two pivotal holes on the roster with young, athletic players.

About Mitchell Skurzewski

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