The next stop in the SB Nation 2011 NBA Mock Draft is the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the No. 10 pick. Dan Sinclair of SB Nation's Bucks blog Brew Hoop explains his selection of Colorado guard Alec Burks.
Bucks fans could be forgiven for lacking the same optimism they showed this time last summer. Instead of celebrating another trip to the playoffs and dreaming of what new piece would be added to the evolving puzzle, the Bucks are picking up the pieces (and body parts) following an injury-riddled campaign that was a step backwards from their surprising 2010 season. Despite again ranking as one of the top defensive teams in the NBA, the offense was downright atrocious, and Milwaukee just couldn't score effectively enough to win games.
In theory, Milwaukee is set at the point guard and center positions, but there isn't a player currently on the roster who would qualify as a "star." As such, the classic "best player available" approach would seem to make sense for the Bucks, but there are mitigating factors. Milwaukee is desperate for shot-makers, but are they willing to use a high pick on a potentially single-faceted shooter? Can they afford to draft a high-upside player whose skills overlap those currently prevalent on the team and might not be really useful for a year or two? Too often, especially this year, we hear about the lack of star power available in the draft, but the Bucks simply have to find an effective player. It can be done, and there is really nothing wrong, this year, with "just" finding a productive, capable rotation player.
In light of these questions, and our tentative answers, Alec Burks of Colorado makes a great deal of sense for the Bucks. Burks is a smooth, athletic guard with highly-regarded ball-handling skills, something that would fit well with coach Scott Skiles' propensity to use multiple ball-handler lineups. He excels at attacking the rim, finishing well and drawing fouls at a high rate, something Corey Maggette was intended but ultimately not allowed to do very often. It's unlikely Burks replicates Maggette in that department immediately, but thankfully he's also shown the ability to both score in volume while also keeping his teammates involved. While Burks' jumper isn't exactly consistent, he's shown excellent touch at the line and most scouts insist his form is very workable. And frankly, the Milwaukee offense could stand to shift away from jump-shooting a bit. In the short term it's unlikely Burks would wrest significant playing time away from John Salmons, who remained entrenched despite his struggles last season, but the two actually bear a significant resemblance, and Burks could benefit from playing behind the veteran early on.
Though Burks has been considered the favorite at #10 for weeks, it should also be noted that the Bucks appear increasingly open to a number of other options. The sharpshooting Klay Thompson and the quick-rising Marshon Brooks are also on the Bucks' radar, while the raw explosiveness of Jan Vesely, inside-out game of Marcus Morris, and interior presence of Tristan Thompson could also be tempting to John Hammond and company.
Follow this StoryStream to see our entire SB Nation mock draft play out over the next couple days. The No. 11 pick from Golden State Of Mind will be live Tuesday morning. See our 2011 NBA Draft hub for full coverage.