clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2013 Milwaukee Bucks roster: A mashup of talent

The Milwaukee Bucks have nice role players but whether they will find an identity with a revamped roster is the biggest wonder.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Finding out who the Milwaukee Bucks are could take some time in 2013-14. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are gone, leaving Larry Sanders to pick up the pieces with a new head coach and a new supporting cast around him. Larry Drew, who joins Milwaukee after leading the Atlanta Hawks for the past three years, has an interesting roster built for a playoff push, yet it might not get to the postseason unless some of the young Bucks grow.

Milwaukee's roster is an odd mashup, where the pieces could look nice in certain situations. In this one, it's unclear how well they'll do together.

Projected starters

Larry Sanders -- Not only did Sanders sign a contract extension this summer, but the mass exodus of the Bucks' best perimeter players firmly made him the face of a very different-looking franchise. Sanders should again be one of the NBA's best interior defenders on a team that will need to rely on defense if it hopes to make the playoffs. He will also be a solid pick-and-roll man. If he can give anything more than that, it'll be icing on the cake.

O.J. Mayo -- The shooting guard proved that he could be an 18-point-per-game scorer prior to the All-Star break last season when he was with the Dallas Mavericks. Now, he'll have to carry a load for an entire season. Mayo will act as go-to scorer as well as playmaker, but he'll need to be able to score off the ball with young point guard Brandon Knight being capable of dominating it.

Brandon Knight -- Drew's most important task during his first season in Milwaukee could be building confidence in his young point guard. Knight didn't take any big steps forward in his second season with Detroit, but new scenery might help him grow. What is he? At this point, he's an inefficient scorer and a decent-enough passer who could find a lot of success on the Bucks with drive-and-kick action to some talented shooters.

Ersan Ilyasova -- The Turkish forward quietly shot 44 percent from three-point range last season and gives Milwaukee the spacing for big men like Sanders or Zaza Pachulia to operate in the post. Or, he opens up the floor for Knight and Mayo to drive to the hoop. Ilyasova is a good enough rebounder to play as a slightly undersized power forward.

Caron Butler -- Butler's best days are behind him, but the Racine, Wisc., native joins Milwaukee as a player who could take the defensive assignment on the opponent's best perimeter player. That defense could take some wear off Mayo to help the shooting guard keep his legs fresh for the offensive end. Offensively, Butler is another adequate three-point shooter and good for 10 points per game.

Rotation players

Zaza Pachulia -- If Sanders finds himself in foul trouble -- he's battled that in the past -- then the Bucks have Pachulia behind him. Though he's not a shot-blocker, he is a defensive presence in the paint because of his bulk. Sheer beef was something the Bucks were missing last season.

John Henson -- If Ilyasova isn't careful, he could end up coming off the bench behind Henson. But Ilyasova might not have much of a say because the second-year pro's summer league was enough to pencil him in for a lot more minutes this season. If the slim power forward has bulked up, he'll be able to play more with the likewise skinny Sanders in the paint, giving the Bucks a long, limber duo inside.

Carlos Delfino -- Where Butler gives Milwaukee a smart defensive presence at small forward, Delfino can bring a gunslinger's mentality. The far-from-shy shooter could end up playing a lot of minutes no matter if he starts or not. If it's off the bench, there's a good chance he's the best scorer on the Bucks' second unit. However, he suffered a setback in his broken foot and may not play for a while.

Gary Neal -- Delfino isn't the only trigger-happy player who could be coming off Milwaukee's bench. Neal, the former San Antonio Spurs guard, will also give the Bucks a shot off the pine at either the shooting guard or point guard slots.

Luke Ridnour -- As the team's best facilitator, Ridnour could be especially important on a roster without one player who will grab a whole lot of defensive attention. Ridnour will be tasked with creating opportunities for others and might play a good deal behind or in tandem with the young Knight.

Ekpe Udoh -- His minutes will be hard to come by with Ilyasova and Henson developing into a fine duo at power forward, but Udoh could find time at either the 4 or the 5 in 2013-14.  Perhaps his upside is limited at this point, but Udoh is still a very good shot-blocker.

Deep on the bench

Giannis Antetokounmpo -- It's unlikely the raw rookie from Greece sees much playing time at just 19 years old and without high-level professional experience.

Nate Wolters -- If there are injuries in the backcourt, Wolters might have a shot at earning some minutes. The rookie out of South Dakota State is a knockdown jump shooter and savvy for his age.

Khris Middleton -- Middleton has experience but as a throw-in to the trade that swapped Brandon Jennings for Knight, he probably won't be ahead of Defino or Butler on the depth chart.

Miroslav Raduljica -- An experienced center from Serbia, Raduljica is insurance behind Sanders and Pachulia.

Head coach

Larry Drew -- Drew's first season in Milwaukee doesn't have a lot of definitives. What is does have is a roster that could be desperately trying to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, and a lot of it is pending on the development of some youngsters. The Bucks have the fixings to be decent defensively and with enough shooting to stay competitive, but Drew will need to build an identity that can win without much firepower.

More from SB Nation NBA:

Flannery: Pacers patiently building a winner | Indy Cornrows

The Hook: Why Durant is more effective than LeBron

Kobe gets "green light" to get into shape

Are Pistons playoff bound? | Flannery: Crazier things have worked

Today's NBA headlines from around the league