Exum the best match for Milwaukee
Insider's former NBA front-office members make the Bucks' pick
Continuing our new NBA Front Office franchise, Tom Penn (general manager), George Karl (head coach), Chad Ford (assistant GM), Amin Elhassan (scouting director) and Kevin Pelton (analytics director) simulate a conversation that an actual front office might have. In this edition, they take over the Milwaukee Bucks and debate who should be taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Join the conversation at #NBAFrontOffice!
Tom Penn: So now we're on Milwaukee. A couple of macro thoughts to start here: We have new owners in Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, so we are all auditioning, having no idea what they're going to do. Yet we're still charged with doing the right thing for this franchise. And a big component of their acquisition of the team is building a new arena and having a team that's interesting enough, exciting enough and built for the future enough that when the arena opens, we're good enough so we can sell tickets and suites and be competitive. That's our goal.
So as bad as we were this season, when we think about the second pick in the draft, we need someone who complements our existing talent and makes us competitive for that new arena. Now I know we all compare getting a bunch of young talent to how Oklahoma City did it, how the Thunder hit the jackpot, but that's what we've got to think about.
Having said that, with Andrew Wiggins off the board, Chad, I'll start with you: Whom do you like for us, Milwaukee, at No. 2?
Chad Ford: Well, obviously Jabari Parker is the safe pick here, and I think he makes some sense. Milwaukee struggles to score, and Jabari would establish himself almost immediately as the alpha dog on this team offensively. I like that fit. However, I don't like that he showed up at the workout at 255 pounds. And at 6-foot-8½, that causes some concern for me about his abilities to guard small forwards.
That said, I'm intrigued by Dante Exum. I could see him being the sort of player you pair with a Giannis Antetokounmpo. He's a great off-the-court citizen; he blew the Bucks away with his speed for his size and his position, and he's versatile. I think he could play the 1 or the 2. Brandon Knight is not a point guard, so this is a need pick for us. In three years, Exum and Giannis could be a Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant type of duo -- I'm not saying they'll be as good as those players, but that type of dynamic in Milwaukee. So as much as I love Jabari, my vote is for Dante Exum here.
Penn: Wow. Now that's quite a comparison. Kevin, could you talk to Coach Karl about what the numbers show as far as Parker versus Exum -- comparables, that kind of thing? And then Amin, give Coach your feel on those two guys and how they project the next couple of years.