There was a time when the Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the NBA in discovering second-round draft gems.
From 2000 until 2008, the Bucks’ scouting department did an amazing job of hitting on their second-rounders. In 2000, they took Michael Redd, who blossomed into an All-Star and United States Olympian. In 2002, the Bucks drafted Dan Gadzuric, who played eight seasons for the Bucks (he was a full-time starter in 2004-05) and enjoyed a solid 11-year pro career. In 2003, Keith Bogans was the Bucks’ second-rounder and he wound up having a nice 13-year pro career.
Then, in three of the next four years, the Bucks again struck gold with their second-round choices. Ersan Ilaysova, Ramon Sessions and Luc Mbah a Moute all became starters in their careers and all are still in the Association.
Since then, the Bucks haven’t come close to duplicating that type of success with their second-round sections. Since 2009, the Bucks have had 12 second-round picks: Jodie Meeks, Darington Hobson, Jerome Jordan, Tiny Gallon, Jon Leuer, Doron Lamb, Ricky Ledo, Damien Inglis, Johnny O’Bryant, Lamar Patterson, Norman Powell and Malcolm Brogdon.
Meeks was easily the best of the group, but spent only one season with the Bucks and has been with three other teams since. The next-best were probably O’Bryant, who been primarily an off-the-bench player, and Leuer who, after one season in Milwaukee, has played with three others teams as a mostly a reserve. Inglis is on the team, although nobody would know it. The other second-rounders — Hobson, Jordan, Gallon, Lamb, Ledo, Patterson and Powell (who was quickly traded to Toronto) — were wasted picks.
Which brings us to Brogdon. Perhaps he will end an eight-year drought in which a Bucks’ second-round pick is a significant contributor. Certainly the Bucks think highly of the former University of Virginia standout.
Sources said the Bucks had every intention of dumping both of their second-round picks in the recent NBA draft. They did unload the second of their two second-rounders – No. 38 – in a trade for cash with Golden State.
But the Bucks opted to retain their first second-rounder – No. 36 – because of Brogdon, who last season becae Virginia’s first consensus All-American since Ralph Sampson in 1983.
Brogdon has a nice all-around game and he does something the vast majority of players on the Bucks’ current roster don’t do: He plays top-notch defense. . Brogdon was the first player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
An NBA Western Conference scout who I talked to late in the college basketball season was so impressed with Brogdon then that he considered the 6-foot-6 shooting guard as a middle-first round candidate.
Brogdon made a marked impression on many other basketball officials as well. He was one of just five college players chosen to the 25-member 2016 USA Men’s Select Team. The others are former Duke forward Brandon Ingram, who was taken second in the draft by the Los Angeles Lakers; point guard Kris Dunn, formerly of Providence College and the No. 5 selection of the Minnesota Timberwolves; former Michigan State standout Denzel Valentine, who was chosen by the Chicago Bulls with the 14th pick, and former North Carolina big man Brice Johnson, taken with the 25th pick by the Los Angeles Clippers,
The Select Team also includes some of the NBA’s brightest young players like Portland’s CJ McCollum, Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, Miami’s Justice Winslow, Indiana’s Myles Turner and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker.
Suffice to say, you don’t get selected to this elite team unless you have game. Brogdon, by all accounts, does.
Not getting their money’s worth?
The Bucks’ decision to trade the second of their two second-round picks for cash was hardly surprising. What was somewhat surprising, though, is the amount they received for the upper second-round pick.
The Bucks sold that pick – No. 38 — to the Golden State Warriors, who then selected shooting guard Patrick McCaw of Nevada-Las Vegas, for $2.4 million. The Bucks could have received as much as $3.4 million from the Warriors.
Interestingly, the $2.4 million the Bucks collected from Golden State was virtually the same amount the Atlanta Hawks received from the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 54th pick – 18 picks after the Bucks’ one. The Cavs used the pick to select diminutive point guard Kay Felder.