The run-up to the NBA draft has been a bit like turning back the clock for the Milwaukee Bucks, as general manager Jon Horst and his staff had their first non-pandemic affected college (or other pro league) season to scout since 2018- 19.
Time will tell if the Bucks will use that data with the No. 24 selection in Thursday’s draft, though, as they have traded their last three first-round picks. They do not possess a second-round pick after being stripped of what would have been the No. 54 selection as a penalty for “gun jumping” on a sign-and-trade conversation with Bogdan Bogdanović in the 2020 offseason.
This is Horst’s sixth draft and he has directly picked DJ Wilson (No. 17, 2017), Donte DiVincenzo (No. 17, 2018) and Jordan Nwora (No. 45, 2020) for the Bucks. Horst has made several other selections that were part of trades to other teams, and the Bucks received second-round picks Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis from Indiana in a trade in last year’s draft.
In the bottom third of the first round it is impossible to project which players will be available, but here is a quick look at some who might be around at No. 24 (in alphabetical order):
Middle School: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Height: 6-10. Weight: 220.
About Baldwin:In an injury-shortened freshman season, the Sussex Hamilton graduate averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 34.4% from the field and 26.6% from behind the three-point line. He was measured with a 7-foot, 1¾-inch wingspan at the NBA combine.
Mar Jon Beauchamp
Pro team: Ignite (G League).
Height: 6-6. Weight: 199.
About Beauchamp: Beauchamp began last season playing for Yakima Valley College, where he averaged 30.7 points and 10.5 rebounds on 52.5% shooting, including 39.8% from behind the three-point line. With the Ignite, he averaged 15.1 points while shooting 30% from three. He was measured with a 7-foot wingspan at the combine.
Middle School: Tennessee.
Height: 6-0. Weight: 171
About Chandler: In averaging 19 points per game in his only college season, he shot 46.4% overall, 38.3% from behind the three-point line and 60% from the free-throw line. He also handed out 4.7 assists and had 2.2 steals per game. He had the combine’s top maximum vertical leap at 41½ inches. He has USA Basketball national team experience.
Pro team: Ignite (G League).
Height: 6-4. Weight: 198.
About Hardy: He averaged 21.2 points on 40% shooting for the Ignite, and he made 30% of his 8.5 three-point attempts per game. ESPN ranked him as the No. 2 recruit in the 2021 class before turning pro.
Pro team: Košarkaški klub Mega Basket or Mega Mozzart (Adriatic Basketball Association)
Height: 6-11. Weight: 209.
About Jovic: A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Jović averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and one assist in about 25 minutes per game in his first professional season in the senior league. He shot 40% from behind the three-point line and 55.2% overall. He received votes as the best international player not in the NBA by league general managers in 2021.
Middle School: Auburn.
Height: 7-1. Weight: 245.
About Kessler: After transferring out of North Carolina, Kessler broke out for the Tigers and blocked 4.6 shots per game en route to being named the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year. He was also SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He shot 60.8% from the field (but just 20% from behind the three-point line) in averaging 11.4 points. He also pulled down 8.1 rebounds per game. Made 59.8% of his free throws.
Middle School: WakeForest.
Height: 6-8. Weight: 228.
About LaRavia: Over three seasons (including two at Indiana State), LaRavia shot 37.1% from behind the three-point line and 52.4% overall. He improved his scoring average to a career-high 14.6 points last season.
Middle School: Ohio State.
Height: 6-7. Weight: 240.
About LIddell: In three seasons he gradually improved his overall shooting and three-point shooting (up to 37.4% last year) while increasing his scoring output to 19.4 points per game. He also averaged 7.9 rebounds last season. Had a 38-inch maximum vertical at the combine.
Middle School: Our Lady.
Height: 6-4. Weight: 187.
About Wesley: In his lone college season Wesley shot 40.4% overall, 30% from behind the three-point line and 65.7% from the free-throw line. Wesley also has the ability to defend across several wing positions.
Middle School: Santa Clara.
Height: 6-5. Weight: 195.
About Williams: He shot 39.5% from behind the three-point line last season and improved overall in his outside shooting in averaging 18 points. He was measured with a 7-2 wingspan at the combine and tied for the fourth-best maximum vertical leap at 39 inches.