ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — There’s no doubt Milwaukee Bucks guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis comprise one of the best — or at least quickest — backcourts in the NBA.
But, in a pattern true to most other positions on Milwaukee’s roster, that talented backcourt is also one of the smallest in the NBA, boasting a 6-2 average height and a an average weight of 177.
So with the NBA draft rapidly approaching and the Bucks firm in their stance of taking the most talented player available — not just the best big man — Milwaukee’s final draft workout featured two of the draft’s top shooting guards, both of whom are much bigger than the mean of Milwaukee’s current backcourt.
Bucks assistant general manager Jeff Weltman recognizes how talented the pair of Ellis and Jennings is, but he says the Bucks wouldn’t hesitate to draft either Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb or Washington’s Terrence Ross, the two talented guards who were at the Cousins Center on Tuesday.
But would they draft one ahead of a capable big man if both were available? Weltman was vague on the subject.
“We have needs,” Weltman said. “We also have Monta Ellis. We have multiple needs on our team … I wish I could say we’re that one spot or that one player away from being a championship team, but we’re not. … Size, athleticism at the wing would be a nice piece for us, but you know, we’ve got multiple holes to fill. We’ve got to weigh need versus talent.”
Lamb, who has most often been linked with teams above the Bucks in the lottery, wasn’t expected to be at Milwaukee’s final workout Tuesday because of a sprained ankle that he aggravated in his workout with Portland on Monday. But Lamb decided to meet with the Bucks anyway, getting breakfast with team officials Tuesday morning.
“He let it be known to us, ‘I still want to come visit you guys. I want to show that I want to be there,’ ” Weltman said.
That determination to meet seemed to sit well with the Bucks, and Lamb made it clear that Milwaukee would be an ideal destination for the Connecticut guard.
“I know that they’re interested, and I’m interested,” Lamb said. “They knew I was hurt, but we still said I should come in.”
Both Lamb and Ross, who have risen up draft boards in recent months, provide the size the Bucks need — they’re 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-7, respectively — and the ability to create their own shot that Milwaukee covets, plus superior touch that marks them as two of the draft’s best perimeter shooters.
“They both have size, athleticism, and can shoot at the two,” Weltman said. “And that’s pretty rare to find that combination in one player.”
And in such a deep class at the shooting guard position, Lamb and Ross may not be the only options at guard for the Bucks at the No. 12 pick. Both Duke’s Austin Rivers and Syracuse’s Dion Waiters could fall to Milwaukee, although Weltman said both players’ agents refused workouts for their clients because of presumptions that they would be chosen before the Bucks’ pick. Weltman acknowledged, like many other teams around the NBA, that Waiters has a “promise” of being picked higher than No. 12.
But, as Ross mentioned to the media, the multitude of options at shooting guard has made this draft an interesting one to watch at the position.
“It’s real, real deep at our position,” Ross said. “We can all shoot, we can all play by the rim, and it’s kind of hard to stand out.”