ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — The Milwaukee Bucks hosted a draft workout for shooting guards and small forwards at the Cousins Center on Tuesday, but they did get a close-up look at the top players in the draft class with a trip out west last week.
Members of the Bucks’ front office were on hand when Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker worked out for league executives last Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. Andrew Wiggins, the third potential No. 1 pick, was on hand but did not work out.
The Bucks have the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
"Any of the three guys could be the No. 1 pick," Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said. "You go back to the draft last year, I don’t think anybody would have anticipated that Anthony Bennett would be the No. 1 pick. We don’t know. The other aspect of this is, will Cleveland make a trade? That would change the landscape of who goes first."
While most of the workout in California was individual skill work, the Bucks did get a chance to see Embiid on the court and get a first-hand look at the health of his back.
"Embiid went through the entire workout," McKinney said. "It didn’t appear that there were any signs of issues with his back, which of course will continue to be investigated as we go into the draft.
"Seeing him run, jump, pull up, sit up and do everything but throw a softball was really good for us. He looked good. He took a hard fall on the court, and I think everybody was wondering if he was going to get up. He got up and continued to look as lively as ever."
McKinney also debunked the rumor that spread around the pre-draft combine saying that Parker had gained 20 to 25 pounds.
"That’s kind of the gamesmanship of the draft," McKinney said. "He looked fantastic from a physical standpoint."
The Bucks will continue to work out potential second-round picks in the coming weeks, but it is still unclear if any candidates for the No. 2 overall pick will come to Milwaukee to work out or if the front office staff will have to go to them.
"Chances are we’ll have to go to them," McKinney said. "I still think there’s a lot of thinking on their agent’s part that, ‘He’s not going to be there at two.’ We’re going to have to be a little creative, which is something you have to do at draft time. You have to go visit the players to get your private workouts and discussions in."
Meanwhile, the Bucks also hold three second-round picks in the upcoming draft and are looking at the two and three spot as a position of need.
Washington’s C.J. Wilcox headlined Tuesday’s workout, as the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is projected to be a late first- or early second-round pick. Joining Wilcox were Missouri guard Jabari Brown, Memphis guard Chris Crawford, Northwestern guard/forward Drew Crawford and Virginia guard Joe Harris.
Milwaukee’s entire coaching staff, led by head coach Larry Drew, were on hand for the workout, while general manager John Hammond, assistant general manager David Morway, vice president of player personnel Dave Babcock and McKinney took in the roughly 45-minute session.
"It was a great workout," Harris said. "There was a great group of guys out here. It was competitive and high intensity. We got after it."
Of the guys the Bucks worked out Tuesday, Wilcox is the only one projected to be a first-round pick by some mock drafts. NBADraft.net has Wilcox going at No. 23, while Draft Express has the former Washington star at No. 44.
Wilcox averaged 18.3 points per game as a senior for the Huskies, shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Bucks certainly could look to add the sharpshooter if he’s around when they pick at No. 31.
"I think it translates right away," Wilcox said of his shooting ability. "A lot of teams are looking for shooters. If you have the build and the ability to shoot, you can jump into a lot of teams and play right away. I think that helps me right away."
Draft Express has Brown going to the Bucks at No. 48. If Milwaukee goes another route at No. 31 and No. 36, the former Missouri guard could certainly be in play if he’s around for the team’s third second-round pick.
Brown led the SEC in scoring at 19.9 points per game last season, scoring 20 or more points in 19 of his 35 games, the most by a Missouri player since Anthony Peeler in 1992.
"I just want to show that I’m a first-round talent," Brown said. "I’ll have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder if I go in the second, but a lot of good players have went in the second round. You can’t hang your head. You have to prove yourself either way."