ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — It’s unlikely that any of the invitees to the Milwaukee Bucks’ third draft workout will be the team’s pick at No. 12 overall.
But, for assistant general manager Jeff Weltman, he said it’s important to cover all the bases in the first round.
After all, trading the No. 12 pick — a sought-after, end-of-the-lottery pick — is still very much a possibility for Milwaukee, if a deal were to be the right one. The Bucks traded their first-round pick during last year’s draft and acquired veterans Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and Beno Udrih.
And Saturday’s workout, which featured French guard Evan Fournier and Memphis guard Will Barton, as well as Long Beach State’s Larry Anderson and Temple’s Ramone Moore, showed off a few of the talents in Fournier and Barton that the Bucks may need to move around to select.
Weltman said the team tries to prepare itself by checking out as many prospects as possible prior to the draft.
“You try to prepare yourself as best you can and you try to have as many of the kids that maybe are not in your projected range to come visit,” Weltman said. “It helps, but at the end of the day, that’s where your scouting comes in. … They don’t have enough days to visit all the teams. … You need to prepare for 12 and we need to have that button down, but we need to know, if we slide down into that range, how does the league see these guys? Who’s going to be there? And who do we like? And that gets balanced against any deals that we’re discussing.”
Fournier is the highest-rated of those who attended the workout on Saturday, and he’s also likely to be the highest-drafted international player in this year’s draft — one that includes very little foreign talent.
Most of Fournier’s workouts to this point have been for teams selecting in the late teens and twenties of the first round. But along with the Hornets, the Bucks were one of the higher-picking teams curious to check out the player they had seen only a few times before — at last year’s Hoop Summit and a little bit during his time as a French professional. He could be one of the more intriguing prospects down further in the first round, if Milwaukee were to attempt to trade down and accumulate more picks or more proven talent.
Fournier is known as a very skilled shooter, and after starting as an 18-year-old in France and leading his team in scoring, his potential talent has interested a lot of NBA suitors. He also said that he’d like to contribute right away; although, Weltman was reluctant to make any specific claims on that front.
Regardless, Weltman knows there’s little chance he’ll be available when the Bucks pick in the second round.
“I think conventional wisdom would say he’s a first round pick,” Weltman said. “He’s certainly one of the top international prospects.”
But a trade isn’t out of the question. And neither is holding out hope that one of the late first round prospects drops to the Bucks at pick No. 42. Weltman knows not to rely on that sort of luck though.
“I think there’s always that prospect,” Weltman said. “The reason I say that is history would tell you that. But the trick is, you don’t know who it’s going to be. The mock drafts can only get you so far.”
Barton could very well be an option at the Bucks’ second-round pick, and Weltman added that Moore, who classified himself as a mid-to-late second rounder, has been mentioned at the end of the first and beginning of the second rounds.
After having what Weltman repeated was a great workout, Barton and Moore seem to be two prospects the Bucks feel could contribute out of a second round selection, a spot that is very hit or miss in recent NBA drafts.
“I think especially when you’re talking about second round picks, you picks guys that you feel can play in the league,” Weltman said. “And hopefully they have more attributes that you’re looking for … At the end of the day the percentage of second round picks that make the NBA is not great, so you really want a guy that can play in the NBA and become a rotation player hopefully.”