John Hammond took over as general manager of a Milwaukee Bucks team looking for an identity and some consistency. On Tuesday, Hammond became GM of the Orlando Magic, leaving behind a Bucks team which is coming off their best season in nearly a decade and looks to be a playoff contender for years to come.
FOX Sports Wisconsin takes a look back at Hammond's nine years in Milwaukee with what we consider to be his 10 best moves (in order of occurrence).
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June 25, 2009: Drafted Brandon Jennings at No. 10 overall
Jennings was something of a risky pick, the guard having skipped college to play professionally in Italy leading up the NBA Draft. Jennings quickly became Milwaukee's go-to scorer, averaging 15.5 points as a rookie and a career-high 19.2 points in his third season. He also turned himself into a commodity, despite his poor shooting percentage (only twice in his career has he shot over 40 percent from the field), which enabled the Bucks to deal him after his fourth season in Milwaukee. Jennings' VORP (value over replacement player) in his four seasons in Milwaukee were 1.9, 2.1, 2.5 and 2.1. He's never had higher than a 1.1 VORP since. The only players drafted in the first round after the No. 10 pick who have a higher career VORP than Jennings (10.5) are Jrue Holliday (No. 17, 12.0) and Ty Lawson (No. 18, 10.9), although Jennings' VORP over his first four seasons is higher than either of those two fellow guards.
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June 22, 2010: Traded Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric to Golden State for Corey Maggette and a 2010 2nd-rounder
This might not have been the best of trades monetarily speaking, but it showed that Hammond at least was trying to bring a winner to Milwaukee. Both Bell and Gadzuric were due a lot of money, albeit Gadzuric had just one year left and Bell two. But neither were players who you build a winning team around -- the 6-foot-11 Gadzuric shot under 50 percent from the field in his last four seasons in Milwaukee, including 43.8 percent in 2009-10 (did we mention he never attempted a 3?). Bell was a shooting guard with a 41.2 percent career field-goal percentage who averaged 6.5 points per game in 22.7 minutes in 2009-10. Maggette came with three years left on his contract and $31 million to pay off, so, yeah, this wasn't the perfect move (and if we ranked these would likely be 10th).
June 23, 2011: In a three-team trade, dealt a 1st-round pick (Jimmer Fredette) and John Salmons to Sacramento and Corey Maggette to Charlotte; received from Charlotte a 1st-round pick (Tobias Harris), Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston plus Beno Udrih from Sacramento.
This trade was all about money (well, for the most part) and getting rid of bad contracts. Maggette was owed $21 million over the next two year and Salmons $25 million over the next three. Milwaukee did have to take on Jackson, who could be something of a headache, and his $19 million over two years and Udrih (who was owed $14 million over the next two years) and Shaun Livingston. Unsurprisingly, Jackson never fit in and was later dealt, but Udrih worked well as a backup point guard, which the Bucks needed at the time, and Livingston, on the last year of his deal, served as a quality sub. Plus, Milwaukee moved down in the draft and still got a better player than Sacramento.
June 27, 2013: Drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo No. 15 overall
It can be fun to look back at the critics who panned this choice. After all, Antetokounmpo was young, skinny and was playing in a low-level professional league in Greece. He was the ultimate projectable player. Perhaps we should have seen this coming when the Bucks took Jennings years earlier, but this was an even riskier pick -- with, of course, a huge upside, as we've all witnessed. This was the move which really helped turn around the Bucks and give a face to the franchise.
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July 31, 2013: Traded Brandon Jennings to Detroit for Brandon Knight, Viacheslav Kravtsov and Khris Middleton
At first glance, most thought this was really a deal of Jennings for Knight, with the others thrown in to balance out salary. And in fact, Kravtsov would be traded a month later. While Knight proved to be a fine player in his own right during his short time with the Bucks, the key addition has turned out to be Middleton. He quickly proved to be a gem, nearly doubling his scoring average in his first year in Milwaukee (6.1 to 12.1) by his third season with the Bucks leading the team in scoring (18.2 ppg). An injury curtailed his 2016-17 season, but when he returned he breathed life into the team, with Milwaukee going 19-10 in his 29 regular-season games and 17-6 when he started, helping vault the Bucks to the playoffs as a No. 6 seed. He, along with Antetokounmpo, are considered two of the key building blocks for Milwaukee.
June 26, 2014: Drafted Jabari Parker at No. 2 overall
The top-two draft prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft were considered to be Andrew Wiggins and Parker. The Bucks, with the second pick, got whichever one the Minnesota Timberwolves didn't take. Hammond didn't veer from the path and selected Parker. Injuries have dampened the start to Parker's career, but he flashed that potential this season, averaging 20.1 points in 51 games before suffering his second torn ACL.
Associated PressKathy Willens
July 1, 2014: Traded a 2015 2nd-round and a 2019 2nd-round to Brooklyn for Jason Kidd
We're not sure how many coaches have been traded over the years, but a pair of second-round draft picks seems like a small price to pay for Kidd, who is about to enter his fourth year as Bucks head coach. Kidd not only has given the Bucks an identity, but he's also led them to the playoffs in two of the last three years. The last Milwaukee coach to do that was George Karl, who did it three straight seasons from 1998-2001. In Kidd's first season at the helm, he led Milwaukee to an incredible 26-win turnaround.
USA TODAY SportsBenny Sieu
June 23, 2016: Drafted Thon Maker at No. 10 overall
Another one of Hammond's high-risk, high-reward selections. No one was quite sure where Maker, who never played collegiately, would go in the draft but it was thought later in the first round. Instead, the Bucks grabbed him early, seeing another tall, athletic, long body to put out on the court. Maker was eased into the lineup, not playing much early in the season. But by the time the playoffs came around, he averaged 19.3 minutes in the first-round series against Toronto and had some "wow" moments with his ability to block, pass and shoot (especially from 3). Another Giannis? Maybe, maybe not, but it does look like another risk which will pay off down the line for Milwaukee.
Associated PressFrank Franklin II
June 23, 2016: Drafted Malcolm Brogdon in 2nd round (No. 36 overall)
Second-round picks in the NBA Draft are usually projects, foreign players to stash away or fodder for D-League teams. Rarely are they impact players, especially as a rookie. But Hammond struck gold with Brogdon, who displayed a maturity beyond his years from the start -- not to mention an ability to produce on the court. As a result, Brogdon got significant playing time as soon as the season got underway. Brodgon finished averaging 10.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds and made 40.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. His VORP was the highest of any other drafted player from 2016, first round included -- and it wasn't even close. And, oh, Brogdon is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award, which has been won by a first-round pick every year for the last six decades.
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Oct. 17, 2016: Traded Michael Carter-Williams to Chicago for Tony Snell
When the Bucks decided late in the 2015-16 season that Giannis Antetokounmpo would play more of a point guard position, it rendered Carter-Williams, who is more of 1-guard than a 2 (25.2 percent career 3-point shooter), a bit obsolete in the Milwaukee offense. The Bucks found a taker for MCW in the Bulls, who flipped Snell to the Bucks. Both players were in the last year of their rookie contracts, so why not try something a bit different? Mainly a reserve in Chicago, Snell started all 80 games he played with Milwaukee and averaged a career-high 8.5 points while shooting a career-best 45.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from 3-point range. He also set career highs in offensive rating, VORP, win shares and true shooting percentage. With Middleton injured, Snell fit in seamlessly and became a key contributor. Meanwhile, Carter-Williams played in just 45 games due to an injury and averaged just 18.8 minutes per game, which slipped to 10.6 in the playoffs. Snell's playing time for the Bucks went up in the postseason. This trade was a clear win for Hammond and the Bucks.