Bucks Monday: Light workout for Jamaal Franklin
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — One awkward landing on a jump shot cost Jamaal Franklin the chance to show teams what he can do at the draft combine and in individual draft workouts.
Coming down on a foot during a workout at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, Franklin severely sprained his left ankle, and he’s still not 100 percent.
Article continues below ...
Knowing the Milwaukee Bucks are looking at guards in Thursday’s draft, Franklin decided to come to Milwaukee knowing he couldn’t participate in a full workout. He instead shot the ball, worked off screens and did light shooting guard drills Friday at the Cousins Center.
Now he’s hoping one jump shot didn’t cost him a chance at being drafted in the first round.
“The hardest thing for me is just not being able to play,” Franklin said. “I want to be on the court. If I’m hurt, I still want to be on the court. I was in a boot, I was still trying to be on the court. I’m getting a lot more mobility in my ankle, but the hardest thing for me right now is reacting to somebody. I’m 75 to 80 percent right now in being able to do stuff.
“Right after I get drafted, whichever team I go to, I feel like I’ll be a week in treatment and then I’ll be ready to go. Right now, I’m going team to team and flying so much that it’s just not able to get better.”
There’s a definite possibility Franklin could be Milwaukee’s pick at No. 15 on Thursday night, making the Bucks’ decision to bring the 6-foot-5 shooting guard in to get to know him a sign they have real interest.
“It was nice to get him in the gym to watch him shoot,” Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said. “We’ve seen him play enough times, we’ve watched enough of his games on our video systems, but it is always nice when we have a player come in that we can’t work out (just) to be able to talk to him and get to know them a little better.”
A refreshing personality, Franklin had a great response when asked if he senses the Bucks have legitimate interest in him.
“Hopefully they like me as much as I like them,” Franklin said. “Me being a college student going into the NBA, I like the Bucks, the Heat, the Clippers. I could keep going on for all 30 teams. I like all 30 teams. I don’t have a choice. It’s all up to them if they like me.”
The natural comparison for Franklin is former college teammate and current Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, but McKinney said the two are completely different players.
Leonard is a small forward that plays like a power forward, while McKinney says Franklin is strictly a shooting guard. Last season with San Diego State, Franklin averaged 17.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a junior. With Leonard on the team the year before, Franklin averaged 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds.
“I feel like as a player I’m a variety of people,” Franklin said. “I don’t look at one player and try to be that player. I look at multiple players in the NBA and try to get all players’ games. I feel like if you have everybody’s game, you can do it all instead of just dominating at one thing.
“I’m a defender like Kawhi and Tony Allen. I like to push and shove. I’m a rough person. I like to be in your grill. I’m a real defender, I like to be in your grill. On the offensive end, I try to (model) my game after J.R. Smith, James Harden, transition like LeBron James and Lance Stephenson. I feel like they are the best people at transition.”
Though they didn’t get to see it in a group workout setting, the Bucks have been impressed with Franklin’s defensive ability when they have seen him play other places.
“He really gets after people,” McKinney said. “That’s one of the things we noticed about him as we watched him play throughout the year. Not only that, he’s tough-minded. One of the things that we are looking to do as we continue to move forward with our team is to add some mental and physical toughness.”
Draft Express has Franklin going 24th overall to New York, while NBADraft.net has him going No. 22 to Brooklyn. Is he a realistic possibility for the Bucks at No. 15?
“We think so,” McKinney said. “We’ve gone through just about every possible scenario that we’ve looked at trying to analyze who will be there and who we might take. We were hoping he would be able to have a total workout with us, but just to get him in here shooting, to look at him, have (Bucks general manager) John (Hammond) put eyes on him was a good thing.”
With a similar injury to Franklin, former California star Allen Crabbe will go through an individual workout Tuesday with the Bucks similar to the one Franklin went through Monday.
No offer yet: The Bucks walked away from their free agent minicamp impressed with Israeli point guard Gal Mekel.
ESPN.com reported Sunday that Mekel was generating interest from multiple teams after opening eyes in Milwaukee’s minicamp, and the Bucks are certainly keeping an eye on him.
The Bucks did offer Mekel a chance to play on their summer league team, but didn’t offer him a contract for next season. Mekel has played in Israel since finishing his career at Wichita State in 2008.
“He’s impressing people,” McKinney said. “Of course, most players when you offer that would like to get a contract. We’re not that comfortable moving forward with that right now. Especially looking at players who are going into free agency after the draft that have some experience in the league that we have interest in too.”
Lending a hand: Former Bucks forward Scott Williams assisted with the draft workout Monday, but he hasn’t officially been added to Larry Drew’s coaching staff.
Williams, 45, spent parts of three seasons of his 15-year NBA career with the Bucks, including playing a vital role on the team’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. After retiring from basketball in 2005, Williams two seasons working on the television broadcast team in Cleveland.
He spent the 2007-08 on Milwaukee’s television broadcast team before becoming the color analyst for Phoenix’s television broadcasts in 2008.
Williams spent last season as an assistant coach for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League.
Working out: Serbian center Boban Marjanovic worked out for Bucks officials after the draft workout Monday, as the free agent tries to land a spot in the NBA.
The MVP of the Serbian league last season, Marjanovic stands at 7-foot-3 and weighs in at 293 pounds. The 24-year-old worked out with Williams and Bucks assistant coaches Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel at the Cousins Center.
He’s a member of the Serbian national team and spent last season with Mega Vizura.
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter