Even with Dalembert, Bucks may draft center

As has become tradition in the five-year tenure of Bucks general manager John Hammond, Milwaukee made a trade leading up to the draft.

After preparing to select at No. 12 since the draft lottery in late May, the Bucks on Wednesday moved back two spots to No. 14 in a trade with the Houston Rockets. In that deal, Hammond acquired Samuel Dalembert, the type of center he’s been looking for since trading Andrew Bogut to Golden State three months ago.

Fortunately for the Bucks, the landscape of the draft at No. 14 isn’t going to be much different than it would have been at No. 12. In fact, despite updating their mock drafts to reflect the Bucks/Rockets trade, nearly all national media outlets still have Milwaukee’s front office considering the same group of players.

A look at what seven national mock drafts are predicting for the Bucks in the first round:

ESPN’s Chad Ford — Terrence Ross, SG, Washington: “The Bucks have moved down two spots in the draft, but it shouldn’t dramatically affect which player they take. In fact, now that they’ve added Samuel Dalembert, they have more freedom to draft a shooter at the wing positions. Ross worked out for the Bucks on Tuesday, and while I don’t think it was a game-changer, they might opt to take him if Tyler Zeller and (Jeremy) Lamb are gone. Terrence Jones is also a possibility.”

Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick — Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois: “Milwaukee could go a number of ways. Even with Dalembert now in the fold, the Bucks still need a long-term replacement for departed center Andrew Bogut. The athletic and fast-improving Leonard has shot up most teams’ boards in recent weeks, including consideration from Detroit at No. 9. Milwaukee is known to be high on Terrence Jones as well.”

Yahoo Sports’ Jonathan Givony — Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois: “Even after acquiring center Samuel Dalembert from the Rockets, the Bucks are still thin in the frontcourt. Regardless of who makes this pick, Leonard is a safe bet to come off the board around this stage. He’s too big, talented and athletic to fall much further.”

NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper — Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s: “The Bucks got their (temporary) solution at center with the Samuel Dalembert acquisition while trading down two spots. If they also end up with a small forward an upgrade at small forward and in athleticism, it’s a very good week.”

Sporting News’ Sean Deveney — Jeremy Lamb, G/F, UCONN: “By trading for Dalembert, Milwaukee is not locked into taking a big man here. The Bucks have long sought to put shooters around Brandon Jennings, and with Monta Ellis in town now, that need is more acute. Lamb or Ross could be the pick, with Perry Jones a wild card.

NBADraft.net — Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

DraftExpress.com — Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

To help make sense of it all, here’s a quick look at what the Bucks roster looks like heading into the draft:

Guards: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Beno Udrih,
Wings:  Mike Dunleavy, Tobias Harris, Luc Mbah a Moute
Bigs: Dalembert, Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh, Drew Gooden,
Free agents: PF Ersan Ilyasova, SF Carlos Delfino, PF Kwame Brown
Traded to Houston: SF Jon Leuer, SG Shaun Livingston, PF Jon Brockman

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