Yes, it’s that time again: Evaluating a draft immediately after it happens.
This comes with the usual caveats that it takes years to determine the true value of a pick (just find those 2013 grades for the pick of Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example).
OK, with that out of the way, the general consensus for the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round selection of D.J. Wilson is that it was a good pick. Some think great, but overall more in the “good” category.
When it comes to draft grades, there are basically three ways it is done: a team grade, grading of just the first-round pick or individual grades of the first- and second-round picks.
For the Bucks, this gets a little tricky. It has been reported by numerous outlets that the Bucks acquired Philadelphia’s second-round pick Sterling Brown for cash. However, the team has yet to make this transaction official. For our purposes, we’re going to go with the assumption this will happen.
Any way you slice it, it’s always (well, usually) fun to see draft grades.
Here’s what people around the web thought of the Milwaukee Bucks’ picks. If the analyst graded each pick we’ve indicated as such. Otherwise it is either a grade for just Wilson or a team grade. We’ve quoted their analysis as well to help flesh things out and give greater understanding.
And now, the grades …
Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports: B. “I’m pretty high on Wilson, but No. 17 feels like a reach. On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks didn’t have a clear need they could fill this late in the first round, so taking a stretch-4 with defensive upside doesn’t hurt by any means.”
Jeremy Woo of SI.com: A-. “Every pick in this range of the draft is a risk, and D.J. Wilson’s potential as a well-rounded role player helped him rise to the top of the crop. He’s a late-bloomer who didn’t have a large sample size of quality production (and was highly inconsistent at times), but a lot of teams were extremely high on his ability to defend multiple positions and shoot the three. He’s a good athlete with enviable size for a stretch-four. Milwaukee has assembled an extremely intriguing collection of talent, and Wilson is a strong long-term fit around Giannis Antetokounmpo.” Woo also included Wilson as one of the six picks he really liked.
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider: C-. “It felt like the Bucks reached quite a bit at No. 17 with Wilson. I love his combination of size, athleticism and shooting touch, and he can protect the rim. But he shied away from contact in the paint and was wildly inconsistent as a junior. It appears there’s more sizzle than steak to his game. Brown is one of the top five shooters in the draft. The Bucks really need shooting and he should be able to find his way into the rotation.”
Reid Forgrave of CBSSports.com: Wilson — B+. “A late-blooming stretch four. He can really shoot it, and plays decent D.” Brown — B. “Very strong, should be able to play multiple positions. Had a strong senior season for SMU.”
Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports: B-. “D.J. Wilson made a massive jump from his sophomore to junior year, displaying a much improved body and overall floor game. Is he a great rebounder or passer? No. But at 17, the Bucks get a 6-foot-11 four man who can stretch the floor (37 percent on 3-pointers) and switch ball screens. The reduced grade here is because I liked John Collins a lot better, who was still available.”
Adi Joseph of USA Today: Wilson — C+. “On the surface, the last thing the Bucks need is another lanky, springy forward. But that’s become their team identity, and this pick shows new general manager Jon Horst plans to stick with it. Wilson was the latest of late-risers, not really drawing any draft interest until the Big Ten tournament. He’s got potential as a stretch-four, but that small sample size of hot play and his lack of an ideal role with the forward-stacked Bucks make him the draft’s first real surprise pick.” Brown — “A very strong, long wing, Brown has the look of a very good G League player who finds his way into the NBA over time.”
Sam Vecenie of The Sporting News: Wilson — B+. “The Bucks get an athletic, long and shooting big man in Wilson. Stop me if you’re surprised. It looks like the team’s M.O. for draft strategy will not change much under Jon Horst, and Wilson fills many of the same holes that the organization tends to look for and have success developing.” Brown — B. “Brown is a long, athletic wing who can shoot the ball. He’ll fit well in Milwaukee, where the team continues to prioritize those skills in players.”
Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation: A-. “D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown were two of my favorite sleepers. Wilson has a diverse skill set for a power forward, and Brown looks like a classic 3-and-D guy. Milwaukee knows what it’s doing.”
Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer: Value — A; Fit — A. “Prioritizing length has made the Bucks one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA, and they stuck to the blueprint with the 17th pick. Wilson is a 6-foot-11 stretch 4 from Michigan with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. There were concerns about Wilson’s toughness and rebounding ability in college, but he won’t be asked to do much more than space the floor for all the athletes they have in Milwaukee, and he should be a great fit next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The inability of guys like Mirza Teletovic and Spencer Hawes to move their feet was exposed against the Raptors in the playoffs, and Wilson projects as a much more athletic version of those players. Jason Kidd has shown that he’s not afraid to throw rookies into the fire, so don’t be surprised if Wilson is playing right away.” Tjarks also labeled Brown one of the five-best picks of the second round.
Ryan DiPentima of The Palm Beach Post: C+. “A three-year college player at Michigan, Wilson only averaged 11 points per game in 30.4 minutes in his junior season. He likely won’t make too much of an impact early in his career, given Milwaukee’s young, talented core.”
Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com: C-. “D.J. Wilson seems like another reach at No. 17. He is a nice prospect with stretch and shot-blocking potential, but few had him mocked this high. Milwaukee may have been able to trade back and still get him. That said, mocks are often wrong. So who knows.”
Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report: Wilson — B+. “Wilson isn’t a consistent shooter yet. Nor does he offer much on the offensive end after scoring just 11 points per game on 53.8/37.3/83.3 shooting as a junior. But the percentages are all encouraging, even if he’s forced to pick his spots carefully. Fortunately, the Bucks shouldn’t need him to score much. Not with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge and surrounded by healthy versions of Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker. It’s the athleticism and all-around defense that matter most here, especially if he can ease some of Antetokounmpo’s rebounding responsibilities and preserve him for more important duties.” Brown — B+. “Sterling Brown profiles as your prototypical three-and-D player, which means he could be a great fit off the Milwaukee Bucks bench. That team keeps collecting two-way players to join Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it surely won’t regret adding Brown’s physical defense or perimeter stroke. During his senior season at SMU, Brown took 3.9 triples per game and connected at a 44.9 percent clip. Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon and the rest of the Brewtown facilitators are already licking their chops.”
Jordan Greer of The Sporting News: B. “Milwaukee went with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy by adding another long-armed forward. Wilson is 6-10 with a 7-3 wingspan and showed off an improved offensive game under John Beilein. Brown offers size and shooting at the guard position, and you can never have too much of that.”
David Kay of WalterFootball: Wilson — C-. “Potential, potential, potential. Wilson is a long, versatile forward, and the Bucks love those sort of guys. He came on strong in March for Michigan but is still developing and likely needs a year or two before he contributes at the next level.” Brown — D+. “The Bucks get this pick from Philly and add a wing player whom I don’t think he sticks in the league. This is becoming a common theme with some of these recent picks.”
Bill Difilippo and Brad Rowland of Uproxx.com: Wilson — C. “Wilson fits Milwaukee’s overall style of long, athletic players. With that said, he’s a reach. The former Michigan forward has significant skills as a potential rim protector that can also space the floor as a shooter. The downside is that he doesn’t rebound and will need some seasoning before becoming a consideration for the rotation.” Brown — B.
Nicholas Goss of NESN: B+. “It wouldn’t be a draft without the Bucks adding a player with ridiculous length. D.J. [Wilson], whom Milwaukee selected at No. 17, could be insurance for Jabari Parker if the former Duke star continues to suffer from injuries. [Wilson], who played two seasons at Michigan, was one of college basketball’s most improved players in 2016-17.”
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider has the Bucks as one of his two losers (along with the Bulls) in Round 1. “Rookie GM Jon Horst got off to a rocky start in his first draft. I like D.J. Wilson, but he seemed like a major reach, especially with John Collins and Giles both on the board. Bucks coach Jason Kidd loves bouncy bigs who can get out and defend on the perimeter, but Wilson’s lack of toughness in the paint was a warning sign for some teams.”