Milwaukee Bucks 2020 NBA draft grades
The 2020 NBA draft has come and gone and the Milwaukee Bucks have added a few new players to their roster. Well, unofficially.
Thanks to the NBA’s free-agent and salary-cap period starting Sunday, teams couldn’t announce many of the deals which occurred both before and during the draft. Hence we wait for the welcoming of Jrue Holiday.
And R.J. Hampton might have worn a Bucks hat on draft day, but, well …
However (wink, wink, nod, nod), here’s what we know from multiple reports:
The Bucks deal for Holiday from New Orleans, surrendering Eric Bledoe and George Hill as well as draft pick compensation, which including this year’s No. 1 pick (No. 24 overall). The Bucks did receive a second-round pick (No. 60) in return as well.
But, hey, here’s what we do know: Milwaukee surrendered a couple of future second-round picks to acquire Orlando’s second-rounder (No. 45) this year.
All in all, the Bucks added Louisville’s Jordan Nwora at No. 45 (ahem) and Utah State’s Sam Merrill at No. 60.
Using these reports as a basis, how did the Bucks fare in the draft? We’ve rounded up a number of grades from around the web.
Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone of CBS Sports: Nwora – A. “There’s immense value in owning an elite skill, and for Nwora, it’s his shooting. He rated in the 94th percentile last season as a spot-up shooter and should be a plug-and-play wing for the Bucks next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not only good value, but a good pick.”; Merrill – A. “Merrill was someone who steadily rose up our rankings as teams dug deeper because they fell in love with his scoring threat and ability to stretch the floor. He finds a perfect fit here with Milwaukee as they add another shooter to add next to Giannis, and at mid-second round value to boot.”
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley: Nwora – B. “The Milwaukee Bucks need shooters alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jordan Nwora has one of the more reliable shots in the draft.”; Merrill – B. “While technically this draft’s Mr. Irrelevant, Sam Merrill has a decent chance to deliver NBA relevance sooner than later. He never leaves home without his three-point cannon, which he used to splash 319 threes at a 42.0 percent clip across four seasons at Utah State. If that shot helps him see the floor as a spacer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 6’5” Merrill could emerge as a sneaky-good bargain.”
SI.com’s Michael Shapiro: B. “Jordan Nwora joins a roster with championship expectations, and there’s a chance the Louisville product sees the floor early in his career. Nwora is a quality catch-and-shoot threat, and his basketball IQ is impressive. Bet on Mike Budenholzer to find a role for one of the ACC’s top players in 2019-20.”
USA Today’s Scott Gleeson: C. “The effort to sway Giannis Antetokounmpo to re-sign will have to be done via trades — and Milwaukee wasn’t successful in that department on draft night. Selecting Louisville’s Jordan Nwora will give coach Mike Budenholzer a needed young weapon. The Bucks also picked Sam Merrill (via trade), a really solid guard from Utah State, with the 60th pick. But nothing special happened Wednesday for this team.”
Greg Joyce of the NY Post: B-. “The Bucks made their splash in the leadup to the draft, trading for Jrue Holiday, then added a pair of shooters who could be useful off the bench, like the Celtics.”
For the Win’s Charles Curtis: B+. “This grade factors in the Jrue Holiday trade since it involved their first pick, so yeah, the Bucks did just fine.”
Benjamin Zwelman of DraftKings: C.
Loreal Nix of Game Haus: B. “Milwaukee made some smart choices by adding more shooters like Nwora and Merrill can that fill up the bench right away.”
No grades, but The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie were both high on Milwaukee’s second-round selections. On Nwora – Vecenie: “I’d heard throughout the week that Milwaukee was looking into Nwora heavily if they kept No. 24, so for them to get him at 45 has to be exciting. Very high-level shooter at 6-foot-7 who hit 40 percent from 3 despite being at the top of scouting reports every night. He rebounds and has reasonable measurements, too. I’m not quite as bullish as John, but I think this is a perfect fit for Milwaukee and I love the pick for them despite the fact that I thought this was his range. If I was them, I would have had him much higher”; Hollinger – “Rock and roll Milwaukee. The Bucks got a player who can actually help them this season with the 45th pick, getting a good shooter who rebounds at a high rate in Nwora. He needs to defend better and get in shape, but I love this pick.”; On Merrill – Vecenie: “One of the my favorite picks of the draft. Merrill is going to make the Bucks because he’s an absolutely perfect bench player for them this season. He’s already 24 and has a very mature game, and he’s the kind of elite shooter they should be looking for off the bench. I had a high second round grade on him, so to get him at No. 60 is a steal.”; Hollinger: “I’m a fan of Merrill and think he has a chance to make an impact because he’s a money shooter who shows kill as a secondary shot creator. He’s quite old for a rookie at 24 and he will struggle to defend, but skill wins in the current NBA. I think there’s a place for him.”