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An early look at the 2019 NBA draft

We take a closer look at some of the NBA draft prospects that may pique the interest of the Milwaukee Bucks over the months ahead, plus look at an early draft big board.

As the NCAA men’s basketball season kicks off, Jon Horst and the Milwaukee Bucks scouting staff are hoping their first round draft pick still owed to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe/Greg Monroe trade will not convey in this upcoming June.

The first round pick is kept by Milwaukee if it falls between 1-3 or 17-30, with the latter feeling likely barring unforeseen circumstances such as a rash of injuries.

In the scenario of a retained 2019 first round pick, the Bucks will send their pick to Phoenix the following summer, unless a major regression occurs and the pick falls in the top-7 in that season. If this were to happen, the pick would convey in the 2021 draft, with no pick protections.

At this point, the most likely scenario is for the Bucks to send the Suns their 2020 pick to fully complete their obligations from the trade.

Despite an entire college season needing to first play out, as things stand in mid-November, I see six players as near-guarantees to be chosen in the lottery. These players include: R.J. Barrett (Freshman – Duke), Zion Williamson (Freshman – Duke), Cam Reddish (Freshman – Duke), Nassir Little (Freshman – UNC), Romeo Langford (Freshman – Indiana), and Quentin Grimes (Freshman – Kansas).

Four more players slot in currently as “good bets” to be chosen before a possible Bucks’ 17-30 selection, including: Keldon Johnson (Freshman – Kentucky), Sekou Doumbouya (International), Rui Hachimura (Sophomore – Gonzaga), and De’Andre Hunter (Sophmore – Virginia)

In this exercise, we will assume these 10 promising prospects are not available where the Bucks may eventually choose in June 2019. Rather, we’ll take a small dive in to five of the more realistic, yet intriguing draft prospects based on the early projections, while keeping an eye toward the player attributes that may best fit into a Mike Budenholzer system.

At the end, I’ll also run through my early Big Board. In a list that remains fluid and will grow over the next seven months, this is merely a guide to follow as to what names may currently be in the mix for a high first round selection in June.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 11: (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

Kevin  Porter Jr. – SG, USC, Freshman

A young yet physically matured lefty who possesses the rare ability of scoring at all three levels. Although not a primary ball handler, Porter Jr. has shown exceptional handles leading to some early season wow highlights.

With size, athleticism, shot-making, and handles, Porter Jr. certainly falls into the pass/dribble/shoot mantra of Mike Budenholzer’s offensive system. Eventually climbing into a top-10 board is certainly fathomable, as the tools are all there for a dynamic NBA scorer.

DALLAS, TX – MARCH 17: (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Jarrett Culver – SG, Texas Tech, Sophomore

With a Tony Snell archetype, Jarrett Culver may intrigue Jon Horst and company with his 3-and-D potential. Defensive versatility of guarding three different positions will play in any NBA rotation, and a passable yet mostly stationary three-point shot is something to build off of on the offensive end.

With Zhaire Smith out of Lubbock and into the NBA, Culver will have ample opportunity to show off an improved offensive game.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 11: (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt, Freshman

In one of the weaker point guard drafts in recent memory, Darius Garland may be gone before the Bucks pick, just due to basic supply and demand. Garland is this year’s version of Trae Young, just to a lesser extent. He possesses near unlimited range to go with exceptional passing and a high IQ. Pass/dribble/shoot rears its head again here.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 06: (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PJ Washington, SF, Kentucky, Sophomore

The high-energy PJ Washington can do a little bit of everything, but makes his hay with defense and rebounding. If his good but not great midrange game can extend out a few more feet, he will likely be lottery bound. If the jump shot stays restricted to inside 18 feet, he may fall off the Bucks’ radar.

SPRINGFIELD, MA – JANUARY 15: (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Louis King – Oregon, SF, Freshman

Unfortunately, a knee injury will delay the college debut of the promising Freshman, but when healthy, King can and likely will be instant offense from the wing for Oregon. A naturally gifted scorer who looks comfortable at all three levels, King should be able to score with ease at the college level.

2019 NBA Big Board – Version 1.0

  1. RJ Barrett – W, Duke
  2. Zion Williamson – F/C, Duke
  3. Cam Reddish – F, Duke
  4. Nassir Little – W, North Carolina
  5. Romeo Langford – W, Indiana
  6. Quentin Grimes – W, Kansas
  7. Keldon Johnson – W, Kentucky
  8. Sekou Doumbouya – F, Limoges (International)
  9. Rui Hachimura – F, Gonzaga
  10. De’Andre Hunter – F, Virginia
  11. Kevin Porter Jr. – G, USC
  12. Bol Bol – C, Oregon
  13. Darius Garland – G, Vanderbilt
  14. Daniel Gafford – C, Arkansas
  15. Charles Basssey – C, Western Kentucky
  16. Jarrett Culver – G, Texas Tech
  17. Louis King – W, Oregon
  18. PJ Washington – F, Kentucky
  19. Ja Morant – G, Murray State
  20. Lindell Wigginton – G, Iowa State
Next: Milwaukee Bucks: The curious case of Eric Bledsoe and the question of fit

Stick with us here at Behind the Buck Pass for continued draft coverage in the months ahead.

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