Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Bucks Notes

Chuck Gardner and Tom Enlund have been kind of busy at the Journal-Sentinel:

  • Julian Wright worked out on Friday despite lingering effects from an ankle sprain. Watch video HERE. Wright's stock has slipped in recent weeks even with decent measurements at the combine, making it less and less likely the Bucks would grab him at the 6th spot. If the Bucks go with a small forward it's looking much more likely to be Jeff Green, who could also be taken 5th by the Celtics.
  • With Yi Jianlian continuing to play hard to get, the Bucks are putting up a brave face but don't look for the Bucks to call Yi's (or more accurately, his handlers') bluff. It's difficult to say what would happen if the Bucks did take Yi, given he could use the threat of a return to China to force a trade. While the Bucks might not be as desperate for help as some of their lottery brethren, Larry Harris and Herb Kohl can ill afford to draft a player who turns around and hangs them out to dry. The PR embarrassment of Yi staying in China would be a huge blow to a GM on the hot seat and a franchise struggling for respectability. On a sidenote, I really don't get the Toni Kukoc comparison that Babcock has propagated for a while now--Kukoc was a smooth but not overly athletic pass-first small forward who was viewed as a Magic Johnson-type while playing in Italy. Yi on the other hand is an incredibly athletic big man who is primarily a scorer and projects to the PF position. The only obvious similarity is that neither looks like a great defender, though Yi should be able to block some shots with his nearly 7'5" wingspan.
  • The situation is a little different for Joakim Noah, the other lottery talent who has refused to work out for the Bucks. While it's unclear what specifically turned him off to playing in Milwaukee--he's open to playing in Minneapolis for heaven's sake!--it might be as simple as him not wanting to go to a team that already has two young bigs penciled in as starters.
  • Larry Krystkowiak isn't expecting a big splash from whoever the Bucks draft next Thursday, which runs somewhat counter to the "impact player" rhetoric that Larry Harris and Dave Babcock have been using. Nothing too eye-opening here, but some select quotes from Coach K:
    "Some guys, I think, may be more ready to play right away and other guys are more of a long-term project. Maybe as a head coach, you'd want a guy who is more of a quick fix, but. . . .

    "From a physical point of view, Horford might be a few years ahead of Brandan Wright, for example, strength-wise. Green is ready. He looks ready. He's a man.

    "I think Conley is (ready). But it's not easy being a point guard. There's not too many success stories of rookie point guards who have dazzled in their first year."

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