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4 Needs for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2022 NBA Draft

With the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks have an opportunity to add a young player with a lucrative contract to become part of a championship-level team. That is, of course, if Milwaukee does decide to keep the selection (but that’s another conversation for another day).

Do they stay in place no. 24, drop it altogether, or something in between, there are a number of needs Milwaukee needs to address before Draft Night arrives. This does not mean that they should only act out of necessity, because in the NBA this is an unreliable strategy. However, they have a number of critical holes they need to close at some point this offseason if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals.

Milwaukee may have been just one injury away from being a champion again, but this injury shed light on the team’s greatest weakness: depth. The Bucks are in the lead with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Chris Middleton running the show. When one of them loses, as Middleton did, it’s very difficult for the rest of the team to make up for the loss against very good teams like the Boston Celtics.

This was evident in the run-up to the season and roster building general manager John Horst decided to leave. Let’s dive a little deeper and see what other needs the Bucks have ahead of this year’s NBA draft.

Shooting

There isn’t a single team in the NBA today that doesn’t want to shoot more given how much the NBA leans towards long range and three-pointers. Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most shooting-hungry teams among championship contenders.

This was never more evident than in their loss to the Celtics in the second round of the postseason. Milwaukee, as happened in almost all of their recent playoff losses, couldn’t get into the water if they fell out of the boat. In seven games, they shot a dismal 27.9% from the three-point line as a team (the Oklahoma City Thunder finished last in the regular season with 32.3%). This broke a seasonal trend after the Bucks lost 36.6 percent in the regular season to finish fifth in the NBA.

With Antetokounmpo at the center of the attack, Milwaukee had no problem creating open views for their third-tier scorers. The problem was to shoot down these shot attempts. The Bucks added Grayson Allen last summer to improve their shooting, and they need to find another round of the same caliber (Allen hit a career-high 40.9 percent of threes in the regular season).

Wing size

Milwaukee’s lack of size on the wing became clearer than ever after Middleton lost and they went to Boston in the second round. The Celtics went on to beat Jason Tatum 6–8 and Jaylen Brown 6–6 while the Bucks tried to repeat it with Allen 6–4 and Wesley Matthews 6–4. Those inches added up over the course of the series.

Not that the Bucks have taller wings anywhere else on their roster. Pat Connaughton (6-5) is also undersized coming off the bench, and Jordan Nwora wasn’t even close to ready to play defensively.

With the Celtics stuck around and the Miami Heat and Jimmy Butler hiding in the shadows, the Bucks need to find a way to get at least one big, capable wingback this offseason. Adding a player other than Middleton rated between 6-6 and 6-8 would greatly improve this already solid defense. It’s unclear if they can count on Matthews drinking from the fountain of youth again next season and they need someone to replace him.

Shot-creation

With the exception of the big three Bucks, there is no one who can create their own shots on a consistent basis. This might be an unfair expectation from roleplayers as that’s exactly what sets them apart from top starters, but the Bucks had a hard time swallowing the pill as Holiday and Antetokounmpo had sky-high usage rates that got in their way. maintain a high level of play at both ends of the court.

Let’s hope Bobby Portis comes back and can continue to improve his game to make up for this weakness, but that won’t change the fact that the Bucks need to create more shots somewhere in their roster. It doesn’t have to be an isolating person, and it can even be someone who can create a quality image for their teammates by getting some extra defensive attention and/or help. Whatever category he falls into, he must be putting pressure on the defense from somewhere other than the top of the Bucks depth table.

Pick and roll navigation

This may be a subtype of the snapshot category, but it’s an important distinction. Milwaukee has one of the best rollers of all time in Antetokounmpo, and there aren’t many players who can take advantage of that. Middleton has found a way to turn a two-time MVP into a weapon, but that’s not exactly Holiday’s forte.

Upgrading the backup point guard position can be a way to add someone to check this box, but even a wing that has multiple handles and passing ability can help. Whatever position it comes from, the Bucks need to find a way to use this offensive weapon more often in 2022-23.

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