The Milwaukee Bucks have the 24th pick in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. This is a rarity for the Bucks who have not used a first round pick since the 2018 NBA Draft. In fact, the Bucks have used a first round pick just twice in the Jon Horst era. In 2017, the Bucks took DJ Wilson and in 2018 they selected Donte DiVincenzo. Neither player is with the team anymore.
While there is speculation that the Bucks will trade their first round pick, it is important to note that they do not have a second round pick this year due to the Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco in 2020. If the Bucks do decide to hold onto their only pick in this year’s draft, there are 11 players that have been identified as possible candidates for the pick. Below is an analysis of each candidate as identified by the hosts of The Gyro Step Podcast.
— Gyro Step (@GyroStepPodcast) June 15, 2022
The players listed on their big boards will be present here in alphabetical order by last name. The order of their placement on this list is in no way related to where we rank them. Below are the first five players the Bucks may be considering with Pick 24. We will release a different article with the final six at a later time.
1. Patrick Baldwin Jr.
The thought of the Milwaukee Bucks drafting Patrick Baldwin Jr. is an intriguing one for many fans. Baldwin is a native of Sussex, WI and was widely regarded as a potential lottery pick after his senior year of high school. Furthermore, he spurned larger programs to play for his father at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In short, the hometown kid would get picked to play for his hometown team. Sounds like a movie.
The problem, though, is that Patrick Baldwin Jr. did not stay healthy, nor did he play well in his lone season at UWM. In just 11 games, the 6’9″ guard averaged 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds on 34/27/74 shooting. UWM struggled mightily this season, and the elder Patrick Baldwin was fired by the university. The only question, in Baldwin Jr.’s mind, at that point was to either go pro or transfer. Obviously, he elected to go pro and entered the NBA Draft.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s draft stock dropped dramatically as a result of his poor season at UWM. While some analysts still project him to be a late first-round pick, others have him going undrafted. If Baldwin can bounce back and return to form, he would be an interesting piece for the Bucks. He likely would not contribute right away, but could develop into a decent shooter. In short, taking Baldwin with the 24th pick would be quite the reach and may not be worth the risk.
2. MarJon Beauchamp
MarJon Beauchamp is another NBA Draft prospect who was highly regarded coming out of high school. Unfortunately, his college recruitment was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of committing to a major university, Beauchamp played 12 games for Yakima Valley College in his hometown of Yakima, Washington.
Right before the season started, Beauchamp came down with COVID and missed several games. When he was able to return to play, he was limited initially with respiratory difficulties. However, he quickly returned to form and averaged 30.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.
After receiving renewed interest from bigger programs, MarJon Beauchamp decided to sign with the Ignite of the NBA G-League. In 12 games with the Ignite, Beauchamp averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. His shooting splits, though, were not good. With the Ignite, Beauchamp shot 57/24/65 from the field.
As a 6’6″ guard, the Milwaukee Bucks would expect him to be able to create his own shot and/or hit three-point shots on a consistent basis. These are things that Beauchamp did not prove he could do regularly, though it should be noted he is still quite young. Picking Beauchamp with the 24th pick would be drafting a player to develop within their own system, much like they have done with Jordan Nwora.
3. Christian Braun
Unlike the first two players on this list, Christian Braun has played three seasons of college basketball and has won a National Championship. The University of Kansas product averaged 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game last season. Perhaps most importantly, at least for fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, is the fact that Braun shot 50/39/73 from the floor.
Also unlike the first two players on this list, Christian Braun is a player that could contribute right away for the Bucks. A traditional shooting guard, he can create his own shot and knock down three pointers. This is exactly the type of player that the Bucks need off of their bench. If Grayson Allen does not improve within the next year, Braun could eventually become the starting shooting guard on the Bucks’ roster.
4. Kennedy Chandler
Like Patrick Baldwin Jr., Kennedy Chandler is a “one-and-done” guard who spent his lone college season with his home state team. A product of the University of Tennessee, Chandler averaged 13.9 points, 4.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. A 6’0″ point guard, he could easily fit onto the Milwaukee Bucks roster immediately as a backup point guard.
In 34 games (all starts) at Tennessee, Kennedy Chandler shot 46/38/60 from the floor. Obviously, he needs to improve his free throw shooting, but his other shooting numbers are very promising. While he played just one season in college, Chandler racked up quite a collection of conference awards. He was named to the All-SEC Second Team, All-SEC Freshman Team, was a preseason Wooden Award pick, was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team, and was the MVP of the SEC Tournament.
The Milwaukee Bucks are not known for drafting and developing many of their players. Obviously, Giannis Antetokounmpo is an exception and Jordan Nwora is a current project. If the Bucks feel like Kennedy Chandler is their best option at backup point guard for the next three or four seasons, picking him at Pick 24 would make a lot of sense.
5. Tari Eason
One of the needs that the Milwaukee Bucks have which Jon Horst highlighted in his last interview was the need for wings who can score. In that respect, 6’8″ forward Tari Eason from LSU makes a lot of sense as a potential Milwaukee Bucks draft pick.
After spending his freshman season at Cincinnati, Eason transferred to LSU where he could get more playing time. Betting on himself paid off immensely. This past season, Tari Eason averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.9 steals per game. Of all the possible Milwaukee Bucks draft picks listed thus far, Eason is the best overall shooter, at least according to the stats sheet. In his lone season with LSU, Eason shot 53/36/80 from the floor.
Despite not getting much playing time as a freshman at Cincinnati, Tari Eason was named to the ACC All-Freshman team after averaging 7.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. After his stellar season at LSU, in which he was used as a sixth man off the bench, he was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year. Obviously, bench scoring is an area of dire need for the Milwaukee Bucks, making Eason a very intriguing draft pick.
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