Dec 7, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders (center) reacts during the game against the Brooklyn Nets in the 4th quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Sanders is recovering from a hand injury sustained during a bar fight last month. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft Lottery 2014: Can Winning Lottery Fix The Milwaukee Bucks?


The Milwaukee Bucks did a lot of things poorly in 2013-14.

They didn’t score a lot, finishing 26th in the NBA with 100.2 points per 100 possessions.

Ersan Ilyasova (7) was one of many disappointments for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

They didn’t defend a lot, finishing 29th in the NBA by allowing 108.9 points per 100 possessions.

They didn’t shoot very well, finishing 26th in the NBA, making only 43.8 percent of their shots.

They didn’t steal the ball very often, finishing 28th in the NBA with 6.6 steals per game.

They didn’t stay very healthy, with just one player—Khris Middleton—playing in all 82 games.

The Bucks wanted to be competitive last season, trying to add some veterans in an effort to make a run for another eighth-place finish in the East.

And they only missed it by 23 games … behind a team that won 38 times all season.

O.J. Mayo was signed to a three-year, $24 million deal as a free agent and was a bust, averaging 11.7 points, shooting only 40.7 percent and missing 30 games.

Caron Butler, acquired from the Phoenix Suns for youngster Ishmael Smith and Viacheslav Kravtsov, was a bust, scoring 11 points a game while shooting only 38.7 percent and getting himself run out of town with a buyout.

Gary Neal, signed as a free agent after going to the NBA Finals with San Antonio, didn’t get along with coach Larry Drew and was shipped to Charlotte at the trade deadline after shooting 39 percent and averaging 10 points a game from deep inside Drew’s doghouse.

Free-agent acquisition Carlos Delfino didn’t play in a single game. Zaza Pachulia played fairly well when he was available, but he missed 29 games with a foot injury.

And the incumbents weren’t so great, either.

Larry Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million extension that won’t even start until next season. He broke his thumb in an altercation at a downtown Milwaukee bar, then missed the final several weeks of the season with a broken orbital bone. In all, Sanders played in 23 games.

Ersan Ilyasova battled an ankle injury all season and missed 27 games, shot 28.2 percent from 3-point range while insisting on continuing to shoot from 3-point range (2.4 attempts per game).

So can winning the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday fix what ails the Bucks?

The short answer is no.

But it could go a long way toward fixing a franchise that desperately needs an injection of talent.

Milwaukee will draft no lower than fourth. DraftExpress.com ranks Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins as the top player in the draft, followed by Duke forward Jabari Parker, Kansas center Joel Embiid and Australian guard Dante Exum.

The Bucks desperately need the one of those four players they select to—mixing sports metaphors here—be a home run.

Milwaukee’s first-rounder in 2013, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is raw with a huge upside that he displayed in quick flashes as a rookie.

The Bucks have so many holes, though, that they need talent just about everywhere. It’s not a matter of positions of need so much as it is needing legitimate players to play positions.

So no, winning the lottery won’t fix the Milwaukee Bucks overnight.

But it could put them in a position to look back at the 2014 draft events as when the road to recovery began.

Tags: 2014 NBA Draft Lottery Milwaukee Bucks