Addressing Their Needs

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 25, 2010

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MILWAUKEE (BASN) –In this year’s NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks wanted to add more size and athleticism. They addressed that need with the four draft picks in the two rounds Thursday.

The picks should help Milwaukee become a better team in transition and on defense. Guard Brandon Jennings will now have more horsepower to drive the machine.

It will be a change of pace from slow, when center Andrew Bogut is on the court, to up tempo with the young studs. With the 15th overall pick in the first round, the Bucks took forward Larry Sanders from Virginia Commonwealth.

The 6-foot-11 junior averaged 10.3 points and totaled 776 rebounds in his three-year career in the weak Colonial Athletic Association. But for some reason, Sanders impressed the Bucks’ brass with his athletic and shot-blocking abilities, something they needed badly.

“He is probably the fastest big (man) in the draft,” general manager John Hammond said. “The guy’s speed from end line to end line is absolutely amazing.” Getting a big man who can run the floor is one advantage.

Sanders’ 2.6 blocks per game average last season should make opponents rethink their options when driving the lane. “Players probably started to realize that . . . ‘Why drive the ball if you’re not gonna get to the basket?’ ” Hammond said.

“I think (Sanders) changed an awful lot of shots along the way though.”

Added head coach Scott Skiles: “People stop going in (the lane) when balls are being batted out of there.” Bogut’s blocked shots, said Skiles, came from his defensive skills and not athletic ability.

Both Hammond and Skiles stopped short of calling Sanders a project, despite his lack of offensive skills for the pro game. In fact, Sanders will protect the paint for the defensive-minded Skiles.

At 235 pounds, he can put a body on a power forward to take defensive pressure off forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who guarded players in the post who were bigger in size.

New Mexico’s Darington Hobson, No. 37 in the second round, is an undersized small forward at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds. It’ll be hard for Hobson to get regular playing time in his rookie campaign.

His natural position at the three will put him in a learning curve by watching forwards Ersan Ilyasova, newly-acquired Corey Maggette and Carlos Delfino from the bench.

But you never know what Hammond’s thinking. He might trade Hobson. Jerome Jordan, from Tulsa and 44th overall, is a good project player for the Bucks at 7-feet and 253.

He can either be tough like Kurt Thomas or soft like Dan Gadzuric. Jordan was the pick Golden State gave up when they sent Maggette to Milwaukee for guard Charlie Bell and Gadzuric.

Keith “Tiny” Gallon really isn’t tiny by any standards. The Oklahoma freshman at No.

47 is big but athletic, according to Skiles and Hammond. Gallon might be part of a trade down the road, or he might be sent to the Developmental League.

He tips the scale at a shade under 300 pounds on a 6-foot-9 frame. For Gallon to have a chance of making the roster, he must drop a lot of weight and play like a madman.

It also helps that Jennings played with him for a year in high school at Oak Hill Academy, so they know each other well. Now that the Bucks’ picks are in, it’s time to see if benefits will be reaped.

By the fall, we’ll see if the organization will have the talent to make the playoffs again and get into the second round or further.