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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NBA Draft Aftermath

Back at last! Vacation time and other obligations coincided with a very slow news period for Wisconsin Badger basketball, luckily, but the NBA Draft is an event that I cannot let pass without comment.

The Milwaukee Bucks were major players this year and I loved the acquisition of Richard Jefferson. Sure, the team bailed on Yi too early, but RJ is an All-Star right now. One report says that Jefferson is upset about being sent to Milwaukee, which doesn't endear him to fans one bit. Personally, I have never cared for him much and viewed him as a cry baby at times. Regardless, clearing Bobby Simmons and his contract from the Bucks roster gets thumbs up from me on this trade.

New GM John Hammond continued to add pieces at small forward, however, with the addition of West Virginia's Joe Alexander with the eighth overall pick. Alexander was one of a few players I really liked for the Bucks at that spot, after he erased speculation about his athleticism in pre-draft workouts. His scoring and collegiate ability to raise his game on a big stage are both intriguing.

"Vanilla Sky" was a big hit on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning [audio] and seemed to have a great personality. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel surveyed the critiques of Milwaukee's top pick, with generally good reviews.

I do not agree with the second-round pick (#37) of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. I like the idea behind it--getting a long-limbed, potential lock-down defender--but disagree with the execution. On a team that just added Jefferson and Alexander and already has Desmond Mason and Villanueva, when will Luc ever see the floor. Wouldn't Kyle Weaver have filled an even bigger need by putting a smart, defensive-minded player in the backcourt to aid Mo and Redd?

I think comparisons between Mbah a Moute and Bruce Bowen are far-fetched. Bowen is a huge success story; if LRMaM can add a deadly 3-point stroke, then I will gladly be dead wrong. The Bucks passed up opportunites to go big in the second round, with a player like Trent Plaisted or Hendrix, and now having glaring depth issues up front. The same goes for the backcourt, where Milwaukee must have been too content with Sessions and the poo-poo platter off the bench to go for Weaver.

Speaking of Weaver, he should have every opportunity to fit in with Charlotte. With Brian Butch going undrafted, Weaver was the closest thing to a local kid for Badger fans to root for at the 2008 NBA Draft. I am very pleased to see him do well and will keep rooting for Kyle. As for Butch, supposedly he will be playing in an NBA summer league with Atlanta. Jay Bilas feels going undrafted is the best route for a guy like Butch, who must find the right fit since he was not impressive on the pre-draft circuit.

Badger Accolades
Other than Butch's quest for the NBA, Wisconsin fans have had little to follow in recent weeks. However, the program and its leader each received a figurative shot in the arm recently. Head coach Bo Ryan was inducted into the Chester-area chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, the Big Ten Network named the Wisconsin basketball team its Men's Team of the Year. [video]

- Adding Tyson Chandler as the top alternate for Team USA is good news. His rapport with Chris Paul could be just what the national team needs to solidify its thin frontcourt.
- featured a detailed write-up about the in-state talent at the Whiz Kids tourney on MSOE's campus last month, which included a rumor that the top prep player in Wisconsin from the Class of 2011, Larry Bradley, may be looking to transfer. I hope for UW's sake that he does not wind up at Milwaukee Bay View, which has seen several of its talented players struggle with academics.

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