2014 NBA Draft Preview: Milwaukee Bucks

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Picks: 2, 31, 36, 48

Needs: EVERYTHING. The 76ers finished with four more wins than Milwaukee. The 76ers!

The Bucks’ top prospect is Giannis Antetokounmpo, but even he’s not good enough to justify taking anyone other than the best player available. Besides, his best position could end up anywhere between point guard and power forward. He could play with anyone.

John Henson is solid, and Brandon Knight is fine. But drafting based on the presence of players like that is how bad teams remain bad.

Take the best player available.

Trade possibilities: If the Cavaliers don’t pounce first, Maybe Milwaukee can trade down with Philadelphia so the 76ers can get Wiggins. If the Bucks prefer Wiggins for themselves, it’s probably not worth it. But if they want someone else, a well-executed bluff could net extra assets.

Otherwise, not much is cooking, though that could always change before draft night.

Predictions: The Bucks have worked or will work out Embiid, Wiggins, Parker and Dante Exum. Milwaukee is clearly doing its homework, analyzing the consensus top three prospects and even glimpsing the intriguing Exum.

If Joel Embiid falls to No. 2, the Bucks would likely take him. They’re not worried about his back, and they don’t fear a project.

If the Cavaliers take him Embiid No. 1, Milwaukee could go with Parker or Wiggins. The Bucks seems to be trending toward Parker, but they needn’t pass on Wiggins just because Wiggins to Philadelphia is such a hot plan. This simple fact gets lost as mock drafts overwhelm this time of year, but Milwaukee has no obligation to help fulfill a narrative lower in the draft.

Exum at No. 2 is a longshot, though a possibility.

The Bucks could trade a second rounder, but they’re probably better off using all three on cheap talent – maybe even drafting and stashing – and rebuilding in earnest. That’s long overdue.

As long as they don’t draft Parker over Wiggins because Parker’s hometown of Chicago is closer to Milwaukee, they’re doing alright.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.