Bucks prospects: PF Brandan Wright
The second installment of "Bucks prospects", a look at college players who may end up being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the sixth pick in the draft, focuses on Brandan Wright, the 6'10'', 210 pound PF out of the University of North Carolina.
Upside Comparison: Chris Bosh (of course)
Downside Comparison: Any number of extemely athletic but misfit PFs, including but not limited to former Buck bust Marcus Haislip.
What I like about him: Wright appears to be an extremely athletic PF who possesses a nice baby hook and is extremely "long" (that's all the rage these days -- which makes one wonder why the Bucks parted with a high second round pick for the Tyranosauras Rex named Damir Markota). I've seen his skill level described in various places as "freakish", which is the lazy man's way of saying he can jump high and put down nice dunks, but that he is, alas, still kind of "working on" those pesky fundamentals of basketball.
What scares me about him: Everything. You may think I've lost my mind raising the specter of Haislip with this guy, but hear me out. A lot of people describe Wright as the second coming of Chris Bosh. Well, he better be... Bosh is the only known example of a power forward in the Association who stands 6'10'' tall and weighs only 210 pounds. Bosh is therefore the exception that proves the rule. You generally need physical strength to play the 4. (By the way, any of you regular size Americans who have visited the scales lately, that is not a typo. This guy is nearly seven feet tall and yet somehow only weighs 210 pounds! Paging the welterweight version of Thomas Hearns). Bosh overcomes his physical weakness by utilizing many 3 skills at the 4 position: he can take stronger guys outside or beat them off the dribble. Wright doesn't appear to have those kind of skills. He will be forced to "outathlete" his NBA foes. That's where my Haislip comparison comes in. Haislip, like Wright, is a tremendous athlete. Tall and long. But he is essentially an inside player who wasn't strong enough to establish himself inside. So he got nothing done. Obviously Wright has a much more developed game than Haislip ever had, but he still may run into the same problems as Haislip did. Haislip quickly found out you can't jump over everybody in the NBA, and you have to be somewhat physical to be an effective rebounder. Might Wright discover the same things?
Beyond those difficulties is the practical question. I ask you, exactly how does Wright fit in with the Bucks? We've already got a soft forward masquerading as a power forward and a finesse center. Are we going to draft Wright and then just cede the lane entirely to our opponents? I don't see how it works for Milwaukee. Adding Wright to the current frontline would be like adding marshmallows to Jell-O. Nicer looking, but essentially just squishier.
One final point. You may acknowledge that Wright's lack of strength is going to be a problem for him initially, but you may talk that away by insisting that Wright will "put on weight". Don't you believe it! They never put on weight. Skinny interior players have been saying they will "put on weight" for centuries and it just never happens. Name me one player who has come into the Association as a skinny guy and eventually emerged as a buff professional. Maybe Jermaine O'Neal. Maybe. But beyond that, I can't think of any. But I can name several who came into the Association skinny and stayed essentially the same throughout their careers (Ralph Sampson, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Bradley, Tyson Chandler, Marcus Haislip ).
Bottom line: This guy may be a superstar. He may be the best player in the draft. He may have more upside than Mount Everest. But he may also be just another in a long line of "athletic freaks" who washed out in the NBA because they couldn't find a position to call home (a recent example is Marvin Williams). And, anyway, Wright doesn't appear to fit the Bucks current roster or stated need for more "physical" players. So I just don't see him going to the Bucks.