Bucks Diary

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bucks Prospects: SF Julian Wright

This is my third profile of prospects who might be available to the Bucks at the 6th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Today I'm looking at SF Julian Wright, sophomore from the University of Kansas.

Upside Comparison: Luol Deng
Downside Comparison: Jerry "Ice" Reynolds

What I like about him: I realize I ridiculed this guy a while back after watching Kansas play UCLA in the NCAA tournament (he didn't do much), but now I've amended my view. I actually think he might make a nice addition to the Bucks, and I think, based on Dave Babcock's statements to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, that the Bucks think so, too. Now granted, he doesn't have the gaudy scoring numbers you'd want from a lottery pick, but the Bucks really don't need that from the 3 spot anyway. What he does do is a little of everything: he rebounds, he defends, and he is a good ballhandler and an outstanding passer. But what really makes him an intriguing prospect to me, and what I think gives him an edge over the other equally flawed small forwards who could be available at 6, is his "effective height". By effective height I mean the distance from the bottom of his feet to the highest point he can reach. (That to me is far more relevant to basketball than a player's traditional height or his wingspan. How high a player can reach upward is what makes the difference on the court) By that measure, he's extremely "tall" for a 3. His standing reach is 9'00''. That's higher than almost all of the power forwards in this draft, and its five inches higher than fellow small forward prospects Corey Brewer and Jeff Green, and six inches higher than Al Thornton. That kind of length, coupled with his versatile skills, could make Wright a potentially effective contributor to the Bucks.

What scares me about him: He has no outside shot, so most of his scoring, at least initially, will have to come around the basket or from the mid-range. And that's going to be a problem because he's very skinny and very weak. He weighed in at only 211 pounds, he is not very well muscled, and not very strong at all (he lifted 185 pounds a grand total of two times). Of course, lack of strength -- while a concern -- is not as great a concern for a perimeter player. Tayshaun Prince has done well on the perimeter without much strength or girth. Another problem for Wright is his poor free throw shooting. I wonder if he might shy away from attacking the basket because of that. I also question his confidence. Wright recently told MSNBC, "I'm not saying I'm the next LeBron James or that I'm going to be an impact player right away. I know its a long work in process." So he is basically promoting himself to potential selectors as a longterm project. Nice. But what really scares me about Wright is how much he resembles former Bucks bust Jerry "Ice" Reynolds. The two have nearly the same bodies and nearly the same games. Like Wright, Reynolds was touted as a small forward with versatile skills. Like Wright, Reynolds couldn't shoot. Could Wright follow Reynolds down the toilet?

Bottom Line: This guy is not perfect, but let's be honest, whoever slides to the Bucks at 6 will do so because he has warts. Wright's warts are he's very thin, lacks physical strength, and doesn't have much of an outside shot or touch from the foul line. But, his upside is enticing. He was deceptively productive in college (Eff48: 29.11), he is extremely long for a small forward, he has excellent ball handling skills, he is a willing defender, and his terrific passing ability could add a "point forward" dimension to the Bucks offense that they really haven't had since the mid-80s. Thus, given the other choices that will probably be available to the team at number 6, I wouldn't be that disappointed if this was the guy the Bucks got. But I would have my fingers crossed.


At June 9, 2007 at 12:10 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

Julian will be a decent consolation prize....he could be a cheaper version of Gerald Wallace, although he's a prospect, so no guarantees of anything.

I'm not worried about the Ice Reynolds comparison since Ice was not intelligent at all. Not mature. Not smart. Wright's got a lot more brains and work ethic. And for some NBA players, those characteristics are the difference between being a good pro and floating around the D-League.

At June 9, 2007 at 4:56 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

That's right. I vaguely remember how the Ice Man originally committed to Wisconsin, believe it or not, but then couldn't get in because of academics. Of course, that was no deterrent to LSU and, what was that coaches' name? They gladly took him in.

BTW, when I said he could add a sort of "point forward" dimension that the Bucks have lacked, I must have had a brain cramp, because I forgot completely about Toni Kukoc.

At June 9, 2007 at 4:57 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

Question for you, 25. Which prospects are gaining favor over on the RealGM boards? And, on the flip side, who don't they like?

At June 9, 2007 at 5:17 PM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

RealGM has been pretty much a bar brawl the last two weeks over who the Bucks should pick.

I'd say there is about 80% consenus on Horford if he's there, but most figure he won't be.

So then you've got a number of posters who side up with all 8-9 guys after the first two.

Mike Conley probably gets the second greatest consensus with perhaps 50% of the posters liking him if available.

After that, you have split camps on Brewer, J. Wright, J. Green.

Noah's dropped since he apparently doesn't want to play in Milwaukee. Few on our board consider him can't miss, so no one is concerned about him reportedly not wanting to play here.


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