Tag Archives: Beno Udrih

Bucks draft 18-year-old Tobias Harris at No. 19, Badger big man Jon Leuer at No. 40

Forwards — wings and college big forwards more likely to play small forward in the NBA — are John Hammond’s modus operandi in the draft.  He took three of them with his first six picks as Bucks GM, and now he’s drafted a fourth — Tobias Harris, who played a season at University of Tennessee.

Oddly enough, though, there’s little talk of him at Bucks Draft Central, not even a mention from Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney.  Harris worked out this past Tuesday (the 21st) with Marshon Brooks, Jon Leuer, Josh Selby (Kansas) and Chris Singleton (FSU).  Only Singleton was off the board when the Bucks selected.

Tobias HarrisTobias Harris – Tennessee – Freshman
7/15/92 – 6’8” – 226 lbs – Forward

  • Named Second-Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches, an SEC All-Freshman Team pick and USBWA Second Team Freshman All-American
  • Full-time starter in his freshman year, averaging 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 29.2 minutes
  • As a high school senior, was a finalist for the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award

At the workout, Marshon Brooks, the leading scorer in the Big East and the 25th pick by the Celtics (then traded to New Jersey for Jujuan Johnson of Purdue and a 2012 second round pick), received most of the attention, the thinking being at the time that the Bucks were looking for a shooting guard.

Knicks fans in attendance at the draft were calling for Brooks as well, and, obviously the Celtics and the Nets were high enough on Brooks to draft him and then construct a trade over him.

After acquiring three guards in the trade with the Kings and Bobcats today (Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih and Shawn Livingston), the Bucks “shooting guard thinking” went out the window.

But still, not a single mention of Tobias Harris on the Bucks draft and workout resource.  I’m not sure what that means.

At 18 years old, Harris was the youngest American college player in the draft.

The Bobcats just took world-traveling big man Jeremy Tyler, making Jordan’s haul today Maggette, Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker and Tyler.

The Bucks are on the clock with the No. 40 pick.  There’s been talk of Jon Leuer for the Bucks in the second round…

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Leuer was the pick.  That’s a good choice for the Bucks – 6-11 big forward who can shoot, handle the ball, make plays and comes out of a defensive program.  No, he’s not an NBA defensive player, not yet, but you got the feeling the Bucks were hoping he might fall to No. 40 after he worked out on Tuesday with Harris and Brooks.

Jon Leuer – Wisconsin – Senior
5/14/89 – 6’10” – 228 lbs – Forward

  • Led Wisconsin with 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in his senior season; finished 12th in school history in career points (1,376)
  • Earned 2010-11 First-Team All-Big Ten honors and honorable mention AP All-American
  • Ranked fifth in the league in rebounding and third in free throw percentage (.843)

Here’s what Billy McKinney said about Leuer Tuesday.

“(There is) not much to dislike about Jon, the way he plays. Of course, being in our backyard, we’ve had an opportunity to watch him play quite a bit. We call him a stretch four that also has the ability to score out of the low post. He’s a little better athlete than people give him credit for, a little better shooter than people think he is. We like him. Of course, we’re not thinking about him with the 10th pick in the draft. Potentially, every guy here at the workout today has an opportunity to possibly go in the first round.”

I like the thinking here with Leuer.   The Bucks didn’t ovethink the 2nd round pick – they just scooped up a rangy, versatile big man who scored 18 a game and won in the Big Ten.  Some are going to dog Leuer over his Big Ten tourney game against Purdue and his poor game against Butler, but … that was March Madness.

Leuer’s game is too good to ignore, and picking him capped a very productive day in Bucks-land.

Bucks trade No. 10 pick, John Salmons and Corey Maggette

This just in from Georgia, where my pal Johnny, noted Royal Ivey fan, was on the road listening to ESPN radio:

The Bucks No. 10 pick is gone, and with it John Salmons and Corey Maggette.

ESPN reported today that the Bucks have agreed to trade the pick to Sacramento as part of a 3-team deal that sent Corey Maggette and Sacramento’s No. 7 pick to Michael Jordan’s rebuilding Hornets team (which now has the No. 7 and No. 9 picks).

Bucks shooting guard John Salmons returns to Sacramento, where he became an 18 ppg scorer (in 2007-08), to the Kings team that signed him in free agency from Philly. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Salmons.

The Bucks get Charlotte shooting guard Stephen Jackson, reserve Shaun Livingston and the Bobcats No. 19 pick.  From the Kings, the Bucks receive a tall, lefty, good-vision point guard who can shoot, Beno Udrih.

There’s no need to sit and wonder why.  Yesterday, I wrote that the Bucks “would improve quicker and with more alacrity if they use the pick to dump the junk on their roster and try to bring in an NBA player (not a college kid) to back up John Salmons.”

The Salmons-with-a-rookie-backing-him-up idea never sounded very good.  Improvement in that scenario relied on Salmons bouncing back from his worst season since 2006-07, when he was a Sixer, and then on an untested college player.

I did think Salmons would bounce back. Fish sprained his knee last summer in a Philly pick-up game and was never fully healthy last season in 72 games.  His shooting suffered mightily from a series of dings and muscle pulls in his legs, and he often seemed sluggish on the court.  2011-12 may turn out to be his best, most consistent season as a pro, and there are few 2-guard defenders in the NBA as good as Salmons.  That story, unfortunately, will unfold in Sacramento while Bucks fans learn to love (and hate) Stephen Jackson.

Stephen Jackson, slated now to be the Bucks starting shooting guard, is — like Salmons — one of the better 2-guard defenders in the league, an aggressive competitor whom Scott Skiles will love (though ESPN is already reporting that Jackson’s not happy about the prospect of playing in Milwaukee).   This seems odd for a guy who played the early years of career with the small-market Pacers.

(It turns out Jackson was drafted by Phoenix when Skiles was a Suns assistant to Danny Ainge.  Skiles and Jackson spoke yesterday, had a good long talk and everything’s fine).

It should be noted, however, that even when healthy Jackson has not shot as well in his career as even a sluggish, limping Salmons did last season, a sobering reality for Bucks fans who certainly don’t need any more sobering realities.

But it should also be noted that Jackson’s 2-year/$19.3 million contract is not as lengthy as the 3-plus years remaining for Salmons, and he’s $1.5 million cheaper than Maggette, which means the trades carve out a savings of $1 million next season.

(On re-read edit, that last note looks completely absurd, now that we realize that Bucks owner Herb Kohl is writing of millions in player depreciation every year and kept Michael Redd around because, more than anything, Redd was a walking tax shelter.)

Jackson’s Career averages:  16.3 pts, 41.8% field goal shooting, 33.9% 3-point shooting, a brawl in the stands in Detroit and a couple of recent run-ins with Luc Mbah a Moute and Salmons, who have consistently D-ed up on Jackson a little tougher than Captain Jack prefers.

Shooting, as Bucks fans know too well, is not high priority for a Skiles team that makes constant pressure defense, forcing turnovers and strong rebounding its calling cards.  Jackson’s streaky shooting will drive Bucks fans nuts, but he’s got the defensive requisites covered.

As the Bob Boozer Jinx editorial board broke open a 30-pack of Pabst, threw some cheap-o pizzas in the oven and settled in for the NBA draft special, we came to one conclusion:  In addition to moving Maggette, who proved incapable of playing Skiles-worthy defense, the key to the deal may turn out to be …

Beno Udrih, a tall, rangy, left-handed, pass first point guard who can stick a jumper.  Udrih, who’s had some great floor games against Jennings in the last two seasons, will be slated to back up Jennings and Jackson (given Keyon Dooling’s limitations and inability to run an offense or a fast break).  The idea that he’ll be like Luke Ridnour and share the court with Jennings for some rotations, is already gathering steam in the Bucks camp.  It’s a good idea, and could prove to be explosive offensively despite the defensive limitations of the principals.  A Jennings-Udrih-Delfino-Mbah a Moute-Bogut rotation has a nice ring to it.

Udrih last season for the Kings: 13.7 pts, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals in 34 minutes per game.   Beno shot 50% from the floor, 35.7% from downtown and 86.4 percent from the line.

As far as the Bucks go, only Ersan Ilyasova, who made 50 percent of his two-point jump shots last season and shot 89% from the line, is as reliable as Udrih from the outside.

Ersan, by the way, is still a Buck.  The rumors about the Bucks trading Ilysovsa for a draft pick haven’t panned out, as the Kings are about to announce their pick which will go to the Bobcats with Maggette.

THE DRAFT

The Bobcats at No. 7 went with Bismack Biyombo, 6-9, 245 defensive phenom with a 7-7 wingspan who dominated the 2011 18-year-old Nike Hoops Summit.  Biyombo, from the Republic of Congo, was absolutely monstrous in the paint in that game, and was a player that many Bucks fans had hoped would fall to No. 10.

Biyombo, Maggette and the Cats also have the No. 9 pick.

Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard are still on the board, as the Pistons selected Brandon Knight at No. 8.  (I would have taken Walker ahead of Knight).

Texas big forward Tristan Thompson went No. 4 to the Cavs, the surprise of the draft so far.

The Bucks have the Bobcats No. 19 pick, where they should find a decent player, possibly a center such as Nikola Vucevic or Keith Benson, possibly Donatas Motiejunas.  Marshon Brooks may even fall to No. 19, though he’s been on the rise and this doesn’t seem likely.

Michael Jordan’s haul today for the Bobcats … Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker.

Bucks in the West: As the ROY race tightens …

Bucks @ Denver Nuggets, 8:00 pm CST, FsWis

Double OT: Bucks 114, Kings 108

This one never seemed to be going well, even in the first half when Brandon Jennings was hitting five three balls and the Bucks maintained a 5-7 point edge throughout, only to see it cut to one at halftime. Rarely does so much deadeye long range bombing go for naught.

That’s because a lot of other things weren’t going so well for the Bucks. Andrew Bogut was big in the paint but the shots weren’t falling (7-18, late in the 4th) and his free throws (1-6) had reverted to last year’s clanking form. The Kings’ 21-year-old center, Spencer Hawes, was getting loose in and around the paint for putback dunks and other short range damage (18 pts, 8 rebs, 6 assists) while Kings guard Beno Udrih was having the game of his life, slashing, twisting and leaning his way to a season-high 26 pts and 9 assists. Udrih averages 12.2 pts per game.

And then there was Carl Landry, sent to Sacramento from Houston as part of the deal that sent Tracy McGrady to the Knicks. As usual, Landry was everywhere the Bucks didn’t want him to be. After Jennings sank one (his 8th of the game) from downtown to pull the Bucks within 2 at 84-82, a Landry lay-in, a Udrih three and a putback by Ime Udoka (yes, he’s killed the Bucks on the glass before) made it 91-82 as the clock ticked under the 2-minute mark.

What was going on in Sacramento? Hawes, Udrih, Udoka? Who are these guys? This was supposed to be the battle of the Rookie of the Year contenders, Jennings and Tyreke Evans (who would soon be headed for the trainers’ room, his jaw split after a collision with an Ersan Ilyasova elbow on a rebounding play). Jennings wasn’t matched on Evans — he guarded Udrih, the Kings point guard. John Salmons took the Evans assignment.

Then the advantages the Bucks had been looking for all night arrived, all in the space of two minutes. Ilyasova hit a jumper. Udrih missed on a drive and, when Hawes grabbed the rebound, he foolishly shot instead of running clock.  Ex-King Salmons hit for three to make it 91-87. Landry did what he rarely does against the Bucks — he missed. Bogut dunked (that’ll improve the offensive efficiency) off a Salmons dish, and it was down to two.

Two Kings free throws, a Salmons three, more Kings free throws and a high arcing 27-foot bomb from Ilyasova tied the game and sent it into OT. The Kings never stood a chance. They lived to fight a second OT but were playing uphill the entire 10 minutes of extra play. The Bucks had finally found their groove 46 mins into regulation, not a second too late.

And Hawes could have won it by simply NOT shooting with a fresh shot clock and about a minute-and-a-half to play. Though he’s 21 (soon to be 22), he’s in his 3rd pro season and has probably been playing roundball since he was a little Spencer. There’s no excuse for getting greedy at the prospect of winning the boxscore battle against a rising All-Pro center who’s had a big feature article at yahoo.com staring a nation of the NBA obsessed in their million mosaic face at yahoo.com. Why else would the hoop look so tempting? Hawes lost the boxscore battle anyway, as though it were the moral to a Red Auerbach basketball fable. Bogut finished with 21 pts, 11 boards, two blocks and two steals, and never quit playing (Hawes kinda disappeared). Let this be a lesson to young Spencer, who does seem to have a bright future ahead if the Kings stick with him.

In the 12 mins spanning the final two minutes of regulation and two OTs, the Bucks outscored the Kings 32-17.  Salmons led with 12 , Ilyasova added 7,  Bogut 6, Jennings 4 (35 on the night) and Delfino finally hit his first three of the night. It was too much for Sacramento, a team built for youth, not necessarily for crunchtime grit and savvy.

That’s not to say that the Bucks are old pros at this. Earlier in the season, they might have lost this one. But after 33 games settled by three points or less and seven overtimes (won 2, lost 5), the Bucks may be getting the hang of this.  Having Salmons around to bail them out in the clutch certainly doesn’t hurt the cause.  Here are the highlights:

The Bucks starters played heavy minutes to finish the Kings off (53 mins for Salmons, 45 for Bogut, 45 for Jennings and 47 for Delfino).  If I were Scott Skiles (and I’m not) I’d give Bogut tonight off in Denver and take it easy on his primary rotation mates, giving the bench players an opportunity to find their rhythm. Name any one of them other than Ersan — they’re out of sync and struggling, and could use some extended playing time together.

The Bucks play Eastern conference rival the Atlanta Hawks at the BC Monday in a game that has all sorts of implications for the Bucks. The Hawks are a measuring stick of the Bucks progress, a very possible Round One playoff opponent and a team the Bucks have yet to beat this year. It’s the first game of a 5-game homestand which the Bucks may have visions of sweeping if their legs aren’t dead from the road. They’ve already beaten Denver this year, Nov. 11 at the BC. No need to wear the starters out going for a season sweep in the West that would be tough enough to get when well-rested.

Puppy love: Brandon Jennings has a crush on Ciara.  Apparently, he tells all in the next issue of GQ Magazine, coming soon to a newstand near you.  My advice: Don’t buy GQ — just click this link and read all about it at Ball Don’t Lie. They’re all over it, got an advanced copy of the mag, like, really.

Ciara who?