The Bucks haven’t had much success since the century mark, failing to make it out of the first round six straight playoff appearances dating back to 2000-01 season when they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Milwaukee has really struggled to draft since 2000, and for a team in a smaller market, that’s so crucial when building a winning team.
The good news? It looks like Milwaukee has the building blocks in place to have a bright future, assuming they can keep both Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo long-term.
With those two versatile swingman as staples on the roster, the future looks bright for the Bucks. It will be up to head coach Jason Kidd to fill out the roster with the role players necessary for Milwaukee to take that next step.
Who are Milwaukee’s top draft picks since the 2000 draft?
Honorable mention: Jon Leuer (Rd 2, pick 40 in 2011), John Henson (Rd 1, pick 14 in 2012), Ramon Sessions (Rd 2, pick 56 in 2007), Keith Bogans (Rd 2, pick 43 in 2003), Ersan Ilyasova (Rd 2, pick 36 in 2005)
5. Brandon Jennings (Rd 1, pick 10 in 2009)
Career stats: 15.5 points, 5.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 34.9 three-point percentage
After committing to USC, and then decommitting and deciding to go to Arizona, Jennings had another change of plans and became the first American to skip college to play professionally in the Euroleague. In July 2008, Jennings signed with Lottomatica Roma of the Italian Serie A, for a deal that netted the high schooler $1.65 million. After an inefficient season averaging 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals in 27 games, he entered the 2009 draft.
The Bucks drafted him 10th overall in ‘09, and he was far better than anyone imagined as a rookie. He scored 55 points in a single game, besting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s team record for most points by a rookie, and the second-most points scored in Bucks history.
Overall, though, Jennings inefficient play through his first four seasons didn’t get him a contract extension, and he was signed-and-traded in July 2013 to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Viacheslav Kravtsov.
4. Jabari Parker (Rd 1, pick 2 in 2014)
Career stats: 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals
Parker was the obvious choice for the Bucks at 2nd overall in 2014 after a standout freshman season at Duke. The former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American had been on the NBA radar for a while after becoming the first freshman in Simeon High School history to start as a freshman. Parker fit the mold as a versatile, hybrid forward that could play multiple positions, and that made him an ideal fit long-term next to Antetokounmpo.
Parker showed flashes during his rookie season, but unfortunately tore his ACL mid-December which caused him to miss the rest of the season and the first five games of 2015-16. Parker came back healthy early last season, and while he struggled with injuries at times, finished the season strong. Parker should be a building block that the Bucks can build around for years to come.
3. Andrew Bogut (Rd 1, pick 1 in 2005)
Career stats: 10.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.6 blocks
Bogut has to be in the top three of this list after becoming the first Australian drafted first overall after two seasons at Utah; the latter included National Player of the Year honors. While the Bucks could have taken potential Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul (drafted 4th) or even perennial (before the injuries) All-Star Deron Williams (drafted 3rd), Bogut was solid during his time in Milwaukee (12.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks) including All-NBA Third team honors in 2010.
The Bucks ended up trading Bogut in March 2012 along with Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown. He helped Golden State reach the NBA Finals over the last few years of his career, before being traded again to Dallas this past summer. Bogut hasn’t been dominant throughout his career like many former top overall picks, but he’s been a stable, winning presence wherever he’s been.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Rd 1, pick 15 in 2013)
Career stats: 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.0 steals
Giannis was the top overall pick in my 2013 redraft, and his length, fluidity and skillset make him an obvious choice at second overall on this list. Nicknamed “The Greek Freak”, his talent and uniqueness are off the charts for an NBA player, and his versatility make him one of the most interesting players in the league. It’s crazy to think he fell to 15th in 2013, but the Bucks were able to take him and find a building block for their future.
Antetokounmpo can play (and has played) all five positions on the floor at this stage of his career. So far this season, the Bucks have been much better with Antetokounmpo on the floor offensively, while falling off a cliff when he’s on the bench. It’s not a surprise given his unusually size and skill that he’s developed so quickly, and it’s only a matter of time before The Greek Freak earns his first All-Star nod.
1. Michael Redd (Rd 2, pick 43 in 2000)
Career stats: 19.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 38.0 three-point percentage
Redd is one of my favorite players of all-time and happens to be Milwaukee’s best selection since the year 2000, barely edging out Antetokounmpo. Redd deserves this spot after being drafted in the mid-second round in 2000 and turning himself into one of the most prolific scorers in Bucks history (4th all-time), an NBA All-Star in 2004 and gold medalist in 2008. His ability to shoot from deep (2nd most threes in Bucks history) and score the ball from anywhere made him a special threat offensively.
However, Redd’s career took a turn for the worst in January 2009 when he tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee. Redd returned the following season but ended up re-tearing his ACL and MCL again on the same knee. After 14 months, Redd returned again and played 10 games in 2010-11. In 2011-12, he left the Bucks after 11 seasons and played one final season in Phoenix before retiring in November 2013. He was a great scorer in Milwaukee and probably deserved more attention nationally than he received.