The long and lanky Milwaukee Bucks became even more so in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft Thursday night.
Under the guidance of new general manager Jon Horst, who was just promoted to the job last Friday, the Bucks selected Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson with the 17th pick of the night.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Wilson averaged 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds during his sophomore campaign, but really started to play well down the stretch for the Wolverines. He had 17 points and six rebounds in a victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and averaged 16 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in the NCAA tournament as Michigan made a run to the Sweet 16.
Wilson’s career got off to a slow start, with a knee injury limiting him to just five games as a freshman. During the 2015-16 season, the California native was used minimally, appearing in 26 games but averaging just 6.1 minutes. His breakout came last season, as he paired with another big man, Moe Wagner, to form one of the better frontcourts in the Big Ten.
Considered more of a finesse scorer, Wilson will join a team stacked with length but in desperate need of some consistent outside shooting, which he should be able to help with, after hitting 37.3 percent of his 3-pointers a year ago.
In the second round, Milwaukee chose South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell with the 48th overall pick, but quickly traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash considerations. They then went and acquired SMU’s Sterling Brown, who had been Philadelphia’s pick at No. 46.
As a senior, Brown averaged 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 44.9 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound, Brown is originally from Maywood, Ill.
MILWAUKEE — He may not have been their first choice, but the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t have to look far to find their next general manager.
The team confirmed on Friday evening that Jon Horst would be the next GM, promoting the 34-year-old from director of player personnel. Horst has been with the Bucks organization since 2008.
It wasn’t exactly a straightforward hire for Milwaukee, who interviewed six candidates on June 5-6 in New York. That field was cut in half and interviewed in Milwaukee the following week. After it appeared the search had come down to Denver Nuggets executive Arturas Karnisovas and interim Bucks GM Justin Zanik, the Nuggets preempted Milwaukee’s next move by promoting him as their general manager.
After Karnisovas withdrew his name from consideration for the Milwaukee job, the feeling around much of the state was that Milwaukee would promote Zanik. That didn’t happen, mainly because of what was perceived to be some disagreement among the ownership group.
“Our No. 1 priority is building a championship-caliber organization and we believe Jon is the right person to be our general manager,” the Bucks’ ownership group said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of basketball operations for the last nine years, and has helped advise us on every major basketball decision since we purchased the team. Jon is very talented, capable, organized and someone we have leaned on for his strategic thinking and ability to execute our vision.”
Horst will be introduced on Monday with a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Reports suggest the Bucks plan to add a veteran executive to work alongside Horst during the transition.
Several big decisions are looming over the Bucks organization within the next few weeks. The NBA Draft begins on Thursday, which also happens to be the deadline for center Greg Monroe to exercise his nearly $18 million player option for a third year on his contract. Guard Tony Snell also becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.
Amid internal strife, the Milwaukee Bucks apparently have their new general manager.
ESPN’s Mark Stein was the first to report the team would officially announce sometime Friday that they were elevating Jon Horst, their current director of basketball operations, to GM.
Earlier on Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ‘The Vertical,’ tweeted there was some “contentious ownership disagreement” over the search for John Hammond’s replacement. While interim GM Justin Zanik had the backing of owner Marc Lasry and coach Jason Kidd, there was no a clear consensus.
Horst has been with Milwaukee since 2008, and there were some reports that suggested that Hammond was considering him for a role with Orlando, where he is now the GM.
Zanik was thought to be the front runner when Hammond left last month, but the team conducted a vast search that has now lasted close to a month. During that time, Zanik has been preparing for the NBA draft, which is less than a week away.