The Milwaukee Bucks continue racing to the bottom of the standings and top of the draft this season. This year’s top draft choices expect to be future stars and top prizes for teams that are tanking. All eyes are on Duke forward Jabari Parker, one of those prizes; however, there is a teammate that is starting to gain momentum as a draft prospect. Is Rodney Hood worthy of a lottery pick?
Two years ago, Hood played for Mississippi State, transferring to Duke and sitting out a year (due to transfer and injury). This year, Hood is back on the court and has shown improvement. Hood is 6-foot-8, a capable jump shooter and 3-point shooter, and has no problem getting the ball in the hoop and generating offense.
His defense leaves a lot to be desired. Questions around intensity and strength needed to defend the forward position have plagued Hood since he played at Mississippi.
For the Bucks, with their defensive frontcourt, they would be able to compensate for Hood’s defensive inefficiencies; the question is whether or not Hood’s offense is enough of an asset to balance this reasoning. This season, he is putting up 16.3 points a game in 32 minutes. Although not jaw-dropping, Hood continues to show improvement and could really help himself with a good showing in this year’s tournament.
His recent numbers have elevated his prospect level to a first-round lottery pick, maybe top-10 pick.
The Bucks are expecting to have a top-three pick in the draft. At this time, partially due to lack of sample size, Hood looks more like a prospect than a sure thing. This could change if he turns into Duke’s go-to-guy down the stretch.
Bottom line: Hood is turning heads and demands attention for the balance of the season. The Bucks need to get this pick right and need a sure thing. Assuming the Bucks keep their pick and are looking for an offensive forward, Parker continues to be the right pick.
David is a NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant