The Milwaukee Bucks are in full tank mode and may end with the worst record in the league. This year’s top draft choices expect to be future stars and top prizes for teams that are tanking. Their history of draft choices is full of high and low moments, and one of questionable draft picks was the Bucks’ selection of Yi Jianlian as a lottery pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
The team thought they had drafted the next Yao Ming. Yi started off fairly well, demonstrating his ability to score (16 points in home opener against the Chicago Bulls) and was compared to Yao even by Yao himself who stated:
“If you compare us in our third NBA games, you will see that Yi’s statistics are far better than mine.”
After that the wheels came off, and honestly you could see it coming from a mile away. For one, Yi was skinny, almost frail by NBA standards. Teams learned quickly that once you put a body on Yi he was useless, unable to fight through the defense. When he did get free, Yi showed potential, but he was never consistent and was too easy a target on defense. Teams built offensive games around attacking Yi, typically the weakest defender on the court.
Taking chances in the draft is part of the game. Drafting a player based on potential rarely works and typically results in a team making excuses for a player. This year the draft is loaded with known commodities. Injuries are unforeseen risks and can’t be controlled, but here is to hoping Milwaukee drafts a player NBA ready and not a pick built around hope.
David is a NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant