Milwaukee Bucks Learned a Lesson Drafting Robert "Tractor" Traylor

By David Grant
Getty Images
Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks‘ horrible season is in the home stretch and there is the 2014 NBA Draft at the end of the tunnel. The Bucks will have a top 5 choice in a loaded draft. The selection analysis will be comprehensive, but the Bucks should also remember the lesson of drafting a player for talent versus need. In the 1998 NBA Draft, Milwaukee selected Robert Tractor Traylor, a pick based more on need than best available.

The Bucks wanted to put Traylor in a lineup with Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and Ray Allen. He was to add rebounding and toughness inside. (Spoiler Alert: This never happened.) A deal was struck with Dallas Mavericks to select Traylor with the sixth pick and then trade to Milwaukee for their selection at No. 9, Dirk Nowitzki. Yes, there is a very good chance Mavericks would have selected Nowitzki had they not had a deal in place, but the Bucks still passed on Paul Pierce, selected at No. 10 in order to get the player they coveted and felt they needed in Traylor.

This year there is a very good chance that Joel Embiid will be, per scouts, the best available player in the draft. The Bucks have Larry Sanders and his new extension already slotted at the center position. Other superstars will include Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart, all great players who could fill gaps for Milwaukee.  Assuming Embiid is healthy and is the better player, the Bucks must consider the consequences of passing on a better player for one who fits their present lineup needs.

David is a NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant

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