It feels like ages since Milwaukee Bucks have had a first-round pick in the draft, especially since general manager Jon Horst has taken over in the front office. However this season they have got their first-round pick, but it seems that they will be trading their pick in order to acquire a veteran player, and all the signs are pointing to it.
Milwaukee hasn’t kept a player they drafted in the first round in nearly four years. Horst has been the general manager for five years and has only picked two first-round players in that time–D.J. Wilson in 2017 and Donte DiVincenzo in 2018. That streak will almost certainly continue for at least another year.
Milwaukee owes Houston their 2023 first-rounder, as well as a slew of first-rounders to the New Orleans Pelicans thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade (their 2025 and 2027 firsts, as well as a pick swap in 2024 and 2026), but they only have control of their own pick every other year until 2028 due to the Stepien Rule, which states that a team cannot trade consecutive first-rounders ahead of time. As a result, this year is unusual.
Horst answered questions on the draught and other things during his pre-draft interview last week. He’s already discussing the choice as to if it were a valuable asset for a veteran rather than a rookie. “I think you want to maximize the value of the asset…” Horst said, “I think that you can maximize the value of that asset relative to the need on your team in different ways. It could be trading it outright for something that can help you, attaching it for something that can help you, or drafting a player that’s ready now and can grow with you. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t draft a player that can’t really contribute now and really has a big-time horizon and big upside. That’s something we’ll always look at. But I think those other options, in the past, have been more attractive to us and I think we’ve gotten great benefit out of it and I think we’ll continue to focus on those.”