Milwaukee Bucks Take a Bold Gamble with AJ Johnson at No. 23 in 2024 NBA Draft

Milwaukee Bucks Take a Bold Gamble with AJ Johnson at No. 23 in 2024 NBA Draft
Image Credit: Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks, in their relentless pursuit of versatile players who can make an immediate impact on both ends of the court, have made a controversial yet intriguing move by selecting AJ Johnson with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Known for his raw athleticism and potential, Johnson’s selection has sparked debates among fans and analysts alike.
AJ Johnson, a 6-foot-6 guard from Fresno, California, started his professional career in the National Basketball League (NBL) of Australia, playing for the Illawarra Hawks—the same team that helped launch LaMelo Ball’s NBA journey. During his stint in the NBL, Johnson’s stats were modest, averaging 2.9 points, 0.7 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in just seven minutes of play per game. Despite these unremarkable numbers, the Bucks saw enough promise to take a chance on him in the first round.
Johnson’s draft position surprised many, as several mock drafts projected him to be a second-round pick. However, the Bucks’ front office, guided by head coach Doc Rivers and newly appointed assistant coach Darvin Ham, believed Johnson’s potential fit their long-term vision.
Johnson is known for his explosive athleticism and ability to create his own shots. Standing at 6-foot-6 but weighing only 167 pounds, he has the physical tools to develop into a dynamic scorer and defender. Yet, his slender frame raises concerns about his ability to withstand the physical demands of the NBA. To thrive in the league, Johnson will need to bulk up and improve his strength to avoid being targeted by opposing offenses looking to exploit mismatches.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in a win-now mode, aiming to return to their championship form. With Damian Lillard at the helm, Johnson is expected to provide relief off the bench, injecting energy and offensive spark. The potential departure of guards Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, and TyTy Washington in free agency creates an opportunity for Johnson to earn significant minutes. However, Milwaukee’s history of limiting rookie playing time suggests Johnson may face an uphill battle for substantial court time.
Despite the optimism surrounding Johnson’s athleticism, the reality is that the Bucks have a deep and experienced roster. Veterans like Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton, and Pat Connaughton are expected to command the majority of the playing time. Last season, only second-year player AJ Green and rookie Andre Jackson Jr. saw limited guard minutes, indicating that Johnson’s immediate impact may be minimal.
The Milwaukee Bucks have another pick, the No. 33 overall, in the second round of the draft. Given their current roster composition, they are likely to select the best talent available, continuing to build depth and potential for the future. With championship aspirations driving their decisions, Milwaukee’s draft strategy appears to focus on long-term development while maintaining a competitive edge.
From a journalistic standpoint, the Bucks’ decision to draft AJ Johnson is both bold and controversial. It reflects a willingness to bet on potential rather than immediate production, a strategy that can either pay huge dividends or backfire spectacularly. Johnson’s raw talent is undeniable, but the transition from the NBL to the NBA is a significant leap, and his success will largely depend on his ability to adapt and develop physically.
The Bucks’ approach highlights the complexities and risks inherent in the NBA Draft. Balancing immediate needs with future potential is a delicate act, and only time will reveal whether Milwaukee’s gamble on Johnson was the right call. For now, the spotlight is on this young guard as he begins his journey in the NBA, with all eyes watching to see if he can rise to the occasion.
The 2024 NBA Draft has certainly set the stage for an exciting season ahead, with AJ Johnson at the center of attention. Whether he becomes a future star or a cautionary tale, his story is just beginning, and the basketball world is eager to see how it unfolds.
Alex Turner
What's up, hoops enthusiasts! I'm Alex Turner, a basketball junkie with a playbook for a heart. As a former player and coach, I've taken my love for the game and turned it into a journey of analysis and insight. My articles aim to break down the game's strategies, dissect crucial plays, and offer a glimpse into the tactical intricacies that make basketball an art. From the NBA to college hoops, I'm your go-to guy for decoding the language of the court. Let's dive deep into the world of basketball together!

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