Milwaukee Bucks: Who Made The NBA GMs Survey?

Oct 22, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) drives for the basket around Minnesota Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young (33) during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) drives for the basket around Minnesota Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young (33) during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

When talking basketball, it’s always cool to get opinions and thoughts from the guys actually involved in the game themselves. That’s the point in the NBA GMs survey conducted each year. Now that the survey for this season has been released, we can see what GMs are thinking about all kinds of things from around the league.

There were some obvious things on there, like who will win the MVP (LeBron James) or who is the best point guard in the NBA (Chris Paul). But, there are always a few surprises in there.

With such a strong rookie class coming into the league, predicting rookie awards seems pretty tough. In rookie award categories along with an international player category, a couple Milwaukee Bucks made the list.

More from Milwaukee Bucks

Andrew Wiggins was almost a high-risk, high-reward player coming out of Kansas. With superstar potential, taking that risk with the first overall pick was a no-brainer for a Cleveland Cavaliers team that at the time was struggling severely ever since LeBron James departed for South Beach.

Now, things have changed, and taking on the risk of Wiggins was Minnesota’s decision after James returned to Cleveland and paired up with Kevin Love. The Cavs wanted Love from the Timberwolves, and even though they didn’t want to give up Wiggins, they had to in order to get one of the league’s greatest talents.

Wiggins as a rookie will struggle with a rebuilding team in Minnesota, as he isn’t necessarily the most consistent offensive threat. No one is doubting Wiggins will be able to defend at the professional level with his athleticism, and with that athleticism will come explosive dunks and other easy offensive possessions.

While we haven’t had an entire season to watch Wiggins in the NBA, you could almost compare him to what Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been for the Charlotte Hornets in his first two seasons.

Charlotte chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second overall in 2012, and he has been exactly what I explained Wiggins could be above. MKG has defended well and done a good job scoring close to the rim, but nothing more than that.

It’s hard to label MKG a bust just yet, as with so much scoring now around him, his defense and easy buckets alone will make him a key part of what Charlotte hopes to be an eventual championship core.

Wiggins doesn’t have much proven talent around him right now, which is why he might have an easier time padding his scoring numbers. He’ll have more opportunities to shoot, and while his shooting percentages might not be where he wants them, at least his points per game will fare well, right?

Jabari Parker won’t have those problems.

Even with more talent around him than Wiggins, Parker will be Milwaukee’s number 1 scoring option, translating to more points. As Parker plays down low more often than not, his big body will help him bully a lot of NBA guys in the paint.

Even “grown men,” so to speak, will struggle defending Parker, who was widely regarded as the most NBA ready recruit coming into the draft.

NBA GMs put all of this into account while filling out the survey, with 75 percent of them saying Parker will win the Rookie of the Year award this season. Some–but much fewer–of the GMs think Parker will be the best player of this year’s rookie class five years from now, showing they don’t see Wiggins turning out to be the superstar talent many see him becoming.

While these things are almost impossible to predict with their rookie seasons not officially under way yet, one thing seems imminent: Parker will shine in this league.

Bucks’ sophomore Giannis Antetokounmpo also made an appearance on the survey, with GMs predicting him second most likely international player to breakout this season behind only Toronto Raptors’ center Jonas Valanciunas.

Valanciunas has simply been a beast for the Raptors in two seasons. Shooting .673 percent from within three feet of the rim, Valanciunas has proven tough to stop in the post. Also, the seven-foot Lithuanian has cleaned the boards nicely, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game last season.

Staying in the rebound department, Valanciunas ranked 11th in the NBA last season in total offensive rebounds, 19th in defensive rebounds, and 15th in total rebounds overall. With the numbers Valanciunas has posted in only two seasons, it’s hard to disagree with the GMs on this one.

Antetokounmpo, however, could still be in for a breakout season. Jason Kidd experimented with the Greek Freak at various positions in the preseason, showing the 6-foot-11 athletic freak they call a man should play at a position that correlates with his size.

Kidd gave Antetokounmpo a shot at running the point, as well as playing at shooting guard, which is a position current depth charts have him starting the season at. Antetokounmpo didn’t seem comfortable guarding the smaller guards in the preseason, and played down low more often than not on offense.

The NBA has become some sort of a positionless league, but playing a true guard would be much more beneficial to Kidd and the Bucks. If my opinion counts for anything, I believe Antetokounmpo should play at small forward with Parker and Larry Sanders locking up the big men positions, so that he can keep up on defense and not feel pressured to play a different way than he’s used to offensively.

Parker and Antetokounmpo won’t only be fun to watch this season, but they’ll be fun to watch together. That’s right, we get to watch these two paired up this season and hopefully even longer than that.

The NBA GMs got some things right and some things wrong, but in the categories featuring these two young Bucks, I think they hit the nail right on the head.