5. Talen Horton-Tucker
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a prime example of the Bucks’ draft philosophy over the past decade, which emphasized drafting long athletes and counting on the coaching staff to coach up skills that may be lacking. Players such as John Henson, Thon Maker, Rashad Vaughn and D.J. Wilson all fit that mold.
The singular focus on length has probably left along with former general manager John Hammond, who’s now drafting a collection of Mr. Fantastics for the Orlando Magic. But the Bucks are likely to continue valuing large wingspans, and that could lead them to Talen Horton-Tucker.
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A 6’4” wing out of Iowa State, Horton-Tucker has a 7’1” wingspan; that’s good for a “+9” wingspan, a number that is tops in this draft class. That wingspan will allow Horton-Tucker to defend larger, taller players — think 6’7” Draymond Green guarding centers with his 7’1″ wingspan. While he is probably not a future 5, Horton-Tucker projects as being able to guard both forward positions.
Offensively, he’s able to make plays with the ball in his hands, attacking opposing defenders and using a surprisingly diverse portfolio of moves to get near the rim, where his long reach gives him options from angles and distances unavailable to most players. His outside shooting was suspect with the Cyclones (30.8 percent from 3-point range), but his release should be adjustable and could lead to a significant improvement in that area.
Other than his physical frame, the other thing to like about Horton-Tucker is that he won’t turn 19 until after the NBA season begins. The possibility he can add to his game is high, and the possibility he could even add to his frame is possible. If an NBA team thinks it can clean up his shot selection and form — and Milwaukee should feel reasonably confident of this, given Mike Budenholzer’s track record with developing wings — Horton-Tucker could be a steal at No. 30.