BUCKS BEAT: Top draft prospects take a pass

2013-06-24T23:42:00Z 2013-06-24T23:48:50Z BUCKS BEAT: Top draft prospects take a passGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times

The Milwaukee Bucks have done their due diligence in preparation for Thursday night’s draft, having worked out a host of potential first- and second-round prospects.

Yet, the Bucks, who have the 15th overall pick, would have preferred to have brought in even more draft candidates. That’s because at least five players who are projected to be late-lottery or middle first-round choices declined to work out for them.

That list includes two point guards: Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.

“We certainly hoped to get them in here, but it’s very understandable why they didn’t come here,” Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney said. “The chances are very good they’ll be picked before us at 15.”

Indeed, Carter-Williams and McCollum figure to be top 10 selections. Of course, that was the consensus opinion of NBA officials before last year’s draft about forward John Henson.

However, much to the delight of the Bucks, Henson slid to them at 14.

The Bucks also weren’t able to work out three other players who could be on the board when they select.

They are small forward Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA, small forward Sergey Karasev of Russia and center Mason Plumlee of Duke.

Muhammad has only worked out for teams drafting ahead of the Bucks while Karasev had one open workout in Las Vegas — which the Bucks didn’t attend because they were conducting their own workout at the same time — before returning to Russia. Mark Bartelstein, Plumlee’s agent, declined an invitation to work out for the Bucks because the team’s glut of big men.

LAST CHANCE: The Bucks will hold their final workout Tuesday morning at the Cousins Center in St. Francis.

Allen Crabbe, a shooting guard from California, is expected to be on hand. Ditto for Glen Rice Jr., who has already worked out for the Bucks.

NO BIG DEAL: Alex Len is on the verge of becoming a millionaire.

Not that he really cares.

Len, the former Maryland standout center, is expected to be a top five selection in the draft. Some think he has a legitimate chance to be the No. 1 pick.

I asked Len what he intends to do with his new-found wealth.

“I’m going to give it to my mother,” Len said of his mother and best friend, Julie. “I never had money before and I don’t really need it now. I just need a little money for some food and clothes. That’s about it.

“She raised me and took care of me to give me a better life. Now it’s my time to take care of her and make a better life for her.”

BONUS SHOTS: The Bucks were impressed with San Diego State shooting guard Jamaal Franklin, even though he only performed individual drills. Franklin intends to work out for the Atlanta Hawks for the second time today. The Hawks have the 17th and 18th picks. … The Bucks have drafted out of the 15th slot on just two occasions in their history: They selected center Larry Sanders in 2010 and chose forward Jason Collier in 2000. … Former Bucks power forward Scott Williams is being considered as the Bucks new “big man” coach. … Conspicuous by his absence at the Bucks’ workout Monday: assistant general manager Jeff Weltman, who is expected to take a similar job with Toronto any day now. … Dario Saric’s decision to opt out of the draft was somewhat puzzling, especially since he appeared to have a lottery guarantee. Marc Cornstein, the Croatian’s agent, told me, “I can definitively tell you he wouldn’t have gotten to the Bucks.” … One scout told me McCollum is a “Mo Williams type.” … Besides Dallas, another team drafting ahead of the Bucks that is apparently receptive to trading its pick is Philadelphia, which has the 11th overall choice.

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