BUCKS BLOG: Milwaukee has its eye on Caldwell-Pope

2013-06-13T23:43:00Z 2013-12-09T19:20:25Z BUCKS BLOG: Milwaukee has its eye on Caldwell-PopeGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times

There is a sentiment among some NBA officials that the Milwaukee Bucks will use their top draft pick — the 15th overall — on a shooting guard.

It certainly would make sense.

With Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick likely to bolt to other teams during free agency in July, the Bucks will have a gaping hole at the two-guard spot. Fortunately for the Bucks, there are several intriguing shooting guards in the draft. One of them is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who, after a stellar season at Georgia, has soared up the draft charts.

Caldwell-Pope has the ideal size for his position — he was measured at 6 feet, 4½ inches without shoes at the Chicago pre-draft camp last month — and can score in a myriad of ways.

Caldwell-Pope, 20, averaged 18.5 points a game last season for the Bulldogs while shooting a solid 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. He is also a respectable defender with a 6-8 wingspan.

The Bucks scouted Caldwell-Pope during the 2012-2013 season when he was generally regarded as a late first-round pick. The Bucks also talked to him extensively at the pre-draft camp.

“They were my first interview,” said Caldwell-Pope, who is a huge LeBron James fan and has tried to pattern certain aspects of his game after the Miami superstar. “I was kind of nervous, but we had a couple of good laughs and I started to get more comfortable.

“We had a really good talk.”

The Bucks will be talking to him again Saturday. That’s when Caldwell-Pope will be a part of a top-notch group of players to work out for the Bucks at the team’s training facility in St. Francis.

Also expected to participate in the workout are two likely late first-round picks: Ricky Ledo of Providence and Allen Crabbe of California, also shooting guards.

C.J. Leslie, a small forward from North Carolina State; Michael Snaer, a shooting guard from Florida State, and Dwayne Davis, a shooting guard from Southern Mississippi, are also scheduled to work out for Milwaukee. Leslie is likely an early second-round pick, while Snaer and Davis are considered potential late second-round picks.

Caldwell-Pope is clearly the cream of the workout crop. He is also a legitimate draft pick for the Bucks … if he’s still on the board.

Several teams drafting before the Bucks — Minnesota at 9, Portland at 10 and Dallas at 13 — are more than mildly interested in Caldwell-Pope as well.

“It’ll be a good one,” Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney said of the workout. “There are some very good players in that group.”

COMING BACK HOME: The Bucks and several other teams are undoubtedly doing their homework on Jordan Farmar.

Farmar, the former first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers, spent this season playing for Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League. He signed a three-year, $15 million contract last July with Efes, but can op out after every season.

“He wants to come back to the NBA, for sure,” said Tony Dutt, Farmar’s agent who also happens to be a friend of Bucks general manager John Hammond. “He’s still young and he could help some teams.”

Farmar, 25, played four seasons for the Lakers while earning two championship rings before signing with the New Jersey Nets. After two seasons with the Nets, he latched on with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2011.

BONUS SHOTS: Bucks young forward John Henson has been training in Florida and the work seemingly is paying off. He attended the press conference for new Bucks coach Larry Drew last week and looked noticeably stronger, having added nearly 15 pounds. … McKinney calls North Texas forward Tony Mitchell, who was born in Milwaukee, “undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the draft.” Mitchell, a combo forward, is expected to be selected late in the first round. … Keep an eye out for Lucas Nogueira, a 20-year-old center from Brazil. Most teams have pegged him as a late first-rounder, but there are whispers his stock is rising and he could be chosen in the lottery.

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