While much of the local focus has been on the Milwaukee Bucks' coaching search, the NBA draft process is moving along with the league's annual pre-draft combine taking place this week in Chicago.
Workout sessions, including 5-on-5 games, will take place at Quest MultiSport in Chicago on Thursday and Friday and will air on ESPN2 from 2 to 6 p.m. each day.
The Bucks, who held onto their 2018 first-round draft pick thanks to losing a tiebreaker with the Miami Heat, will pick 17th for the second successive year and third time in the past four drafts. Those No. 17 picks netted Rashad Vaughn in 2015 and D.J. Wilson in 2017.
Neither of those picks has moved the needle much for Milwaukee, with the team trading Vaughn in February after three relatively unproductive seasons. There's still time for Wilson, a 6-foot-10 forward, who remains on the roster after a quiet rookie year in 2017-'18.
During his first NBA season, Wilson logged just 71 minutes over 22 games with the Bucks, scoring 21 total points. Wilson got much more action with the G League's Wisconsin Herd, averaging 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32.5 minutes per game over 11 contests.
Here's a look at five players, in alphabetical order, who could be of interest to the Bucks heading into the main days of the combine.
The draft is June 21.
Ohio State, Junior, Forward
6-foot-7, 235 lbs.
The Big Ten player of the year averaged 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per game after missing his third year in Columbus with a stress fracture in his left shin. The 22-year-old opted to declare for the draft despite having one season of eligibility remaining. Bates-Diop is a solid offensive player inside and out, featuring plenty of post moves as well as a three-pointer that last season fell at a rate of 35.9%. He has the physical length to be a versatile defender and play multiple positions but doesn't quite fit the mold of a particular position.
Boise State, Senior, Guard
6-foot-7, 197 lbs.
Hutchison came on strong toward the end of his college career, taking on a featured role as a junior and senior. In his final season with the Broncos, he averaged 20.0 points while shooting 47.5% from the field and 35.9% from long range, while also putting up 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He's got the kind of length, versatility and defensive wherewithal to project as a three-and-D type player in the NBA provided he can translate his success against Mountain West competition into success in the NBA. Hutchison has pulled out of combine activities.
Chalmette High School, Center
7-foot, 233 lbs.
If the Bucks are looking to add some bulk to their physically thin frontcourt, Robinson represents a high-upside candidate at the No. 17 spot. The 7-foot high school star played in the 2017 McDonald's All-American Game and was a top 10-15 recruit according to most services. He committed to Western Kentucky and arrived on campus last summer for practices and to begin classes but by the end of July had been suspended for an unannounced reason, left campus and by August was granted his release. Instead of playing in college, Robinson spent the year training for the draft. He's a dynamic leaper with great athleticism and enough strength to throw down dunks — off lobs or otherwise — in traffic. With such little exposure this year, Robinson could be a wild card, especially considering on Wednesday he reportedly, without explanation, decided to withdraw from all combine activities.
In its first mock draft since Tuesday's draft lottery, USA TODAY projects the Bucks will take Robinson.
Texas Tech, Freshman, G
6-foot-5, 195 lbs.
Smith averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 28.4 minutes per game in his lone season at Texas Tech. As important as any of his stats, Smith displayed a high level of explosiveness and defensive versatility, traits that will serve him well in the NBA. He's a good finisher at the rim and an active rebounder from the guard spot, but he still has much to prove as a three-point shooter. Smith knocked down 45.0% of his three-point attempts but was generally hesitant to hoist from long range and only put up 40 threes on the season. If he can gain confidence and add the three-pointer as a more regular part of his game, Smith could have strong all-around potential in the NBA.
Creighton, Junior, Guard
6-foot-3, 210 lbs.
Thomas put up 15.1 points per game, utilizing creative finishes inside and shooting 41.1% on three-pointers this past season for the Bluejays, but it's his defense that caught the attention of NBA teams. With a solid frame and a long wingspan, Thomas is an active, intense perimeter defender who displays better-than-expected anticipation to create deflections and steals. Thomas still has room to improve as a point guard, but he has enough positive attributes, as well as a foundation of playing high-level defense, to make him worth a look.