The Milwaukee Bucks are using a strategy in building their roster similar to that of the Indiana Pacers, a rare and bold move in an NBA that seems to reward accumulating high draft picks using the Oklahoma City Thunder model.
"Guys are going to say, 'I want to be a part of this because they're winning,' or you need to be a team, like Cleveland, that gets two No. 1 picks or three or four top-five picks, and a guy says, 'I see what they have,” Bucks general manager John Hammond said.
The Bucks hired David Morway this offseason, who was a longtime member of the Pacers' front office of the Pacers.
“We're trying to say with Larry Sanders -- one of the top defenders in the league -- with Ersan [Ilyasova], with veterans like Zaza [Pachulia], Luke [Ridnour], Carlos [Delfino], with young players like O.J. [Mayo], Brandon [Knight], John [Henson], Gary [Neal], Ekpe [Udoh], and Giannis [Antetokounmpo], I know we may not win a world championship today, but I do think we can be competitive and continue to build with draft picks and cap space” Hammond said.
“There isn’t one way to build a franchise,” Morway said. “You can build a team [by pursuing high draft picks], but there’s a lot that goes on between the concept and the execution.”
The Bucks hope that maintaining their competitiveness creates cohesiveness.
“To build a winning culture ... you can’t turn it on and off,” Morway says. “Players see that.”