Who could the Bucks select in the 2024 NBA Draft? Bub Carrington, Tyler Kolek and more options

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The 2024 NBA Draft is less than three weeks away, and this season, the Milwaukee Bucks have a first- and second-round pick. With the No. 23 and No. 33 picks in the draft, the Bucks find themselves in a position to grab two players who could compete for a spot in Doc Rivers’ rotation next season.

With that, it is time to start taking a position-by-position look at the prospects in the Bucks’ general area in the NBA Draft.

Today, we’re looking at the point guards and combo guards. Next Friday, June 14, we’ll break down the wings in that area. And on June 21, we’ll break down the big men in that range.

In this portion of our Bucks’ deep dive, we’ll look at players who might fall out of the lottery and end with players expected to get picked in the first half of the second round. Additionally, we’ll stay focused on players seen primarily as point guards and combo guards and try to stay away from playmaking wings.

(Note: There can be disagreements about range/position for various players. If you feel we missed somebody, drop it in the comments.)

Bub Carrington | 6-4 guard | 18 years old | Pittsburgh

There is a good chance that Carrington will not be available when the Bucks draft at No. 23. The freshman guard, who our Sam Vecenie has going to the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 20 in his latest mock draft, is probably in the same tier as Devin Carter, Jared McCain and Isaiah Collier, but might be the lowest rated among that group of four in the draft range between No. 10 and No. 20. All four players likely will be selected in the top 20, but for the time being, Carrington seems to be the best option for the Bucks.

In his lone season in college, Carrington started all 33 games for Pitt and averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists and was named to the ACC All-Rookie Team. It should also be noted that he took on a high amount of usage as one of his team’s main creators, shooting only 41.2 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3.

One interesting number: Carrington scored .964 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, per Synergy, which put him in the 85th percentile of scoring efficiency as a freshman.

Tyler Kolek | 6-1 guard | 23 years old | Marquette

Milwaukee natives will be familiar with Kolek as he spent the last three seasons as the starting point guard for Marquette. In his final two seasons with the Golden Eagles, Kolek was one of the top point guards in the country and named a first team All-Big East selection both seasons, as well as a consensus All-American this past season. Last season, Kolek averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists during the 2023-24 season as one of the nation’s top floor generals for head coach Shaka Smart.

Watching Kolek at the next level will be interesting because he does not have great size or athleticism, but the lefty has always shown an ability to keep defenders off balance with a creative game off the bounce and elite finishing as a scorer and elite vision as a passer.

One interesting number: With his 7.7 assists per game, Kolek averaged a 2.59 assist-to-turnover ratio.

A.J. Johnson | 6-4 guard | 19 years old | Illawarra

Hailing from Fresno, Calif., Johnson spent the past year playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia as part of the NBL Next Stars program with players like Alexandre Sarr and Bobi Klintman. But unlike those two players, Johnson did not get nearly as much opportunity, averaging only 2.8 points in 8.3 minutes per game across 29 games with Illawarra. His draft stock, though, was boosted by highlight plays in Australia and with the help of a strong showing at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine.

For now, Johnson shines most in transition, where he is fully able to embrace his quickness and athleticism to create opportunities for his teammates and also get to the rim for himself. Any team selecting him will base that selection largely on his potential rather than his professional production.

One interesting number: Johnson played just 239 minutes across 29 games in Australian competition this season.

Ajay Mitchell | 6-3 guard | 22 years old | UC Santa Barbara

Playing three seasons at UC Santa Barbara, Mitchell did not spend a lot of time in the spotlight, but the 22-year-old guard from Belgium averaged 20 points, four rebounds and four assists per game this season, earning All-Big-West honors for a third consecutive season. He was named Big West Player of the Year as he led the Gauchos to a 27-8 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Like Kolek, Mitchell is a crafty left-handed finisher, but he spent a bit more time scoring than playmaking and assisting his teammates. While he only took 2.9 3-point attempts per game, Mitchell knocked down 39.3 percent from deep this season, which was his first elite 3-point shooting season.

One interesting number: It was a small sample, but Mitchell scored 1.11 points per possession on 45 isolation possessions last season, per Synergy.

Trey Alexander | 6-3 guard | 21 years old | Creighton

After his sophomore season at Creighton, Alexander thought about declaring for the NBA Draft, but ultimately decided to go back to college for a third season to show that he had more to his game. In his third season at Creighton, Alexander spent more time on the ball, putting up 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. While he might not have shown enough to take a jump into the lottery, Alexander showed that he is capable of creating more with the ball in his hands.

Alexander may not impress with overwhelming quickness, but his size helped him probe defenses and his 6-foot-10 wingspan allowed him to throw passes that other players might not be able to get off over the top of defenders. That wingspan also helped him be an effective defender and his spot in the NBA may be more about what he can do off-ball than what he can do as a lead guard.

One interesting number: While his 3-point numbers (33.9 percent on 5.2 attempts per game) were not as impressive this season, Alexander knocked down 41 percent from 3 on 4.4 attempts last season.

Jamal Shead | 6-0 guard | 21 years old | Houston

Shead was the heart and soul of the Cougars this past season, which made it all the more heartbreaking to see him sidelined as Houston lost by just three points to Duke in the Sweet 16 this past season. In his senior season, Shead put up 12.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game and led Houston to a 32-5 record and a No. 1 seed in their first season in the Big 12.

While Shead is not the tallest player, he is strong and quick and he used both traits to be a tough finisher around the rim. But those traits might show up most on the defensive end, as his effort on the ball was a major reason Houston was one of the best defensive teams in college basketball last season. Any team drafting Shead would definitely be thinking about him trying to pick up opposing point guards full court for at least part of the game.

One interesting number: Shead averaged 2.2 steals per game.

Tristen Newton | 6-3 guard | 23 years old | Connecticut

Cam Spencer | 6-3 guard | 24 years old | Connecticut

Fair or unfair, the UConn guards are grouped together here because it is difficult to pull apart the accomplishments of the Huskies, but also because Newton and Spencer took similar journeys to get to Connecticut.

Both played five NCAA seasons. Both players transferred to Connecticut after three successful seasons at a smaller school — East Carolina for Newton, Loyola (Maryland) for Spencer — but Spencer made a stop at Rutgers for one year, while Newton spent the last two seasons winning championship rings with the Huskies.

After being more of a role player in his first season at Connecticut, Newton stepped into a larger scoring and playmaking role this past season and increased his averages to 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. While Newton might not be seen as the shiftiest point guard, he used his size and strength to get to his spots on the floor and created for his teammates this season on his way to becoming a first team All-American.

One interesting number: Newton grabbed 57 offensive rebounds this season, which tied him with teammate (and projected top-five pick) Stephon Castle for 15th in the Big East this season.

Spencer’s brash style was a trademark of Connecticut’s journey to back-to-back national championships this past season. As he spotted up around the floor and whipped around screens, Spencer fired up 5.6 3-point attempts per game this past season and knocked down 44 percent from deep, often letting opponents know after his makes. While the 6-3 guard loves to compete, there will be some questions about his strength and athleticism at the next level as a defensive player at the next level.

One interesting number: Per Synergy, Spencer scored 1.28 points per possession on spot-up opportunities this season, which put him in the 97th percentile nationwide.

K.J. Simpson | 6-0 guard | 21 years old | Colorado

Simpson flourished for Colorado in his junior season, averaging 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game on his way to a first team All-Pac-12 nod. While Simpson put up strong numbers in his first two seasons, the big difference as a junior was his 3-point shot. After shooting 26.9 percent from deep on 201 attempts his first two seasons, Simpson knocked down 43.4 percent from deep on 182 attempts this past season.

And the thing that stood out most about Simpson this past season was definitely his shot making. Whether it was the game-winning shot against Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament or his 3-point shots, Simpson regularly showed the ability to rise up and knock down shots in tight areas. That skill may end up being important for him at the next level though as he is undersized at just 6-feet tall

One interesting number: Simpson scored 1.19 points per possession on spot-up opportunities this season, per Synergy, which put him in the 91st percentile nationwide.

(Top photo of Tristen Newton and Cam Spencer: Rich Schultz / Getty Images)

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