Q&A: Bucks GM John Hammond

Posted by Unknown on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Matt Velazquez 

Is it down to Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins?
"I don't think it's fair to say that right now. I think we have to still keep all of our options open. I think this is more than a two-man draft and I think it's going to prove to be that. It was talked about being a three-man draft before Joe (Joel Embiid) got hurt and I think that's still the case. I think it was more than a three-man draft at that time and I think it's more than a two-man draft today."
How important is it to have someone who wants to be in Milwaukee and wants to win with this franchise?
"I'll say this — going through this draft process we couldn't be any more pleased with the way things turned out for us. We were able to have every player in, especially in that top grouping. I think we're the only team to this point that has had all of the players in with a chance to go and visit them at their respected workout sites. Everyone has been very open to us, we've been very open and cordial back with them, of course. It's been nothing but a great process. We're very confident that the player that we draft is going to be excited about being here and obviously we'll be excited about having him."
How much weight do you put on workouts vs. the body of work to this point?
"Sometimes it happens that way that we spend all year watching these guys, watching them play, watching them practice, but sometimes you have to go through the entire process to really get comfortable. Sometimes a workout can be a difference, sometimes a dinner interview can be a difference-maker, sometimes it can be a psychological profile test, maybe visiting our sports psychologist — it can be a lot of factors that go into it. ... Everything we do is a part of the decision."
Has Parker put on weight?
"He's in great shape. We've watched him work out quite a bit over the last couple of weeks and he like the rest of the other guys is in very good shape."
What are the chances you keep all three second-round picks?
"We're evaluating that right now. Look, just like every other team the phones are busy right now. The phones are busy with all the picks. We're looking at those opportunities."
What kind of interest is there in the No. 2 pick?
"It's been significant. ... There's considerable interest in the pick as well there should be."
Do you know which player you’re going to pick if he's available?
"We're not 1, we have the second pick in the draft. So there's going to be a player gone when we make that decision. I wouldn't commit to saying we know exactly what we're going to do. We're comfortable where we're at in the process here today."
How is the decision-making process different with new ownership?
"Marc and Wes have been great, absolutely great through this process. We've enjoyed working with them over the past few weeks in dealing with this. They're supportive. To me the greatest thing with them is they see the vision. I love the fact that they talk about trying to build this into a championship-caliber team and wanting to be a championship team. That's the goal and I think for us to get to that point we have to have a draft like this. We have to have an opportunity to hopefully get a difference-maker and we're hoping that this second pick will be a piece that can be a part of a championship-caliber team."
Would it behoove teams to take Embiid or are they worried his injuries could linger like Greg Oden’s?
"I think the answer is yes to both of those. Yes, it would behoove a team to take him and store him away, but I'm sure there is some concern with the health. But, look, I don't expect Joel to drop too far in this draft. I think he's still a guy that we need to have on our board to a certain extent. He's a great talent and you talk about these sort of things like three to five years from now, who's going to be the best guy in this draft? Time will tell. He still has to be in that discussion. So you can see something happening, a team taking him and knowing we have a great asset moving forward. ... I think he's tempting for anyone in this draft, including us."
What has Hammond seen from Parker, Wiggins and Exum?
"All great guys. All guys that could be great building block pieces as we talked about for a championship-caliber team. I think all of them have a chance to be very special players in this league. We think hopefully potential all-stars. You hate to use words like "can't miss type guys," but I think they're the guys you'd feel very comfortable and safe with drafting."
What is the best positional fit for Parker?
"He's a guy that can play multiple positions. Any team, especially going through the team-building process, when you have guys that play multiple positions those guys are very valuable assets. The interesting thing about a guy like Jabari is that he's got the big body, he can go in on the post, but he's got offensive skills and can play on the perimeter, too. He's not the only multiple-position guy. Andrew is also and for that matter Dante Exum is a combo guard. Those guys are valuable."
What would it take to trade out of No. 2?
"It would take something very special and we're open to listening and discussing ideas. Right now we're at 2 and we like being at 2."
Is Exum similar to Giannis Antetokounmpo in having to make projections on limited information?
"I think there's a little bit of a difference with Dante in that the body of work and what you're evaluating him from is not the extent that Giannis had. We had a chance to go over and spend some time with Giannis in Greece, watch him practice, watch him play. With Dante there isn't that same body of work, but I don't think anyone has any questions. What you have to judge him with I think people are very secure with."
Is there any less pressure being No. 2 instead of No. 1?
"Yeah, to a certain extent there is that, but it's still a lot of angst and anxiety about this — and it's a good thing, it's a good angst and a good anxiety about this opportunity presenting itself for this organization. It's such a great chance for us I think to maybe get a piece that ... I think our fans will be able to attach themselves to they'll love watching play and they'll see that potential that this player can be a difference-maker as we move forward."
How important are the three second-round picks in the rebuilding process?
"They're assets. When you mention rebuilding, you always talk about assets. Assets can be a first-round pick, they can be second-round picks. All of those are assets for us."
Is there a possibility of trading into the bottom of the first round?
"We'll have discussions with teams. We're having those discussions with teams right now. I wouldn't rule that possibility out, but we'll see how that goes."
A lot is going to ride on top pick's shoulders. Is there a lot expected of this guy coming in?
"I think it's our job to manage that and to help that player. ... Is there that guy that can make that difference tomorrow in the organization on the floor? That's still yet to be determined, but whatever happens you have to have a little patience with this player and let him grow through this process. Marc and Wes were talking about this being a 3-5 year project and so with that being said you don't put any undue expectations on a player at this time."
How does the 3-5 year process affect Hammond vs. Herb Kohl's need to be competitive?
"It's just philosophical. The Senator, what he did for this organization and for this city, people will never forget and thank him forever for that. But you know there is a little difference here and the difference is more of a long-term look in the new ownership's view. It's something we're moving forward with."
Does that change how Hammond does things?
"To a certain extent it does. We do have a chance to look and try to build through the draft. This is a great step in doing that."
How important is it for No. 2 pick to be NBA ready?
"You'd hope that with a pick of this magnitude you'd have him on the floor sooner rather than later. Whether he comes in and starts from Day 1, we don't know if that's going to happen or not. What does NBA-ready mean? Does that mean getting a chance to play, does that mean averaging 10 points, 20 points a game? I think the real NBA-ready part is a guy that can step on the court and play for you."
How important is it for the franchise that this pick lands like Giannis did?
"I think it's important. I think this player can do that. Giannis got off to a great start and he had a very good season and there's a lot of great, high expectations about him. If you've had a chance to watch him he lives in this gym, literally lives in this gym. He's having a great summer and he's got a chance to still be a special player."
Have you had discussions about how players' positions may change based on No. 2 pick?
"We've talked about that. I think, once again, that these guys are multiple position guys helps that discussion. For that matter, I think Giannis is going to be a multiple position player some day. He came last September he was 6-9, 190 (lbs.) and today he's almost 6-11, 217 pounds. I think Giannis is a guy that is going to be able to play, at his size, he's going to be able to play some small forward and he's going to play some power forward some day."
Will No. 2 pick affect free agent moves/trades you might make later this summer?
"I don't think so. I think the view and the plan as we move forward is to build this, build it in somewhat of an organic matter. We have young pieces on the team, we like those young pieces, we move forward with them and we move forward with the draft pick."
How much do you pay attention to what Cleveland or Philadelphia are doing?
"I have no idea exactly what other teams are doing right now. I just know what we're doing and what we're trying to accomplish."