Why Walker Kessler is better than you think for Milwaukee Bucks at 24

The Milwaukee Bucks hold the 24th overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft.

The team and the fans certainly have their favorite targets. Among them, for me, Walker Kessler. Still, when I hear most other fans talking about Kessler, most would rather the team stay away from him. Here’s why Walker Kessler is better than you think for the Bucks at pick 24.

Walker Kessler is a perfect fit for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2022 NBA Draft

If you think highly of Brook Lopez, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t think highly of Walker Kessler. Kessler, much like Lopez, could be a monster defenseman for the Bucks.

Kessler is coming off a college season that earned him Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors with an average of 4.6 blocks per game. Kessler gives the team the opportunity to defensively pursue his fall protection system because of the type of player he is in terms of rim protection.

Kessler also has a knack for the boards, as he averaged 8.1 rebounds per game in his final season at Auburn and 12.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Kessler knows how to get the ball back, whether it’s for a rebound, blocking a shot or for a loose ball anywhere on the floor. His defensive IQ will never be a problem for any team he finds himself on.

Concerns with Kessler are not defensive, however. The biggest issue most have with Kessler is his lack of offensive ability at this point in his career. For the most part, Kessler doesn’t have too many tricks up his sleeve on the offensive side.

Kessler scores the majority of his points in the paint from dunks and lanes. He does a terrific job of opening up in scouting action while the roll on pick-and-roll games. It’s really about that when it comes to his attacking game and that’s what worries him the most right now. Most of what Kessler will do early in his career on offense will come from pure heart and hustle on the offensive glass and designs for him as a screener. This may cause spacing issues if used in lineups with Giannis Antetokounmpo early in his career.

His lack of ability in the position and as an outside shooter are valid concerns, but those kinds of things can be developed with NBA coaches and veteran players to help guide him along the way. There’s an example of a player who’s developed an outside shot on the Bucks right now, with Lopez. Lopez attempted just 31 total three-way shots in his first eight NBA seasons and has shot no less than 250 in all full seasons he’s played since.

While it may take Kessler a while to become the player Milwaukee wants offensively, he’ll have time to do so sitting behind veterans Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez. Kessler reminds me a lot of Brook Lopez and he’s truly a development of a three-point shot away from bringing to the table exactly what Lopez does for the Bucks.

Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor pitches Kessler to the Bucks in his latest mock draft and had this to say:

“Massive inner strength with elite blocking and finishing skills. Developing his shot would be the icing on the cake.

For what Kessler will bring defensively, I think it’s worth waiting for his offensive game to catch up. He’s a smart player and you can’t teach IQ and awareness. He’s a very similar player to Lopez in terms of athleticism and defensive ability, so it would be a seemingly smooth transition to the next generation for the Bucks at 5.

Stay tuned to see what the team does in the NBA draft.

About Marc Womack

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