ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks keep getting younger and longer up front.
Michigan’s D.J. Wilson is headed to Milwaukee after the Bucks took the 6-foot-10 forward with the 17th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The 21-year-old Wilson joins an already athletic and lengthy Bucks frontcourt led by 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo, who turned into an All-Star in his fourth year in the league.
“He fits the DNA of the Bucks, being able to play multiple positions,” coach Jason Kidd said about Wilson. “We can talk about today’s NBA — there is no position. He fits what we’re trying to do here.”
Last year’s first-round pick, the 7-foot-1 Thon Maker, showed promise down the stretch during the Bucks’ run to the playoffs. Six-foot-8 forward Jabari Parker hopes to come back from his second knee injury in three years by the All-Star break early next year.
Jon Horst made his first pick as Bucks general manager just a week after being promoted from director of basketball operations. Horst replaced longtime GM John Hammond, who was responsible for drafting potential projects with international backgrounds in Antetokounmpo and Maker.
“It felt like home. This is my 13th draft in this league,” Horst said.
Horst stuck with a big man in the first round, though Wilson is a little more of a known commodity after having played in the Big Ten. Wilson had two years of college eligibility left.
Wolverines coach John Beilein said he loved the work ethic that Wilson showed in Ann Arbor.
“He worked so hard as a redshirt freshman and then again as a role player in his sophomore year. He spent countless hours those first two seasons getting stronger and working with our coaches to improve,” Beilein said. “All that work paid off this season as D.J. had a tremendous year.”
Wilson averaged 11 points and team-high 5.3 rebounds for Michigan last year, along with a team-high 57 blocks. Wilson helped fuel the Wolverines’ run to the Big Ten Tournament championship and the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
“I am confident I have the drive, work ethic and maturity for this next step,” Wilson said in May. “It’s never going to be easy, but if I have learned anything at Michigan, perseverance pays off.”
The Bucks will also have Greg Monroe back next season after the 6-foot-11 center exercised his $17.8 million player option to stay with the team for 2017-18.
In the second round, the Bucks took South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell with the 48th overall selection, but dealt his rights to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash considerations.
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