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"Special to be attached to Giannis"

John Hammond on The Big Show!

January 21, 2019 - 11:59 am

By Daniel Plocher

John Hammond deserves much more credit for the current Bucks roster.

Former Bucks GM John Hammond left Milwaukee to join the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2017. Since his departure, the Bucks have exploded into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and in the NBA as a whole.

His replacement, John Horst, has also brought some talented players into Milwaukee and the team has been successful under his reign.

Hammond does not receive the credit that he deserves for the current Bucks roster because of the success the team has seen under Horst.

Hammond really set the foundation for the Bucks roster that exists today, and it all started back in 2012 when he selected John Henson with the 14th overall selection in the draft. Henson, of course is no longer in Milwaukee, but played a role in the acquisition of George Hill from the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this season.

Then in 2013, Hammond had an offseason that would define his career with the Milwaukee Bucks: he took a shot at a kid from Greece named Giannis Antetokounmpo.

On the Wendy’s Big Show on Friday, Hammond provided some insight into what he saw from Giannis when he saw him play in Greece: “Giannis had great upside and amazing length. His hard work made [his success] come into fruition… It is always special to be attached to a name like that”

Fast-forward six years and Giannis is one of the frontrunners for the MVP this season and has put Milwaukee on the map, for both the national media and as a destination for free agents. He has become an idol across the world, and represents the city as a whole.

During the regular season of 2013, Hammond also struck a deal with Detroit Pistons in which the Bucks received a lesser-known former second-round pick Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight in return for Brandon Jennings. Knight was the main focus of the package at the time, and Middleton was actually the only player on the Pistons roster that could make the deal work financially.

“The luck of Khris Middleton in that deal has been great for the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Hammond in the interview.

In his time in Milwaukee, Middleton has become a Giannis’ partner-in-crime and has developed into an all-star candidate. He has averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game in his six seasons in Milwaukee.

His shooting ability is his most valuable asset, as he's hit nearly 40% of his three pointers in his time in Milwaukee.

“You always want shooters, length and size are important things in this game today,”  Hammond said.

Middleton has all of those things. His 6-8 frame makes him a tall shooting guard and an adequate size for the small forward position as well.

“Khris Middleton is such a great man. I couldn’t be any happier for him for what he is accomplishing right now,” said Hammond.

His success in the 2013 season continued when he dealt Luc Mbah a Moute to the Kings for a second-round pick. At the time it was seemingly an insignificant deal, but Hammond ended up using that pick on Malcolm Brogdon in the 2016 NBA Draft. Brogdon, of course, won the NBA Rookie of the Year and is a consistent young starter on the Bucks with loads of potential.

That wasn’t the only hit that the Bucks got from the 2016 draft: they also selected Thon Maker in the first round of that draft.

In the summer of 2015, Hammond made another splash, but this time in free agency. For the first time in years, Milwaukee earned a stud free agent in Greg Monroe. Although his time with the Bucks did not go as planned, it was still a major acquisition for the future of the franchise. This addition cleared the path for more big-name free agents to find their way to Milwaukee and play with one of the best up-and-coming teams in the association. Not to mention, Horst would later use Monroe in a deal to bring Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee.

In essence, Hammond is directly responsible for an all-star in Khris Middleton, a perennial MVP-candidate in Giannis, one of the top young talents in the NBA in Malcolm Brogdon, and a role player in
Thon Maker. He also has ties to the additions of both George Hill and Eric Bledsoe.

With that amount of talent brought in under his command, I think he is criminally under appreciated for the today’s roster. Hammond lay the foundation for the team today built around the Greek Freak and Middleton.

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