Giannis scores 37, Bucks win. Giannis scores 34, Bucks lose. Giannis scores 44, Bucks win. We all know it; this Milwaukee Bucks team is the Giannis Antetokounmpo show win or lose. But what happens when Giannis has a bad night, or when he can’t keep playing almost 40 minutes a game? Well Bucks fans, wonder and worry no longer. Help has arrived.
Today’s blockbuster trade for Eric Bledsoe might be exactly what the Bucks need to turn around their current 3-game losing streak and put them back on the map as a serious threat to top tier teams in the league. With other Eastern Conference powerhouses such as the Wizards, Raptors, and Cavaliers all under performing to start the season, let’s breakdown exactly how this trade positively impacts the Milwaukee Buck’s chances of a serious playoff run.
- Greg Monroe to Phoenix
Yeah, take Monroe. Please. Every year since joining the Milwaukee Bucks Greg Monroe’s minutes have declined; which has lead to Monroe’s points, rebounds, offensive rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, FG%, and FT% being at all-time lows since joining Milwaukee. Although averaging 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds a game between Detroit and Milwaukee before this season, his numbers had already started a downward trend after losing his starting role last season. Literally the best thing about Greg Monroe is his nickname: “Moose”. So what are we doing paying a moose $17.88 million? Beats us, we’ll let Phoenix deal with that.
- 2018 1st and 2nd Round Draft Pick to Phoenix
The major selling points for this trade were the draft picks – a protected 1st and protected 2nd round pick for this year’s upcoming draft. What does “protected” mean? The Bucks’ might have just stole Eric Bledsoe. Protected draft picks are draft picks that you get to keep if they fall into a certain position on the draft board. For example, the Bucks’ 2nd round pick is Top-47 protected. This means that if the 2nd round pick is anything better than the 47th overall pick (30th, 31st, 32nd…45th, 46th and 47th) the Buck’s get to keep it!
How protected our 1st round pick is gets sticky, but thankfully the great Adrian Wojnarowski breaks it down for us on his Twitter (@wojespn). This year, Milwaukee keeps the pick if it’s between 11-16. Next year, they keep the pick between 4-16. Three drafts from now, 8 to 30. Finally, four draft classes from now in 2021, the Suns get our draft pick no matter what.
- Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee
Ok, the part we’ve all been waiting for…let’s talk Eric Bledsoe. Last season Eric Bledsoe averaged career highs in points (21.1), assists (6.3), and rebounds (4.8), however, Eric Bledsoe recently tweeted “I Don’t Wanna be here” after the Phoenix Suns got off to a slow start this season and sit 13th in the Western Conference. His cover up story about a hair salon was laughable at best, but a sense of humor is never a bad thing. If Bledsoe doesn’t want to be in Phoenix that’s ok, and is especially ok because Milwaukee was his #1 option on teams to be traded to. I’ll take the guy if he wants to play for us! Besides, our new practice facility has a hair salon just in case Bledsoe is looking for a new trim too.
Losers: Phoenix Suns
A team already full with 3 Centers and 3 Power Forwards (let’s pretend Josh Jackson plays SF) just got another big man – with a price tag of almost 18 million dollars that they’ll have to wait to shed until his contract expires. Not only that, but the main pieces in the trade, draft picks, are not only protected but are also coming from a team that looks like they can now make a serious playoff run with the addition of Eric Bledsoe. Kudos to Phoenix though, who have stockpiled a plethora of draft picks for the next 3 years either way.
Winners: Milwaukee Bucks
Greg Monroe has been on the trading block for 2 years, and it’s really no wonder. Thon Maker deserves the minutes he gets and the Bucks would much rather invest in a young talent such as his. Monroe simply isn’t worth keeping around.
Now, draft picks are valuable in the NBA. It’s how most teams rebuild and have proven to be quite successful for teams such as Milwaukee. However, Milwaukee already young and already have an extremely solid core of players to develop. With the emergence of Giannis as an elite superstar in this league, eventually it’s time to flip the switch and make plays to win now! This trade does just that. Even if the picks do end up going to Phoenix, as they most likely do in these protected-pick situations, this draft class is lack-luster and the Bucks got worthwhile talent for them.
Bledsoe. Milwaukee fans have known for quite some time that the last missing piece to their puzzle was a solid guard. Enter, Eric. A play-making guard and a scorer is exactly what the Bucks have needed and they finally found it. Although not much of a 3-point shooter, Bledsoe can drive to the rack and score on his own, having scored 88% of his 2pt buckets unassisted. On top of that, last year in Phoenix 31% of the buckets scored by Bledsoe’s teammates were from his assists and he carried almost a 2.00 assist turnover ratio. This just might be the missing piece to the puzzle.
This versatility in Bledsoe allows the Bucks to run some crazy lineups too.
Bring back healthy Jabari and the flexibility of our starting lineup increases, along with the depth of our bench. Not only did we bolster our lineup, but we did it with a player of great caliber.
When Brandon Jennings jokingly said “Bucks in 6” I don’t think he knew that Buck fans would remember it for as long as we have. Hopefully, with the addition of key play-maker Eric Bledsoe, we soon get to see the Bucks in 6.