The Milwaukee Bucks are safely in the mix for the Eastern Conference title, and MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting out yet another compelling argument. What course of action should the Bucks take as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches in less than a month?
If the Bucks want to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season, they will have their work cut out for them competing against groups like the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. They have some shortcomings that they need to fix as they must battle through an extremely challenging conference from top to bottom.
Khris Middleton has missed most of the season thus far due to injury, limiting the time the core three have spent together. Let’s examine what course the Bucks should take as Antetokounmpo furthers his place in history and sets career highs to determine how they can best help him in the postseason.
P.J. Washington for Young Bench Depth
P.J. Washington, a guy the Bucks were linked to during the previous offseason, would be a reliable buy-low option that Milwaukee would be wise to attempt to invest in. Even though Washington, the 12th overall pick, has struggled thus far with the average Charlotte Hornets, his rookie contract still makes him a fantastic value.
Washington’s scoring average this season is over 14 points per game, about 4 points higher than what he averaged last year. This is his finest scoring season thus far. While he is playing the most minutes per game and has seen a slight decline in his rebounding figures, he is shooting a career-best % from the charity stripe.
Moving Washington, who is entering the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract, would help the Hornets recover some value because they are a middle-bottom team that needs additional players outside LaMelo Ball while having a young core. A package that includes Jordan Nwora and additional players (perhaps George Hill and a future second-round selection) could work because the 24-year-old shouldn’t need much in return.
Alec Burks for 3-Point Help
Surprisingly, the Bucks’ team shooting percentage for the season is 45.7%, with a dismal 34% of shots made from beyond the arc. This means that the squad is in serious need of some shooting assistance.
Milwaukee could contact the Detroit Pistons about shooting guard Alec Burks in order to add a player who is more effective at shooting the ball than Nikola Mirotic was a few years ago.
Burks, who is now shooting a career-best 44.7% from three, would be a major upgrade to their shooting troubles despite not being at all glamorous if acquired.
This squad also lacks depth in the second unit, so as long as Burks can continue to shoot the ball at his current level, he should have no trouble cracking coach Mike Budenholzer’s playoff rotation.
They’ve worked together on transactions involving players like Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight, among others, so the Bucks and Pistons would be wise to draw from that past in this situation. The Pistons might be interested in a deal involving Nwora and others, similar to the one proposed for Washington, and the Bucks ought to try to construct a deal for Burks in that manner as well.
The Bucks will probably have to rely on their fringe roster players to attempt and complete any trade deadline moves because they have limited future draught capital that can be traded. But given their strong desire to close a deal, they ought to be able to add a few things before the deadline expires.