The Milwaukee Bucks have been a roller coaster team this whole season. They started off strong, teetered off, and then have come back on strong down the stretch. It’s easy to look at this team, and simply write off a lot of this as characteristics of a young team. That may be true, but there are several factors here that should be looked at in the offseason.
The first of which is upgrading backup/starting PG position. Malcolm Brogdon could easily fill in this position(and handle it well), but he could also be a great 6th man who could play both backup PG/SG roles and have little to no drop off in play. The same cannot be said of Matthew Dellavedova. Absolutely frustrating contract amount has been magnified by the gross fall-off of effectiveness the Bucks have shown when Brogdon has not been able to play. He was a 15th man on a championship roster, and it simply does not make sense to add someone who the Cavaliers were willing to part with, as they obviously did not see him as a part of their core. The Bucks can not continue to add players like this (and to a lesser extent Mirza Teletovic) and hope to take “the next step.”
The next order of business should be addressing Jason Kidd. The aforementioned Dellavedova and Teletovic are players that Kidd wanted brought in, and they have not been worth the money. They are simply “role” players at best, and not worth the heavy minutes they were expected to be receiving when signing here. Kidd’s rotations have been baffling all season, and he has struggled to figure out the most effective lineup combinations despite tinkering most of the first 60+ games of the season to find said lineup. The talent is definitely there, and Kidd has not maximized it to the most of his abilities. If anything, he has held it back. Kidd was a player of genius, but that does not mean that has translated to coaching. Bringing in a veteran coach to help lead the Bucks into the future might be in their best interest, and with a talent like Giannis Antetokounmpo to mold a team around, it would be easier now more than ever to do so.
The last order of business, and the one that will cause the biggest uproar, is to trade Jabari Parker. The fans here adore him, as he grew up just a couple hours away and has shown some explosive dunks to make even the casual fan admire his athleticism. He has shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to scoring, but in all honesty that’s about it. He is too little to defend power forwards, and too slow to defend small forwards. A lineup combination using Giannis and Middleton has a higher ceiling than that of Giannis and Parker, even if people don’t want to believe that. It will be tough to get anything of fair value for Parker with his current injury and medical history in general, but there are most likely a few teams that still value him as a young talent that could fit their plans for the future as a foundational piece. The Bucks appear to have found another gem in Thon Maker, so that would be another reason to trade Parker for some value since they’ll only have so much cap space moving forward to keep “their guys”. This is all about maximizing their ceiling while keeping their role players at a serviceable level, and to do that you need to recognize 2-3 core players(Giannis, Middleton, and Maker) that have the highest ceilings on BOTH sides of the ball, and then build around them. The Bucks are in a fantastic position, and it’s most important to let their young talent continue to grow together while putting the best veterans in place along the way. Resigning players like Michael Beasley and Jason Terry would be fantastic, but they are by no means pushing the needle. Smart financial decisions, as well as a little luck (hopefully Monroe opts in and continues to excel in his 6th man role) should allow the Bucks to continue to rise through the Eastern Conference standings. For now, let’s enjoy the playoff ride!