Trade Deadline Blues

Depending on your perspective, the Bucks inaction at the trade deadline was either a success or a failure (well, maybe). Plus: Jabari’s All-Star dunk, stats of the week, and more.

The trade deadline came and went and the Bucks did absolutely nothing.

Well, that would be inaccurate. They did plenty as rumors abound of discussions with various teams about Greg Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee, Jeff Teague, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kendall Marshall, Mirza Teletovic, and Dwight Howard.

A more accurate description: The Bucks worked hard on deals that ultimately didn’t come together in time.

This, of course, means the trade deadline was a failure. The Bucks had a number of veterans on expiring contracts (O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Miles Plumlee, and Greivis Vasquez) and they failed to get anything for them. The team is struggling mightily with a poorly fitting roster and they were unable to make the changes that would make the roster make more sense. Monroe is still in the middle. Carter-Williams is still at point guard. And the Bucks weren’t able to fix any of the problems they clearly have with their roster.

Of course, the trade deadline was a success. The Bucks did not panic and give away talented players like Monroe and Carter-Williams for nothing. They talked with various teams and tried to figure out deals that made sense for the team, but couldn’t get enough value for their players. They’ll have 28 more games to evaluate their roster before getting the opportunity to make moves again this summer. They were very prudent and didn’t rush to make a move they might later regret.

Obviously, neither of the two paragraphs above is correct, but they do represent the full range of opinions one could take on the Bucks’ trade deadline activity. Unfortunately, no one knows what the Bucks’ trade deadline means. As a fan, you are allowed to paint whatever picture you want because there is nothing to actually analyze. Only rumors. Only speculation. Maybe they missed out on the best deal ever. Maybe that deal comes to the team in the offseason. Maybe that deal doesn’t exist. Who knows?

As the excitement of speculating dies down, the omnipresent truth of this Bucks squad will once again set in — nothing matters except for the development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton. While it’s fun to trade players to different teams and figure out the best way to construct a super team, it’s likely that the only way any super team you construct realizes its potential is the continued improvement of the Bucks’ three young stars.

So, how does that old saying go again? Oh, yeah.

The more things stay the same, the more they stay the same.

Clip of the Week

I know it’s just a meaningless game, but seeing Jabari Parker throw down the Rookie-Sophomore game’s best dunk still has to make you feel good as a Bucks fan.

What to Read

20 numbers from the Milwaukee Bucks’ first half of basketball – Brew Hoop’s Aron Yohannes selected 20 numbers that help tell the story of the Bucks’ performance in their first 54 games of the season.

The Bucks and the Good Teams – At, Alex Boeder looked at two of the strange quirks of this season: the Bucks’ record against teams above .500 and their record in the BMO Harris Bradley Center. It’s difficult to say what either trend means, but it is certainly interesting to think about.

No Deals on Deadline Day for Bucks – Frank Madden of Brew Hoop recaps the activity of trade deadline day that ultimately led to the Bucks standing pat at the end of the day**.
**When reading different speculative articles about trade deadline activity, remember that the writer often only knows what he has been told by someone who wanted him to know that. It’s probably better to just think of the players and teams involved in very general terms rather than spending a lot of time speculating about who approached who or what packages might have been offered.

(All-Star) Week(end) in Review

Marc Lasry – The Bucks co-owner participated in the 2016 All-Star Celebrity Game and, despite being the game’s oldest player, Lasry put on a show, recording 8 points and 6 rebounds. Lasry’s U.S. team ended up falling 74-64 to Canada, but he hit a couple shots and looked the part throughout the night.

Jabari Parker – While other players might have scored more points in the Rising Stars Challenge, no one had more memorable baskets than the Bucks Jabari Parker. Parker put up just 12 points and five assists, but threw down a gorgeous windmill, blocked a shot, and clinched the victory for the U.S. with a dunk on Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

Khris Middleton – Middleton disappointed in the three point contest and scored just 13 points in the first round Saturday night. Though Middleton was knocked out after just one round, it was nice to see him recognized as one of the league’s best shooters.

Next Week’s Preview

Friday – The Bucks return to action after the All-Star Break in the Bradley Center against the Hornets. Charlotte has hosted each of the teams’ two meetings this season and the teams have split those contests. The Hornets currently find themselves in the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff spot and will try to hold on in the final few months of the season.

Saturday – A back-to-back immediately after the All-Star Break? The Bucks will fly to Atlanta to take on the Hawks for the second time this season. The first meeting featured Khris Middleton making plays in overtime and the Bucks pulling out a 108-101 victory.

Monday – The Lakers remain mired in an awful season, but it is important to note that one of their 11 wins came against the Bucks on Dec. 15, which was one of Milwaukee’s most embarrassing performances of the season. The Bucks will get a second chance for a victory at home this time.

Thursday – After the Lakers, it almost feels fitting that the Bucks face their greatest rival, the Boston Celtics. The Bucks will try to stave off the Celtics, who will surely be looking for revenge after falling to the Bucks in a close game right before the All-Star Break.

Stats of the Week

1,952 – The All-Star Break is a nice break for every player, but it might have been especially sweet for Khris Middleton, who is second in minutes played in the NBA this season with 1,952 minutes.

15.2 – Early last season, I calculated O.J. Mayo’s Productive Passing Percentage (percentage of passes that are assists, hockey assists, or free throw assists) to show just how impactful Mayo was for the Bucks. (He ended the season fifth in the entire league in that percentage.) This season, Middleton has been similarly impressive in that regard with a Productive Passing Percentage of 15.2 percent, good for 17th in the NBA.

3.1 – Greg Monroe grabs 3.1 offensive rebounds per game, which makes him just one of 11 players to grab more than three offensive rebounds per game.

Quick Bucks is Milwaukee Magazine’s weekly roundup of all things Milwaukee Bucks written by Eric Nehm. You can also find his work at SBNation’s Brew Hoop or you can find him on Twitter @eric_nehm to tell him about the non-Gary Payton trade deadline deal you hate most.