Everyone on the planet not named Larry Riley & Joe Lacob feels that the Golden State Warriors got robbed last Spring when they traded Monta Ellis (& Ekpe Udoh) for Andrew Bogut (then using ‘Capt. Jack’ to get Richard Jefferson didn’t help). So, one would have to deduce that the Milwaukee Bucks won this trade by a landslide…right?
Well, the jury is still out.
While the Bucks may have won the talent meter in that trade, there’s still a question of this was a good basketball decision.
Some television networks (NBATV) are eager to remind us that the backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis was the 5th highest scoring duo in the league last year at 39.5 ppg. The only problem is, that average includes their point totals from before the trade…when they were on different teams.
The question remains…can these two small scoring dynamos flourish together? There’s only one ball in Milwaukee and head coach Scott Skiles is hardly the run n’ gun type. He’s all about a tough, physical game. After all, this is a man who once fought Shaquille O’neal in practice…literally. He’s a hard-nosed guy who preaches hard-nosed basketball. His backcourt, however, is something straight out of a Don Nelson/Mike D’Antoni playbook.
PG Brandon Jennings Beno Udrih
SG Monta Ellis Mike Dunleavy, Doron Lamb (r)
SF Luc Mbah a Moute Tobias Harris, Marquis Daniels
PF Ersan Ilyasova Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, John Henson
C Samuel Dalembert Drew Gooden
General Manager John Hammond and the rest of the Bucks brass needs to make a decision. Either they abandon the small backcourt look by dealing one of the aforementioned stars, or change their head coach to allow for a more uptempo gameplan.
Assuming that the team is committed to coach Scott Skiles, which they should be, there are plenty of ‘bigmen’ around the league that could be available via trade. Paul Millsap of Utah is in the final year of his deal and currently in a logjam of Jazz ’bigs’. Pau Gasol, while making almost $20M/yr, is an All-Star 7-footer who I think will not flourish alongside new Laker Dwight Howard. In a month or two, there may be quite a few quality ‘bigs’ on the market.
The NBA game is a marathon…the good teams have a set identity that they lean on throughout a grueling 82-game season (look at the San Antonio Spurs).
Until the Milwaukee Bucks have an identity that matches their personnel, this team will not make the playoffs…..even in a “weaker” Eastern Conference.