May. 30, 2016
Time To Tank
When I say it is time to tank for the Milwaukee Bucks, I don't mean it is time to give up Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton for what would be numerous draft picks. No, absolutely a terrible idea if any of you thought that. What I'm saying is, we need to continue this season in a downward spiral, while bringing up the confidence of the young guys. We need to prepare to do a quick 180, so by the time the 2018 playoffs come around, and especially the 2019 playoffs, we are a real contender. Not a team that loses 13 of 17.
Jabari Parker is a RESTRICTED free agent after next season, meaning if he does not accept his qualifying offer, the Bucks have the right to match whatever any other team offers to him. He's not going anywhere, and neither is Giannis, or Middleton. Rookies Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon are going to be around a while too. After that, it might be time to start selling the house in hopes of being able to take one of the many great players at the top of this draft, and have a fourth guy to go to, instead of just Giannis and Jabari or Giannis and Middleton. Here's how we start.
The Bucks need another playmaker, because let's be honest, we don't know if Jabari is ever going to be a go-to guy again, or a threat to pour in 30 a game on any given night. Khris Middleton is very good, but he's not that guy. Only Giannis is, and the Bucks need another. Right now, the Bucks have the 12th pick in the draft, and according to CBS Sports' prospect rankings, that means Josh Jackson of Kansas (but there is no way he is 12th anywhere else). It's realistically C Justin Patton of Creighton, or PG Frank Mason of Kansas, and while they are both great players, neither of them are the answer the Bucks should be looking for. We are three and one half games ahead of the fifth pick, which is where we need to be, but how do we get there?
For starters, shut Khris Middleton back down, there is no point in having him out there this soon anymore while being at risk for re-injuring his hamstring. Start seeing what we can get for the likes of Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley, Tony Snell, Matthew Dellavedova, etc., and trade, trade trade (but there is a reason we fell apart before the injury, because the "others" aren't good enough). Hopefully we can trade away Greg Monroe and Mirza Teletovic, as they are the biggest amounts of bad money we have left. Evaluate if Jason Kidd really is the answer as the head coach, which I've been doubting since the first season, although he has faced a lot of key injuries. Play Thon Maker more, and see if Rashad Vaughn was actually worth a first round pick.
Even with losing Terry, Beasley, Roy Hibbert, and possibly Spencer Hawes and Tony Snell as free agents, the Bucks salary is still going to go up over $10 million, due to raises that mostly includes Giannis Antetokounmpo. It's why Greg Monroe's $17 million needs to be off the books, and Teletovic's $10.5 million as well. More teams have a use for a guy like Teletovic, but not necessarily for $10.5 million. Greg Monroe could be valuable, but I don't see a team that is dying for a guy like him. It's why our main hope in finding a new great player is in this year's draft, and why we need to do what we can to get into the top five.
I'm looking at PG Lonzo Ball out of UCLA and G Malik Monk out of Kentucky, both of them fit exactly what the Bucks are lacking at the guard position. They also have the scoring prowess to makeup for whatever we lost from Jabari, and don't necessarily need to have the ball. They are also decent shooters. Say we take Ball, and put him with Brogdon, Middleton, Giannis and John Henson, that could be exactly what we need to hold the fort down until Jabari returns. Many have Lonzo Ball as a top two selection, and say we have the 10th pick in the draft. We can trade that pick, along with two year's down the line, and Rashad Vaughn, it could work. It definitely will if we are in the top six, and we definitely could trade up to the 5-7 range where Malik Monk is projected to go.
As for this season, we need to shut Middleton back down, and see what Thon Maker and Rashad Vaughn can do. Especially for Vaughn, his trade value could go up and help us get another franchise changing player. Getting the eighth seed and getting swept by the Cavs is not a progressive season, it will just continue to stunt the growth of the team. We need to free up cap space and try and get into the top five of the draft, that's the only way we can make up for the loss of Jabari in both the short term, and in the long run.