May. 30, 2016
What Do These Additions Do For the Bucks?
The Bucks no longer have C Miles Plumlee and his stupidly ridiculous contract, and they waived little used veteran Steve Novak that same day. Now, the Bucks have C Roy Hibbert, F/C Spencer Hawes and the finally healthy G/F Khris Middleton. I know Middleton isn't a brand new addition, but it will be his first appearance this season on Wednesday. So, what do the Bucks have now in these three additions? Are they going to make a push again for a postseason spot?
The main thing that will be going on here is what are the minutes changes going to look like? Steve Novak barely played for the Bucks, so somebody is going to be bumped from the rotation. The only Buck who really has not played a whole lot lately is Rashad Vaughn, and with Middleton's return his minutes are going to be non-existent. Adding two big men to the rotation will also affect the minutes of John Henson and Mirza Teletovic, and I really don't know who is going to lose time.
If I had to guess, the Bucks have no long term plans with the two big men they brought in. Hibbert and Hawes are both on short term deals, and they really only wanted to free up Plumlee's cap space after the season. I'm guessing Hawes won't be playing instead of Teletovic at this point, but he is a stretch five and could have some useful minutes with Parker, Middleton and Antetokounmpo on the floor with him. Roy Hibbert is among the slowest NBA players, but he once was one of the best centers in the game, and still is a defensive presence. However, I don't see Greg Monroe losing any time from this trade and I don't see how Hibbert is better than John Henson at this point.
If the Bucks intend to use both of these big men, John Henson will be the odd man out, with Hibbert likely stepping in as a short minute starter like Plumlee had been, and with Hawes coming in for some moments as a stretch five. The Bucks also had their best stretches when Henson was playing well, so it's a bit of a logjam that may see another trade coming soon. That's the only real explanation to adding both Hawes and Hibbert to the rotation.
As far as Middleton's minutes, I truly don't care who loses time aside from Jabari and Giannis. Khris Middleton led the Bucks in scoring last year, is a good shooter, clutch scorer, great defender, and was among All-Stars as far as player effectiveness goes. At this point in his career, he is drawing a career similarity comparison through four years to players like Antawn Jamison and Danilo Gallinari. Those players aren't the greatest ever, but Middleton was not effective his first two seasons. He won't play a lot until March, but his return likely takes away 10 minutes from Tony Snell and 10 from Michael Beasley.
Ultimately, if things stay as they appear, a starting five of Giannis, Jabari, Middleton, Matthew Dellavedova and Hibbert looks like a quality playoff team. Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell, Michael Beasley, Greg Monroe, John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Spencer Hawes and Jason Terry create a bench with no player who is a real liability on the court, and gives the Bucks multiple options to use their depth with. Hopefully they can turn things around quickly, they are only a half game out of the playoffs, and allow the combination of veterans and talented young players to possibly get them into the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2001.