Bucks Lead

Should the Bucks Really be Interested in DeAndre Jordan?

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If you thought the Milwaukee Bucks were going to be off the NBA trade market for a while after the Eric Bledsoe deal, then you were wrong. If the latest rumors are to be believed that is. According to sources, the Bucks are among four teams interested in acquiring potentially available Los Angeles Clippers center, DeAndre Jordan. The other teams in the mix are said to be the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Gery Woelfel of the Racine Times has apparently heard these rumors and suggests that the Clippers are driving a hard bargain in the potential release of their All-Star big man.

Should the Bucks be entering these discussions?

Is Jordan going to be an actual needle mover for this squad?

Let’s go ahead and discuss some of the key points that should dictate the Bucks position in potentially their second major shake-up of the roster in the seasons first quarter.

Rebounding: Probably the first thing anyone thinks of when they think of Jordan is rebounding. Jordan is reeling in 13.8 rebounds per game this season in 32.3 minutes, good for second in the league, only trailing Andre Drummond. That type of rebounding number is not uncommon for Jordan, who is perennially in the top three in the category, averaging no less than 13.6 per game in the last five seasons.

In comparison, the Bucks big man duo of John Henson and Thon Maker combine for 10.3 rebounds per game in 42 minutes a contest. The Bucks overall rebounding as a team is horrific, they rank dead last in the league and have done so all season, reeling in paltry 38.5 total boards. Routinely the Bucks are crushed on the glass and particularly struggle to box out opposition big men on their offensive glass.

For comparison, Jordan this season is posting a defensive rebounding percentage of 31.9 and offensive percentage of 16.1. Henson in the same categories carries percentages of 25.1 and 9.7. One thing that isn’t up for dispute, by trading for Jordan the Bucks will gain a serious boost in an area they desperately need it. Jordan is a rebounding machine.

(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Spacing: An area of emphasis for the Bucks in the construction of their roster the past two seasons has been creating space on the floor for Giannis to go to work in his most dominant area, the paint. In acquiring Tony Snell, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, and Jason Terry, Milwaukee have at least made an attempt to surround Giannis with players that can shoot the ball and at least command some respect on the perimeter.

Thon Maker still has a lot of development ahead of him but he does possess the skill set to eventually fit the mold of a stretch five. This would appear to be the optimum design for this roster at center but he’s simply not ready yet. He isn’t strong enough to defend bigger centers and as discussed earlier is a horrific rebounder at this point.

John Henson is far from a floor spacer, each jump shot he takes met with the first horror, and then laughter if it happens to be successful from Bucks color commentator Marques Johnson. This is clearly demonstrated by Henson taking 90 field goal attempts within 10 feet so far this season and only 14 from beyond that mark.

DeAndre Jordan, however, takes these figures to another level. Over the years Jordan has become virtually a garbage man on offense, working the offensive glass for putbacks or being on the receiving end of Chris Paul lobs for highlight reel dunks. Chris Paul may have left, but Jordan’s role hasn’t changed. So far this season attempting 124 field goals within ten feet and incredibly only three beyond that. What Jordan will give you is a presence on the offensive glass, an option in transition for Bledsoe, Antetokounmpo, and Middleton to throw lobs at an elite finishing at the rim. What he won’t provide is spacing and that’s certainly something to consider.

Contract Situation: One of the biggest issues if not the biggest with any DeAndre Jordan acquisition is his contract situation. According to spotrac.com, after this season Jordan can opt-in to a player option worth 24 million dollars for next season or he can hit unrestricted free agency. With the potential to cash in on a max contract this summer it would appear unlikely that Jordan would opt-in.

The issue with this is that any team trading for Jordan does so with the knowledge that he may well leave in five months time. This is a huge risk to take if the asking price is genuine assets.

Bobby Marks of ESPN tweeted this further complicating factor today:

“Hard part for teams that could be interested in DeAndre Jordan is that the All-Star does not have an agent. Hard to do any back channeling to see if DAJ is a short-term rental or would commit long term.”

On paper, Jordan is a supreme talent, a three-time All-Star, two-time All-Defensive Team player but is that enough for the Bucks to sway them into potentially taking on this rental? And should they?

The Asking Price: Woelful, when reporting the rumor stated that his source tells him that the Clippers are interested in John Henson, Khris Middleton, and Malcolm Brogdon. He reports that two of those players would likely be required to get the deal done if not three.

On the surface, Henson is absolutely expendable. Not only are you trading a starting center for an upgrade at the position you are shedding Henson’s remaining two years at approximately 9 million per season, which is a positive move. The sticking point will be Brogdon and Middleton. Both players are controlled through next season on reasonable deals, not to mention they are a huge part of the Bucks offense.

Middleton after a rough start bounced back with a vengeance in November. For the month Khris averaged 21.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, shooting 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. That’s All-Star level production from the 26-year-old swingman. Giving up Middleton for a potential rental would be a huge, huge risk.

The reigning rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon has had a downtick in production since the arrival of Eric Bledsoe and the ensuing relegation to the second unit but remains a vital cog in the rotation. Brogdon is still shooting an elite percentage from deep at 43 percent and provides solid defense and ball security. Even with the addition of Bledsoe, Malcolm still averages over 30 minutes per game.

When looking at trading either Khris or Malcolm, the Bucks will need to decide what is more important, the added rebounding and presence in the paint or offensive production from the guard/wing positions as the quality of depth in those spots isn’t ideal.

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

There is a lot to consider from the Bucks point of view, and they certainly need to decide how hard they want to pursue contention this season. Having already made one major roster move, Milwaukee is still in the process of adjusting to Bledsoe’s addition to the team. Adding Jordan wouldn’t require much work on the defensive side but on the offensive side, it is sure to take some time for Giannis and co to figure out the best way to incorporate the big man efficiently.

In a season already a quarter way through, the Bucks hardly setting the world on fire, do they really want to trade away key pieces, and for a potential rental at that?

In my opinion its a pass. I’m not willing to trade anything outside of a combination of Henson, Dellavedova, Teletovic, Wilson or Vaughn and that simply won’t cut it. With the Bucks recently making a change to the defensive scheme, Henson is now in a far more comfortable place on that end of the floor, roaming the paint and protecting the rim. With that in mind, I’m not sold that Jordan will move the needle enough to give up vital pieces in Middleton and Brogdon. The Bucks aren’t likely in a position to contend this year barring an unforeseen run. I hope they are able to see the future beyond this season, play the long game, and still hold high expectations at a minimum, winning a playoff series win come April.

Whats your verdict Bucks fans? Am I on the money? Do you want the Bucks to go all in on Jordan or hold firm and ride it out with the current roster intact? Win now or play the long game?

Time will tell what Horst and co are thinking.

 

 

About Kane Pitman

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