I was about to write about whether it appeared the Bucks had improved enough to make a run back toward the playoffs this year. But then the Plumlee signing happened and I realized I couldn’t answer that question yet. Plenty of people have discussed whether the signing of Miles Plumlee was smart, foolish, overvaluing the big guy, etc. But there’s consensus that committing to four years of another center who can’t flex to other positions means the Bucks have more moves to make. And likely before the season starts.
There are two major issues to address, and they may be able to handle both in one move. The first is there are currently four centers on the roster if you assume Maker is destined for that role (he’ll probably get some minutes behind Parker early on though). One of those guys is Monroe, who seems destined to move somewhere. It will be tough to make up his offense, but hopefully giving a few more shots to each of the stars will balance things out. Moving him should upgrade the defense, but also make the minutes easier to distribute.
What gets tricky without Monroe is there’s no clear starting center. We’re left with two good backups and one unknown prospect. It’s likely Henson and Plumlee will get 20-ish minutes each and it seems likely the hot hand will start as neither offers a definitive matchup advantage.
The other issue is at guard. It appears Delly is the most likely starter, but the situation is quite similar to center where the group of Dellavedova, Brogdan, MCW, Ennis, Vaughn offer a lot of bodies but no clear starting player. There’s some great options for backup spots where you could see a variety of combinations of those guys putting up points vs other backups.
So at the moment, it looks like this.
I’m assuming Monroe is not part of the picture. In an ideal world, Monroe would get moved for a clear starter in the backcourt. But it’s hard to assume his value is that high. It’s not like teams are saying “gee, we’ve got too many shooters, gotta move some”.
The other tricky part is figuring out who to bring in that would fit. The Bucks want Giannis handling the ball as that really increases his offensive value barring some major shooting improvements. But they need someone who can defend point guards and shoot. Most starting-caliber point guards, even if they could be acquired, aren’t likely going to accept a role where they suddenly move off the ball. Those players wouldn’t likely be as good in those scenarios either. So you’re left looking for smaller shooting guards who can defend point guards. Like CJ McCollum sized dude, but who can defend.
That all seems to point to Delly being the best option. He’s not very talented with the ball in his hand, so there’s less lost value moving him to the side on offense. He can competently guard point guards. And he’ll hopefully get open looks from outside with the attention being put on the future 3. He may not be good enough to start on most NBA teams, but this is an unusual situation where there aren’t a ton of options that are better. And for this year, when we’re not expecting Giannis/Jabari to destroy the world yet, it may not matter.
So that means a possible Monroe trade isn’t so tough. You grab whatever shooters or assets a team is willing to offer. Accept his value is low and moving him (and the resulting increased touches for others) is more of an investment in your future stars than anything else. But regardless, it’s a major change that seems inevitable. Maybe he sticks around through the start of the season, but for now the team looks very much incomplete.