The Milwaukee Bucks decided to trade for Serge Ibaka, which was a fantastic addition for them at the NBA trade deadline. They opted to trade Donte DiVincenzo, Semi Ojeleye, and Rodney Hood for the 32-year-old veteran. It made plenty of sense for the Bucks because they were in urgent need of a center at the time.
Anyone who follows the Bucks knows that this was a terrific move for the team, but others who don’t follow the Bucks claim that this isn’t a good deal for them.
Let’s look at three reasons why adding Serge Ibaka to the Milwaukee Bucks is a perfect decision by GM Jon Horst.
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3. Stretch big play well next to Giannis
There’s no disputing that the Milwaukee Bucks will be looking for players who can make that three-point shot if they want to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo. When it comes to the current Bucks team, nearly every player is capable of shooting the 3-point shot at a rate that is above average. When healthy, Grayson Allen, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Pat Connaughton, Brook Lopez, and others have all shown to be elite three-point shooters.
Despite the fact that Serge Ibaka isn’t having his best year from beyond the arc, he is still someone who will receive a lot of open looks just because he plays next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s still hitting over 40% from three-point range, which should only improve once he starts playing with Giannis.
When you consider all of the previous stretch bigs that have played alongside Giannis, you can see how this is going to be a winning formula for the Bucks. With the Milwaukee Bucks, Brook Lopez has played some of the best basketball of his career, and a lot of it can be due to Giannis. All of these players have also played defense at the highest level throughout their careers in Milwaukee. When you pair up with Giannis for those 4-5 spots, you’ll almost always be able to make stops since he’ll be there as a help-side defender.
Bobby Portis was getting run out of town in both New York and Chicago a few years ago, but then he came along to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he’s now one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters. Although a lot of his success is due to his hard work, playing next to Giannis does make centers better, and if you can stretch the floor as a center, you’ll have a lot of success playing with him.
2. He has the opportunity to simply play basketball
Serge Ibaka’s major issue in Los Angeles was that he liked to become engaged with other activities outside of basketball. Despite the fact that Milwaukee is a fantastic city with much to do, he is less likely to get into trouble there than in Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the United States.
When you play for a team like the Milwaukee Bucks, all these players want to do is go out there and win. They compete harder than many other NBA teams, and it’s clear that their primary purpose is to complete the task at hand, regardless of their performance. They don’t have any players on their squad that are seeking for numbers or anything other than to win the game in any manner possible.
Serge Ibaka is in a perfect place because the Bucks will be able to keep him under control, and he won’t have to worry about becoming engaged in other things because Milwaukee isn’t as big as Los Angeles. Milwaukee still has plenty of interesting sights to see, but he should be able to concentrate on basketball.
1. Allows them to be more flexible at the center position
There’s no doubting that the Milwaukee Bucks’ most pressing need at the NBA trade deadline was a center. They did an excellent job by not just going out and obtaining a center, but also grabbing one of the best role players in the last decade. Serge Ibaka has been a member of a lot of winning teams, as he fits in well with most of them.
He’ll not only be able to help them out while Brook Lopez is out, but he’ll also be able to help them out in the playoffs and provide some versatility. Last season, head coach Mike Budenholzer elected to sit Bobby Portis during the series against the Brooklyn Nets; if anything similar happens again, they’ll have to play Brook Lopez for far longer than his body can handle coming off of surgery.
One of the most important aspects of this Milwaukee Bucks team will be the flexibility he will provide. Given his ability to come in and do many of the same things as Brook Lopez, he will be a huge asset to this squad.