The Milwaukee Bucks are strolling through the Association with a league-leading 26-4 record. It’s hard to imagine them thinking about tinkering their roster with their blistering start to the season.
But as we saw in last year’s playoffs, it doesn’t really matter how good you are in the regular season. What matters is that you get it done come playoff time.
The Bucks certainly have the pieces in place to go all the way next June and bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Still, they should never count out the possibility of improving their roster to increase their chances of winning their first NBA title in nearly half a century.
Here are two possible trade targets that the Bucks should pursue should the right deal fall onto their laps:
Holiday checks all the boxes that Bledsoe brings to the table.
Milwaukee won’t miss Bledsoe’s playmaking ability should they swap him for Holiday. Likewise, they won’t lose any of Bledsoe’s elite perimeter defense given that Holiday is just as good – or arguably even better – on that side of the ball.
Holiday is also a slightly better and more willing shooter from beyond the arc than Bledsoe. The one-time All-Star also has no issues with playing off the ball either.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Bledsoe is playing great for Milwaukee and is one of the key reasons why they have found a lot of success over the past two years. However, the past two postseasons have shown that it’s hard to rely on him come gut-check time.
Bring in the New Orleans Pelicans two-way guard, who has a track record of performing well in the playoffs, albeit a small sample size. Still, it’s hard to discredit the fact that he shut down Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in their first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers two years ago.
Holiday performed extremely well in New Orleans’ 2018 playoff run. He put up averages of 23.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists while shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep.
Compare that with Bledsoe, who put up just 13.6 points, 3.7 boards, and 4.1 dimes while shooting just 42 percent from the field and 25.5 percent from three in their last two postseasons. His nightmare performances against the Toronto Raptors in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals and the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the 2018 playoffs continue to haunt Bucks fans in their dreams.
With two bad playoff series under his belt – both resulting in Milwaukee’s eliminations – Bucks fans might just feel a tad bit unsure of whether they can continue to confidently rely on Bledsoe when it matters most.
Holiday, who is around six months younger than Bledsoe, would certainly be an upgrade next to The Greek Freak. With their current roster, there’s no doubt that Khris Middleton is Milwaukee’s second best player. Bring in Holiday over Bledsoe, and now there’s an argument to be made on who their second best player is.
A deal would likely be hefty, and it’ll probably take giving up young prospects like Donte Divincenzo or D.J. Wilson and some more additional draft picks. But who knows if those are enough to entice the Pelicans to deal their best player.
Andre Iguodala is pretty much on every contender’s radar. Teams like the Houston Rockets, and both Los Angeles teams (the Lakers and Clippers) are looking for ways to acquire him from the Memphis Grizzlies.
With all the teams jockeying for Iguodala’s services, the Bucks should really consider getting in front of the line and bringing in the former Finals MVP.
For a team that is looking to get over the hump, Iguodala would become a very valuable addition to this Milwaukee squad. The 35-year old forward obviously has a lot of championship experience under his belt, having gone to five straight NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors.
Likewise, Iguodala, even at his age, is still one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Nabbing him would further bolster Milwaukee’s already top-notch defense and add another elite perimeter defender to pair with Khris Middleton and/or Eric Bledsoe.
With Iguodala’s acquisition, the Bucks bring in an experienced LeBron James stopper, which should come in handy should they face the Los Angeles Lakers in June. Should they square off against the L.A. Clippers in the Finals, he will likely take on the enviable task of defending Kawhi Leonard or Paul George.
Iguodala also brings in an added playmaker for Milwaukee and a pretty reliable shooter, especially in clutch situations. But as mentioned, there is nothing more valuable in Iguodala’s bag than his championship pedigree. Bringing in a savvy veteran who knows what it takes to win will certainly go a long way for a Bucks team that hasn’t proven anything just yet.
Memphis has placed a steep price tag on the three-time NBA champion. They have made it clear that they want a first round pick included in any package for Iguodala. In addition to the picks, the Bucks will likely have to give up a young player and some of their key pieces to acquire the services of the 2015 Finals MVP.