Blogtable: Will Eric Bledsoe trade help Milwaukee Bucks climb Eastern Conference ranks?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
From NBA.com Staff
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Eric Bledsoe is headed to the Bucks. Will this move help Milwaukee climb the Eastern Conference hierarchy and, if so, how?
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Steve Aschburner: Acquiring Bledsoe moves the Bucks into contention for one of the East’s top four seeds, in my opinion. He’s a potent, athletic scorer, a Top 50 talent in the league, and he’s got something to prove after his clumsy (but ultimately effective) departure from Phoenix. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton need some help in Milwaukee’s offense, more than just optimism about Jabari Parker’s return. The backcourt depth presumably will make up for giving up helpful reserve Greg Monroe, and there will still be considerable minutes for last year’s ROY Malcolm Brogdon.
Shaun Powell: Amazingly, this Bledsoe trade helps Giannis Antetokounmpo become a better player. Without the burden of having to run the offense — that’ll be split by Bledsoe and Malcom Brogdon now — he can be turned loose to finish more plays and develop his catch-and-shoot skills, which is really the only area that can be classified as a mild weakness. Both Brogdon and Bledsoe can play off the ball and therefore Jason Kidd has multiple lineups and weapons to throw at the other bench. I’m not ready to put Milwaukee in The NBA Finals yet, but if the Cavs don’t get their act together (I suspect they will), the Bucks with Bledsoe (and a healthy Jabari Parker) will rattle the cage next spring.
John Schuhmann: He probably can’t hurt a team that’s lost four straight and has slid to 29th in defensive efficiency. Bledsoe will give the Bucks some much-needed punch off the dribble, but more important is the other end of the floor, and the Bucks already have some good defenders in the backcourt. Regardless of personnel, Jason Kidd has to decide if he’s going to stick with his aggressive defensive scheme that, despite the Bucks’ collective length, more and more opponents are able to take advantage of for high rates of layups and corner threes. Better defense would result in more transition opportunities for Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Sekou Smith: I think it will, in time, help the Bucks continue to climb the ladder in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. But if I’ve learned anything during the early portion of this season, it’s not to expect to see some immediate bump in the Bucks’ fortunes. I’m going to give this move some time. I’m going to give Bledsoe some time to adjust to his new surroundings and I’m certainly going to extend the same courtesy to his new teammates, who will have to rework their operation to account for a dynamic point guard like Bledsoe. Coach Jason Kidd’s tutelage here will be crucial. After telling Giannis Antetokounmpo that the ball will be in his hands and it’s his show, now you have to show him why having Bledsoe makes sense for his game as well as the greater good. But from a nuts and bolts standpoint, adding a 20-point, six-assist point guard with elite athleticism has to be a good thing … right?
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