As of Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks hold the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 29-23 record.
Building around Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks front office has made a couple important moves in recent years.
They drafted Malcolm Brogdon, who ended up winning the Rookie of the Year award last season. Earlier this season, they traded away big man Greg Monroe for Eric Bledsoe.
All-in-all, now that Jabari Parker is back from his ACL injury, the Bucks have one of the best starting fives in the entire NBA, with Bledsoe, Brogdon (who is now injured) Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo and John Henson.
Although the team has a dominant starting unit, they’ve struggled on the interior since shipping off Monroe. In fact, they give up 45.7 points in the paint per game (20th in the NBA), bring down 7.9 offensive rebounds per contest (29th), 31.2 defensive rebounds per game (tied for 27th with three other teams), and hold a negative-2.8 rebounding differential (tied for 27th).
Although they were initially rumored to be in the running for Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan ahead of the trade deadline, it appears as though they decided to go after a lower-profile veteran who happened to be available.
Due to the emergence of youngsters Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor, the Brooklyn Nets recently made Tyler Zeller available. The 28-year-old veteran made 33 starts in 42 games for the Nets this season and averaged 7.1 points and 4.6 boards in 16.7 minutes per game. He spent the first two years of his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers before becoming a member of the Boston Celtics for the next three. This was his first season in Brooklyn and he benefitted from receiving instant playing time under coach Kenny Atkinson.
With the focus now on developing the team’s younger players, the Nets decided to send Zeller off and received someone who fits their team-building strategy perfectly. In addition to Milwaukee sending over a future second-round draft pick, the Nets received 21-year-old Rashad Vaughn.
Vaughn, now in his third season, was taken with the 17th pick in the 2015 Draft, appeared in just 22 games for the Bucks this year and averaged just 2.7 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 7.9 minutes per game. He holds career averages of 3.1 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 12.3 minutes in 133 games played.
Since the Nets are in the midst of a rebuild, Atkinson and the organization will likely give Vaughn a chance to see extended minutes at some point in the season.
Meanwhile, the Bucks now gain a legitimate backup center behind Henson. Interestingly, Zeller and Henson were teammates at the University of North Carolina and had a lot of success playing alongside each other. Therefore, chemistry most likely won’t be an issue when it comes to the two centers. Second-year center Thon Maker might drop out of the rotation completely as a result of the trade.
Although the trade might not jump out on paper, it gives Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty another viable option in the frontcourt as the team looks to improve on the glass.News Now - Sport News