The Bucks have been shopping Michael Carter-Williams and Greg Monroe all summer, but have not been successful. In fact, the NBA rumor mill is crazy around this time of year, but there haven’t even been rumors about the Bucks being close to dealing either of the two.
Sources have said that the Bucks just haven’t gotten a deal that lines up with the way they value the two players. However, the Bucks have to figure out sooner rather than later whether there is a way to utilize them, or if it would just be beneficial to have them off the team altogether, no matter what kind of value is out there from the NBA.
The problems with Monroe and MCW are glaringly obvious. MCW can’t shoot. Not only can he not shoot, he shot so little from the three-point line that he didn’t even qualify for league rankings. He shot 15/55 from the three-point line, coming in at 27%. On top of that, his area of expertise is supposed to be playmaking and passing, but he is somewhat overrated in those categories. He averaged 5.2 assists and 2.8 TO’s per game. For reference, Reggie Jackson of the Detroit Pistons averaged 6.2 assists on 2.8 TO’s playing the same amount of minutes per game, and Jackson isn’t looked at as a playmaker, but rather a scorer.
Monroe doesn’t fit what the Bucks do defensively. The Bucks are the longest team in the NBA, and there is a reason why Jason Kidd is building his team that way. Kidd wants long players so they can play frenetic, fast paced defense, and have the ability to switch and trap everywhere. Although that sounds good, you need the right players to make that work. You especially need an athletic, elite rim protector to correct the mistakes from traps and switches that were missed. Monroe is not athletic, nor is he a rim protector. Shots against Monroe inside of ten feet were converted nearly 55% of the time, according to NBA.com. Monroe also gave up one of the ratings of shot frequency in that same area, which means teams aren’t only not afraid of him, they are attacking him.
So, with the Bucks young core in tact, what should they do about the misfit role players?
Part of the problem with both MCW and Monroe is that the Bucks gave up a lot to get them. For MCW, they gave up Brandon Knight in a 3-team trade. Monroe came at a pretty hefty price tag, although it doesn’t look as bad now that Timofey Mozgov just signed for over $60 million with the new NBA salary cap boom. The Bucks, rightfully so, want to save some face and get something back.
However, this brings up the question that I proposed earlier. Does it do the Bucks any good to keep them on the roster going forward just because they can’t get what they want in return? Would it be more beneficial for the Bucks to get rid of them anyway, and allow the rest of the long term pieces to mesh? This is what they pay GM John Hammond for, and it’s clear that the Bucks either are stubborn and want the value, or they have contingency plans for both on the Bucks.
Perhaps Kidd and Hammond want to run this roster back, with some strategic tweaks, and see if that helps the two fit in the roster. However, after both started the season in the starting lineup last year, they both spent time on the Bucks bench. No matter what new strategies Kidd employs, that isn’t going to help MCW’s shooting and it isn’t gonna make Monroe taller, or his arms longer, or give him the ability to jump high or move fast laterally.
Maybe the most frustrating thing for Kidd and Hammond is there is certainly a spot for both players in the NBA, although they just don’t fit with the Bucks. Monroe can score in bunches if you give him the ball on the block. MCW could be an elite defensive player with his length and height at the point guard position, which is probably why Kidd doesn’t want to give up on him. MCW’s poor shooting could be hidden on a great shooting team, but unfortunately, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t shoot either, and they are the priority for the Bucks franchise.
Most importantly, what Hammond and Kidd can’t be doing is waiting. They can’t be waiting for them to acquire the skills that they don’t have yet. Monroe is never going to become a freak athlete, he is a grown 26 year-old man, he is what he’s always going to be. There is minimal chance that MCW ever develops a jump shot. He hasn’t yet, and his form still isn’t even pretty. There are reasons to keep the two for at least one more season, but after that, the waiting is over. Even though this team is extremely young and is going to require a lot of patience around Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the time is going to come where they’re going to be on the free market. If the Bucks can’t find out the right answers around them sooner rather than later, it will become a lot more enticing for them to walk.