The Milwaukee Bucks are a work in progress. Could a trade better shape their roster to fit the image of new head coach Adrian Griffin?
After a highly-criticized start to the season, they've hit their stride on the offensive end of the court. Their 120.5 offensive rating ranks third and would be among the best in NBA history if it holds throughout the rest of the season. If we only focus on their last eight games, their offensive rating skyrockets to 127.3. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard at the helm, they're clearly figuring out how to maximize their elite offensive talent.
The defensive end is another story. After a slow start, the Bucks rank 19th in defensive rating, but are showing minor signs of righting the ship. Since they moved Brook Lopez into drop coverage on November 3rd, they sit at 14th.
However, they still have work to do on that end of the court. Griffin needs to continue tinkering with his schemes. Adding talent that can implement his preferred defensive style is another way they can improve. They'll need to depart with some valuable players to acquire the right type of personnel. Considering their lack of draft assets, four players are most likely to be traded if the Bucks strike a deal.
Bucks Most Likely To Be Traded: Pat Connaughton
Connaughton has been invaluable during several postseason runs. He understands how to play alongside Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and proved himself as a 16-game player throughout their championship run.
Unfortunately, he's been mired in a year-and-a-half-long shooting slump that sucks any value he brings to the offensive end of the court. He also looks a step slower on defense this season and doesn't have a position on that end of the court.
His $9.4 million salary in 2023-24 is the biggest reason he lands on this list. The Bucks would surely love to keep him, but he's one of only two players Milwaukee would realistically trade that isn't on a minimum or rookie salary. If he's dealt, it would be due to salary-matching purposes.