Why the Bucks Should Reunite with Brandon Knight


As we approach the halfway point in the season, many teams are faced with decisions to make that will impact their future. The main dilemma many league GM’s face, is the trade market.

The trade deadline for this season is still over a month away, but many teams have already tried making moves. Just a few days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers sent Mike Dunleavy and a future draft pick to Atlanta in exchange for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver.

The Cavs (28-8) are trying to fill the void of JR Smith, who remains out with a thumb injury. And despite Cavs’ head coach Tyronn Lue saying that Korver will come off the bench, this move will significantly strengthen the defending champs, who are in line for another deep playoff run.

GM’s whose teams sit on the playoff cusp have a much more difficult decision than GM’s who have a team poised for contention. They can either decide to make a push for the postseason, or focus on the future.

Many teams in both conferences fit this bill. While the top seven teams in the West are pretty much guaranteed to make the playoffs (bearing any huge setbacks), teams 8-15 are only separated by 4.5 games. Teams 4-12 in the East find themselves just six games apart from each other.

In the coming weeks, we should start to see which teams are determined for a playoff push, and which teams decide it’s time to rebuild.

The Milwaukee Bucks find themselves right in the middle of the pack. At 19-18, they are currently tied with Washington for the #6 seed in the Eastern conference, but have several teams (Hornets, Bulls, Pistons, Knicks, Magic) not far behind.

The Bucks have a bright future ahead of them, but are a few pieces short of being considered a serious contender. They possess a strong frontcourt with all-star caliber players in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, and have key contributors off the bench in Michael Beasley, Mirza Teletovic, and Greg Monroe. This frontcourt is usually relied on to cover up for the much more vulnerable backcourt.

The torn hamstring suffered by swingman Khris Middleton during training camp definitely threw a wrench in the works for Milwaukee’s expectations for the 2016-17 season.

The addition of Tony Snell right before the season started gave the Bucks a bit of a patch on the Middleton injury. Snell has been able to knock down some clutch threes, but is still developing other parts of his game.

Point guards Matthew Dellavedova and Malcolm Brogdon can both shoot the three as well, but are seldom used consistently by Jason Kidd in the lineup that finishes games.

This is where the Bucks need to find someone who can do just this. Someone who takes the attention away from Antetokounmpo and Parker.

Brandon Knight, current member of the Phoenix Suns, could do just that. Knight played for Milwaukee during the 2014-15 season in Jason Kidd’s first season as the Bucks’ head coach, but was dealt at the trade deadline in a three team deal that sent him to Phoenix.

Prior to the trade, Knight was averaging 17.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 32.5 minutes per game as Milwaukee’s starting point guard. The team was gelling, having won eight out of their last nine, headed into the all star break with a 30-23 record, sitting just 2.5 games out of third in the Eastern conference.

Just minutes before the trade deadline that year, Knight was sent along with Kendall Marshall to Phoenix in a three team trade involving Phoenix, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia.

The Bucks acquired Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, and Miles Plumlee in this multi player trade. Only Plumlee remains on the Bucks’ current roster, with Carter-Williams and Ennis dealt during the preseason to get Tony Snell and Michael Beasley in return. Miles Plumlee began the 2016-17 season as the starting center, but has now fallen completely out of Jason Kidd’s rotation.

Milwaukee went on to win their first game after the all-star break to push their record to eight above .500.

What happened after that was quite surprising. The Bucks dropped their next 13 out of 16 games, falling to 34-36, and were on the brink of not even making the postseason.

They managed to scrape out a somewhat respectable 7-5 finish to end the season at 41-41, good enough for the sixth seed in a rather weak Eastern conference that season.

I can only imagine how much Bucks GM John Hammond pondered about this trade that completely changed the outcome of Milwaukee’s season. What was his mindset? Why would he want to make any changes to a team that was finding its way?

He made a gamble. A gamble that Bucks fans wish he did not make.

Knight, currently in his third season with the Phoenix Suns, has fallen out of the starting lineup, and has seen a colossal decrease in playing time to the likes of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. Knight does not appear happy with his current role, and the Suns have made him available in trade talks.

This would be an opportunity for a second chance at what could have been for Brandon Knight and the Milwaukee Bucks.









About Eric Peterson

The Lead's Chief of Content

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