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PODCAST: Discussing MCW trade rumors and the Bucks’ clutch options

NBA: Preseason-Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, rumors of a possible Michael Carter-Williams traded erupted...actually, that’s probably a little strong...rumors of a possible Michael Carter-Williams traded bubbled on Twitter as Marc Stein reported the Bucks were rebuffed when they offered MCW for Kings guard Ben McLemore and Zach Lowe mentioned that the Bucks remain interested in moving both MCW and Greg Monroe to an interested suitor.

With that in mind, Frank and I tried to tackle a difficult question: Is dealing Michael Carter-Williams actually worth it, especially if it would be for a player of McLemore’s ilk?

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How good is MCW in comparison to his oft-rumored peers? When the rumors broke on Friday, Frank tweeted a quick statistical comparison of MCW and two of the players often mentioned in Bucks trade rumors, Ben McLemore and Jeremy Lamb.

Each player has their own strengths and weaknesses, but it appears that MCW is at least in the same class as those players. Obviously, the biggest appeal of each of those players is that they ARE wing players that SHOULD be able to shoot the ball a little bit better, even if there have been long stretches where they have not shot the ball all that well from the outside during their careers.

Since discussing the possibility of a MCW trade seems to be an evergreen topic, we quickly decided to shift gears and discuss Adam Paris’ deep dive on the Bucks’ clutch numbers.

(Editor’s note: I fully admit that on the podcast we fell into a classic trap of discussing clutch numbers and focusing entirely too much on the 30 to 60 seconds of the game instead of actual clutch opportunities. Clutch opportunities are defined as possessions that occur in the final five minutes of a game that is within five points. Clutch time is much longer than any of us tend to actually discuss.)

With Khris Middleton out, who takes his clutch opportunities? As Adam broke down, Middleton took a big chunk of the Bucks’ clutch possessions last season, and he was not very efficient in those moments. While he struggled overall, it was quite obvious why the Bucks leaned on him at the end of games. Middleton is a great three-point shooter who can also create out of pick and roll situations without giving up anything on the defensive end either. And at 6’8”, there was no concern with Middleton being able to get his shot off against shorter defenders.

With him out of the picture for much of the season, the responsibility to create in clutch situations turns to, you guessed it, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker. And that is where the conversation becomes somewhat interesting. Antetokounmpo is certainly the better creator at this point in his career, but Parker seems much more comfortable taking off the dribble (read: bad, but hittable) jumpers. Who would you give the ball to late in games?

What about Greg Monroe? Monroe was clearly above average in clutch situations last year, but he is totally forgotten about in the discussion of who should take control late in games. It’s not particularly surprising as Bucks fans don’t see Monroe as part of the Bucks future, but he may be quite helpful to the Bucks in clutch situations this season.