After some lengthy debate (no pun intended), both John Henson (34%) and Miles Plumlee (32%) are removed from Bucks Island as the ninth and eighth most valuable Bucks, respectively.
While their specialties are pretty different, Henson and Plumlee have some similarities that earned them these votes. Henson is a top-notch rim defender and (theoretically) a plus-rebounder, whereas Plumlee's checks are cashed by his highlight-reel athleticism on both sides of the floor, alongside an intriguing on-court synergy with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Neither center particularly excels in team defense (though Henson's length makes up for some mental mistakes), and both centers do not demand the ball very much on offense. Most importantly to our voters, neither one has consistently demonstrated the ability to be anything more than a rotation player in the NBA, despite the apparent fit with the core of the team.
Additionally, both Henson and Plumlee are recent signatories to relatively large contracts. Henson signed a 4-year/$44 million extension last offseason, and Plumlee inked a 4-year/$50 million deal this summer. Neither deal is crippling in a vacuum, and Henson's contract is particularly affordable for a big man in the current salary cap environment, but the combination of those two with Greg Monroe ($17 million salary this season) means an awful lot of money is going to three players at the same position who truly cannot share the floor for any significant amount of time.
Personally, I'm surprised to see both of these players last this long in our rankings, but I'm not shocked to see them so close together in the voting. As many people have stated, both here and elsewhere, the Bucks' center position seems to have one too many cooks in the kitchen, and each of those cooks gets paid a pretty penny to make fewer meals than they would in a less-crowded environment. Plus the sous chef (Thon Maker) could be better than all of them, if he turns out to actually be, you know, good.
We're down to the top-7 spots in our polls. The players left on the list would appear to comprise the main core of the team for the foreseeable future. Which one of these players is more dispensable than the others?
(Reminder: we're counting down the most valuable players from a roster-building perspective, not just who is going to be the best player next year. So put on your NBA GM hat and consider all the key factors that go into a player's value: past productivity, future potential, contract, age, personality, etc. So to start, pick the player you think is least valuable -- in other words, if the NBA had an expansion draft, who would be the first Bucks player you'd leave unprotected?)
- Miles Plumlee
- John Henson
- Michael Carter-Williams
- Malcolm Brogdon
- Michael Beasley
- Rashad Vaughn
- Jason Terry
- Steve Novak