Setting the Stage
One position player Bucks fans often discuss when trying to improve the Bucks team is Point Guard. If the Bucks were to obtain another PG, below are the traits the team might look for in that guard.
1 - Age / Experience
Can the guard answer be Malcolm Brogdon? Absolutely. He is part of the solution. He’s not all of the solution though, because his prime is likely to be a couple of years from now, as he is both new to the NBA and new to the PG position. If there ever was any doubt that winning now or soon was a priority, watching Utah lose Gordon Hayward should erase all doubts. So when looking for help at PG, the ideal help will be a player in his prime now, allowing Brogdon and other talent, to naturally grow into increasing responsibilities.
2 - Usage
The current group of four high usage players (Giannis, Monroe, Middleton, Parker) are forwards or big guys. It only takes a cursory look at the latest playoffs to see how important PG usage is in the modern game when watching the Warriors or Cavaliers, and many of the other top teams too. The Bucks need a point guard who is a proven 20% plus usage player, ideally closer to 24% or even more.
3 - Mental / Emotional Makeup
There's an old saying that comes to mind, ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’. The Bucks should avoid a player with lots of ‘smoke’ in his background for this PG role. The NBA is not a court of law, scouting is almost the opposite, in a guilty until proven innocent sort of way. The one word to use to describe the makeup of the future Bucks PG is ‘leader’. Bucks fans have seen this leadership in both Dudley and Jason Terry for example. Brogdon is going to be great at this someday, but he’s not ready yet. The Bucks should bring in a guard who is.
4 - Physical Gifts
The Bucks need a guard who is quick. For this one spot, the team should ignore height or length. They can get all long tall guys for other guards, wings and big guys, but at this spot, they need a quick player. Quickness is different than speed. Giannis appears very fast. Even Parker, who appears quite explosive, is not the right type of quick. Quick is someone who zigs and zags, and the ball appears attached to his hands while he is weaving through the opposing defense.
5 - Creativity
The Bucks don’t need a high assist player. A guard with a track record in the five to seven assist per game range suits the needs perfectly, as opposed to less or more. But the player needs to create, mainly off pick and roll, but also, setting up back cuts, reading players, helping players get in position and into plays, and even being creative scoring when guarded closely.
6 - Three Point Shooting
All NBA teams need more three point shooting. The Bucks are in a slightly worse position regarding three point shooting than most, because most of their high talent players are better at things other than three point shooting. The Bucks rely on role players for threes, which is more catch and shoot oriented style than off the bounce shooting that good PG’s supply. The Bucks need one of those types of players.
7 - Crunch Time Scoring
Bucks down one, ten seconds remain, in game 7, vs Golden State, in two years. Giannis is literally being held by Draymond Green, both his arms are held in a bear hug, so the point guard has the ball and can’t throw it to Giannis. The Bucks need a player who effortlessly and calmly puts the ball on the floor and then in the hoop on his own, or puts so much pressure on the defense, that someone else gets an easy shot as result.
Finding the Guard - Compromise is Key
So that’s the types of qualities the Bucks need in a new guard. Now the Bucks need to go out and find that guy. The Bucks will have challenges in finding players who fit those needs, who the Bucks can obtain, and who fit into the current salary situation. To meet these challenges, the Bucks will have to make compromises. Guards who they can get might be lacking many of the team needs, guards who meet the needs, will require some painful trade-offs in payroll and trade pieces required. The good news, compromising and trading off means guards do exist, it’s just a matter of the degree of bending the Bucks make.
If the Bucks can’t find the right veteran today, they should find a guard solution for now who does things that Matthew Dellavedova and Brogdon don’t do well as a stop gap measure. The talent the team most lacks is cat like quickness and some of the things that go along with that like being able to weave through defenses with the ball and make things happen. But, this compromise player, he needs to be cheap. The last thing the Bucks need to do is give out another multi-year, 10M deal to some role player. The Bucks have filled that overpaid role player slot many times over. And, even if the Bucks find a little short term help, the Bucks still must keep working to obtain that ‘right’ veteran high quality point guard into this lineup.
Let’s keep an eye out for the next Bucks move, and see if they address this guard hole in the roster. After all, the front office keeps repeating the mantra ‘draft for talent, trade for need’ when they draft yet another seven foot tall, nine foot plus foot reach guy. At some point, the second part of that quote needs to be made good on. The time is now.