The endless stream of Bucks questions strolls on. We got up to plenty of answering in part one of our mailbag on Friday and you can read the rest of our responses to your comments below.
Between Kyrie and Eric Bledsoe, which is more likely to help get this team to a title, both in the short term and long? (R983)
Kyrie Irving comes with his quirks, there’s no doubt about that. His defensive aptitude is questionable at best, and we all remember too well the frustration that accompanies having a lead ball handler easily penetrate this Milwaukee defense. Eric Bledsoe has a better defensive reputation and feels more crafty in terms of a team creator, I could easily see him working with Giannis and Thon in the pick-and-roll to create a dynamic offensive duo. Kyrie’s vision has always seemed lacking, and while the Bucks desperately need an isolation creator to alleviate the load from Khris “turnaround jumper” Middleton, I can’t see him appreciably making his teammates significantly better.
That being said, I think Kyrie still helps this team get to a title in both the short and long term more than Bledsoe. Both have injury concerns, but Bledsoe’s are scarier to me, plus he’s two years older than Irving. He can’t work off-ball as well as Kyrie with his career 33.4% mark from deep, and I think Irving’s slippery play that gets him to the hoop with ease would leave plenty of loose balls for Giannis to clean up when defenders flock to Irving beneath the rim. Bledsoe is an apt finisher too, but Milwaukee’s most deficient piece at the moment is an isolation scorer, an absolute necessity when it comes to the drip-drip play of the NBA playoffs. Too often they relied on Giannis to try and make something happen when he just isn’t quite ready for that role as a scorer.
Bledsoe may help some Bucks teammates get better, but Kyrie makes the team as a whole far better at the time when it matters. He’s been on the biggest stage while Bledsoe hasn’t seen the Playoffs since his brief time with the Clippers back in 2013. Give me Irving for now and later.
Will Jabari accept a contract to the terms of 4/75? (sheltD)
Speculating on Jabari Parker’s potential contract situation with the Bucks is the most engaging morsel left to pick at on what’s left of the offseason’s bone. A 4-year/$75 million dollar contract for Jabari puts him at around $19 million per year. Here’s a list of players making within a million or two of that amount next year:
- Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard
- Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Joakim Noah, Wesley Matthews
That first grouping is a collection of old money stars signed before the 2016 spike debacle, the other four are beneficiaries of the new cap environment. The tightened purse strings of franchises following the lower salary cap means the latter group isn’t an amazing marker, but nonetheless, I find it difficult putting Jabari into either of those camps at the moment. His value is almost impossible to determine until we have a better idea of what he looks like once he’s recovered, which is why I think it would be foolhardy of Milwaukee to lock into someone with a volatile value like Jabari. He probably rests somewhere between those two groups, but if I’m his agent, there’s no way I’m looking at the latter group and not saying I deserve more than those guys. I wouldn’t go less than 4-years/$84 million if I was him. - Adam
If we have a bad start to the season (first 20 games), should we tank to aquire a lottery pick or should we keep going and see what’s in for us? (stoneAge)
I guess this depends on what qualifies as a bad start. If the Bucks are around 7-13 or 8-12 then I say they press on like they would if they were 12-8. The Eastern Conference, especially the Central Division, is going to be not too good with teams like Chicago, Indiana (kinda), and Atlanta starting a rebuild process. So the Bucks can definitely rebound like they did last year and it might even be easier for them to rebound than it was this past season.
Even if the Bucks decided to tank they would have to out tank teams that they are better than on paper. It would look like that South Park episode where they try to purposely lose in baseball. Now, if Giannis goes down to injury (knock on wood) and Khris Middleton doesn’t look right with his hammy in the first quarter of the season, then the team could feasibly tank to a degree that could net them a decent draft prospect. However, this is the nightmare scenario and I will no longer tease the Gods because I do not want to speak this into existence. - Greg
What will it take for Jason Kidd to be fired/not re-signed? (SledDog34)
A total and complete meltdown both on and off the court. Like the franchise’s trajectory takes a complete 180 and everyone regresses. Kidd’s player development is his money maker and if that goes south along with the team’s image the front office has been crafting then yeah, he gone.
Suffice to say, I do not think Jason Kidd is going anywhere for the foreseeable future. He has a good report with the front office and ownership while his player development abilities are crucial for the very young Bucks squad. We’ll see how his lackluster X’s and O’s ability evolves (or doesn’t) and whether or not that will be enough for the powers-that-be to overlook the non-drawing board positives that Kidd brings to the franchise. Kidd will be on the hot seat after this season if the team’s standing in the weaker-by-the-transaction East doesn’t improve while the offensive and defensive metrics stay the same or get worse. - Greg