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Roundtable: Bucks Land Mirotic At Deadline

Gather round Bucks fans, for we have some excited takes to share

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we review the always-hectic and perpetually-entertaining NBA Trade Deadline, where the Milwaukee Bucks turned Thon Maker (via Stanley Johnson), Jason Smith, and a bunch of 2nd round picks into Nikola Mirotic.

What was your initial reaction when you saw Thon was traded to Detroit?

Andrew H: I was sad to see him go. Always liked Thon. But if he wanted more playing time he probably wasn’t getting it in Milwaukee, so why not let him go see what he can do somewhere else. Also I’m pretty sure everything that’s happened since has worked out pretty well.

Kyle: Thon’s team messed up and I figured you’re swapping a player that wasn’t playing for a player that probably wouldn’t play.

Mitchell: Initially, I thought I was upset because Thon had something he offered while Stanley Johnson had less. Then I realized I was just salty because I had insisted that the Bucks wouldn’t trade Thon. Then I started digging into Stanley Johnson and became more intrigued, until...

Adam: I didn’t mind it. Thon is intriguing and gave some backup depth, but I think the more the NBA evolves at the big position, the less valuable what limited skill set he has as a stretch-5 will be. I was cool jettisoning him.

Sylvan: I was never a Thon believer. Too skinny, too spasmodic in his output, too much work to make him work when the team has a better plan. To be at his best a coach needs to build around him, but he resisted the opportunities that he got from Bud or failed to rise to the challenge.

In the end, he’s where I thought he would be, somewhere else and likely buried for the rest of his career. It’s a shame we couldn’t figure out a way to get value, but I can’t miss the player. Like John Henson, I miss the man.

How about when Stanley Johnson was re-routed to New Orleans for Mirotic?

Andrew H: YES. I was not excited in the least to have Stanley Johnson on the team, but I’m super psyched to have Mirotic. I’m willing to guarantee he wins us a playoff game or two single-handedly by putting up 30-plus on some night.

Kyle: Hell yeah!!!!! The Bucks going all-in while creating more cap space this summer is a win-win.

Mitchell: For the price the Bucks paid, they couldn’t have done much better to add a major contributor. The Bucks somehow have even more shooting around Giannis Antetokounmpo for the playoff run.

Adam: Giving up scrap heap players and second round picks for a guy who is entering his ideal situation to succeed? Complete and utter joy; I’ve felt this was the year to go all-in, and the fact Milwaukee did that without sacrificing any major assets is a big organizational victory.

Sylvan: This is the move that will cement the Bucks as NBA champions in 2019. We needed a shooter to put us over the top, and Nikola Mirotic is a high volume shooter in his prime. He’s an excellent team player, and proved in the 2018 playoffs that he’s the kind of guy who can step up and do all of the things that a contender wants from its first offensive threat off the bench. The Bucks are stacked for a deep playoff run, with a roster of team players that can all play Bud’s way.

How do you feel about the Bucks’ moves compared to their counterparts in the East?

Andrew H: Maybe we (by we, I mean basically everyone except us) can start talking about something other than the Philadelphia 76ers starting five now?

Kyle: Philly and Toronto has brought in guys to improve their top end talent while sacrificing depth. Boston is still hoping they can turn it around.

Mitchell: Well, the Toronto Raptors gave up depth on the wing to add a 34-year old Marc Gasol. Gasol offers the Raptors about the same type of skill set that Brook Lopez gives the Bucks...but Lopez fits the mold better. Philly traded significant assets for Tobias Harris, who’s a good player, but is there enough ball to feed him, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons?

I’m feeling pretty good.

Adam: I think this season is more about the Bucks than their opponents. They’ve been beating the best teams all season by playing Bud’s game; if they stick to their formula in the postseason, they’ll hit their goals.

Sylvan: The Stanley Johnson move had me scratching my head, wondering if the Horst God was mortal after all, but the Mirotic trade may go down as one of the more important solidifying moves in Bucks history. The Bucks haven’t surrounded Giannis with a murderer’s row of shooters, but they’ve done what they could to acquire this era’s unobtainium. We are in contention and the NBA has taken notice.

Who will you miss more: Thon Maker or Jason Smith?

Kyle: I’ll legit miss Thon. He brought energy, seemed to be great locker room guy. Plus the flying knees fighting style is amazing.

Mitchell: Jason Smith, obviously.

Adam: Playoff Thon against Boston was one of the most refreshing, surprising developments of the past few years. I’ll miss his unbridled enthusiasm and the cheers he garnered his rookie year after merely entering the game.

Sylvan: Jason Smith was a great brand ambassador, but Thon played actual minutes for the Bucks, and everybody will be left wondering what could have been in the playoffs. Not for long, but I wanted him to do that stupid arm thing while somebody else held the trophy.

Don’t look now, but Jon Horst opened up a roster spot. Who do you want to see the Bucks get off of the buyout market?

Kyle: Wayne Ellington, Dwayne Dedmon, or bring Wes Matthews home!

Sylvan: OJ Mayo is finally available to play again, no? In all seriousness, if the Bucks are still looking for a backup center, they could do worse than Marcin Gortat, who is now on waivers. Also on waivers; Milos Teodosic and Ben McLemore.

Mitchell: If Shams Charania’s report is accurate, Wayne Ellington might be available, and it never hurts to have a three-point gunner on your team’s third string.

Adam: I’ll echo Mitchell and Kyle. I like Wayne Ellington as an Eddie House-type who could flip one Playoff game if he gets hot from deep. That’s well worth it.

How does this trade deadline change the Bucks’ ceiling for this year?

Andrew H: We’re going for it baby. All. In. First the Brewers and now this. Let’s all enjoy the ride. The Bucks are now the John Wick of the East.


Mitchell: Bucks in 6.

Adam: Not at all. I had making the Finals as their ceiling even before this trade.

Jon Horst: Executive of the Year?

Andrew H: Well, he turned Delly, Henson, Thon, Jason Smith, two seconds and a protected first into George Hill (who only has $1 mil guaranteed next year) and Mirotic (who has a $12.5 mil expiring contract) to not only improve a team gunning for a title but open even more cap space to run it all back next year. So yeah, I’d say he’s in the running.


Mitchell: The only other guy I can think of is Masai Ujiri, who landed Kawhi Leonard and turned last year’s best team in the East into this year’s...second-best team in the East? What am I saying, of course it’s Horst.

Adam: Beyond merely his personnel moves, he also orchestrated the biggest coaching upgrade of the offseason. That, combined with his shrewd moves on the margin and the Lopez bargain buy should make him the front runner.

Sylvan: I dunno, maybe....