Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Bucks Go All In, The Warriors Go All Out

Tonight in the Association, you get to see that rarest of trades: the one where one team goes into the tank, and the other will soon join them. Fun!

Milwaukee moved Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson and a barely contained sense of glee to the Bay Area for shoot-constantly guard Monta Ellis, energy tweener and Scrabble bailout Ekpe Udoh, and the eternal ballast that is Kwame Brown. And while this looks like nothing more than a load up move for the Bucks, I'm not sure this really gets it done, even in the bottom rungs of the Eastern Conference... because the Bucks already had Ellis in undersized "point" guard Brandon Jennings, and the Bucks are, in all likelihood, going to think that they can get away with putting them both on the floor. Which would work if either of them rebounded, but, well, they don't... and even reigning Player of the Week Ersan Ilysasova can't get enough boards to get this moving. They might get to the playoffs now with the Knicks in free fall and the Cavs not quite ready yet, but I'm not sure that's a real benefit, when the Heat await.

Still, I see the Bucks' thinking here: Ellis and Udoh are at least somewhat useful, especially if you can move Jennings to a team that hasn't realized he's a low-percentage use guy rather than someone on the rise, and Udoh's fun to play with. And they gave up, well, nothing. Let's look at that side of things now, shall we?

The centerpiece for the Warriors is Bogut, the onetime first pick in the draft, and the first guy to wear the laundry and play center that won't be an active embarrassment in, well, decades. (Seriously. This franchise now looks fondly back to Erick Dampier.) But that assumes that the burly Aussie can actually stay healthy -- which, as the fact that the Bucks just moved him, is pretty much a guarantee that he can't -- and even when he is on the floor, his value is limited by weak free throw shooting and a shaky handle. He's not bad for a true 5, but the plain and simple fact of the matter is that true 5s are few and far between, and can be taken out of the game entirely by a good up-tempo small lineup.

As for the artist formerly known as Captain Jacks, he might have half a tank of gas and a season of spite towards Scott Skiles to provide some nice moments for the Dubs... but they don't want nice moments. They want losses, and lots of them, to get a very high draft pick to go with the rest of the lineup. And they'll get them... but there's also this.

In Ellis and Stephen Curry, the Dubs basically had similar guys -- shoot first point guards, high volume, with defense issues. Curry is the clearly superior player, since he shoots for great percentages... but he's also made of glass. (Ellis, iron. It's really his best virtue.) By moving the roster to him at 1 and Bogut at 5, the franchise has more or less committed to questions at the most important defensive positions -- and that's just not going to work.

But then again, it's Golden State: they are used to that, right?

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