With the Milwaukee Bucks‘ championship aspirations already down the drain, they now face a crucial offseason that could eventually figure out what’s Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future with the team would look like. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the reigning MVP recently sat down with the Bucks ownership to discuss how things should move forward in Milwaukee.
It remains to be seen if the Bucks will offer Giannis the supermax extension this offseason, or if the Greek Freak will actually ink a potential deal. If no new deal takes place between the two sides, Antetokounmpo will enter unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021, where more than half of NBA teams will pitch max contracts to the do-it-all forward.
But assuming that the Bucks don’t panic and keep Giannis at least for one more year, these moves should be the team’s priority to build a squad who will not just be a great regular season team but will also be a force in the playoffs.
Find a trade partner for Bledsoe
Make no mistake about it. Eric Bledsoe has been instrumental in the Bucks’ success for the past couple of seasons. He was named to the All-Defensive First Team last season, then to the second team this year. Bledsoe is a high-IQ perimeter defender and he was a key cog in the Bucks’ ranking as the top team in terms of defensive rating.
But having said that, the playoff series against the Miami Heat exposed Bledsoe’s diminishing value in Milwaukee. Even before Giannis went down with that unfortunate ankle injury, the Bucks’ offense already found it very difficult to crack the Heat’s defense. Giannis may be leading the team in assists, but that doesn’t mean that he is already a great playmaker. He doesn’t have the elite ball-handling skills to always drive by lockdown defenders in a half-court offense situation, and that weakness was exposed in the Heat series.
The next-best playmaker in the Bucks squad is Bledsoe, who is not really known for his passing. The loss of Malcolm Brogdon last offseason really hurt them in this department, and the team needs to improve their playmaking next season. Furthermore, Giannis’ drastic and continuous improvement on the defensive end makes Bledsoe more expendable.
Trading Bledsoe would be a priority for the Bucks in the offseason, and they need to get a better playmaker in return.
Get more shot-makers off the bench
While it’s great that the Bucks successfully surrounded Giannis with a bevy of shooters, the team also doesn’t have real shot-makers outside of Giannis and Khris Middleton. Wes Matthews, Brook Lopez, Kyle Korver, George Hill, and Ersan Ilyasova are more comfortable on spot-up three-pointers, and they rely on penetrations from Antetokounmpo and Middleton to make that happen.
So aside from moving Bledsoe, the Bucks could also bring in another shot creator to help bolster their bench. It’s unsure how the Bucks could move some pieces around to afford someone like Jordan Clarkson in free agency, but they definitely need somebody like Clarkson to make plays for the team, while also creating his own shots.