Was Michael Carter-Williams Trade Worth it for Bucks?

The NBA Trade Deadline was on February 19th. The Milwaukee Bucks entered the deadline sitting at 30-23 on the season, and it seemed like the Bucks were already ‘Owning the Future’ and ‘Owning the Present’. The hashtag: #OwnTheFuture is one of the many hashtags the Milwaukee Bucks use on their various social media accounts. The Bucks point guard before the deadline was Brandon Knight. Knight was set to be an un-restricted free agent this Summer. The Bucks could have offered Knight a 4.8 million dollar qualifying offer to make Knight a restricted free agent, meaning the Bucks could match any offers for Knight that any other NBA teams could have made.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd shared his thoughts on the Bucks retaining Knight earlier in the season, and it seems kind of odd as to why the Bucks traded Knight.

“He’s a piece we want here. You talk about his work ethic, the way he approaches the game, he’s a professional, on and off the court. I want everyone to have the ultimate goal of winning and being financially set. Our job as coaches is to help them achieve that goal.”

Some of the comments made by Kidd and Bucks general manger John Hammond leads you to be almost scratching your head. Why would the Bucks deal Brandon Knight if it sounded like they were confident they could get him to re-signing? Was it a move out of fear by the Bucks? Or did they just see something in Michael Carter-Williams they liked to make him their future point guard over Brandon Knight? No one knows. What we can do, is try to break down some things that went on in the process of the whole situation.

The Michael Carter-Williams trade right before the deadline past was more then likely the biggest shocker of the entire day. No one expected the Bucks to give up Brandon Knight at the deadline, especially since he was the team’s leading scorer and their best player, and no one thought the Philadelphia 76ers would deal Michael Carter-Williams, the 2013-2014 NBA Rookie of the Year and what seemed like the franchise player that could get the 76ers back on the map.

The Bucks sent Brandon Knight to the Phoenix Suns in a three team trade between the 76ers, Suns, and Bucks. The Suns acquired Knight after dealing both Goran Dragic and Isiah Thomas. The Dragic trade wasn’t the shocker, as he wanted to get out of Phoenix and did with the trade to the Heat, but the Suns giving up Isiah Thomas to the Celtics seemed very odd at first, and then they were able to land Knight, which made the move almost make perfect sense.

Speaking of Goran Dragic, the Bucks also had a chance to land Dragic as well. The Suns reportedly offered the Bucks Goran Dragic for Brandon Knight straight up with no catches.

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

While the trade would be perfect for both teams with the Bucks getting Dragic, a guy who is just like Brandon Knight, and for the Suns, getting Knight, who is just like Dragic seemed like a match made in Heaven. The Bucks however were smart to turn down this offer for a number of reasons. Some of the major ones were the fact that Goran Dragic was looking for a max deal. The Bucks aren’t as big of a market as the teams Dragic was looking at, with Dragic targeting New York, Los Angeles, and Miami as his perfected destinations. It’s unlikely the Bucks could have offered Dragic the max deal, and the destination part also makes the move smart by the Bucks. Dragic didn’t list Milwaukee as one of his destinations, so why would the Bucks want a guy who didn’t come out an openly say, I want to be a Milwaukee Buck. Instead, the Bucks were able to get two young pieces at the point guard spot in Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis. While Knight may be the more luxury option, the move was all about the future for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bucks head coach Jason Kidd is a bigger believer in both of the young guards, which is something that will boost chemistry and trust in each other, even if the results may not show right away.


Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson tweeted that the Bucks acquired the next Jason Kidd when landing Michael Carter-Williams. Kidd responded to those statements by Magic Johnson, giving even higher praise to Carter-Williams.

“I think it was a great compliment,”Jason Kidd said. “I wish he would have said he could be the next Magic Johnson, because then he would be a lot better player than just Jason Kidd.

“We all believe in Michael and see the potential. We all want to help to get him to Magic’s level.”

Micheal Carter-Williams also added his two cents in on what it means for him to play for Jason Kidd in the city of Milwaukee.

“To play under someone like Coach Kidd is a dream come true to me,” Carter-Williams said. “I watched him play when I was younger. Even before I knew I was coming here, I said to a lot of people I try to emulate my game after his.”

“I believe that I’m a winner,” Carter-Williams said. “I’ve won pretty much my whole life and this last year and a half has been a struggle.”

“It’s something I’ve had to go through. I’ve always believed that brighter days were ahead of me, and I think those brighter days start now.”

The Bucks really liked Carter-Williams’ defensive ability. Carter-Williams, who is six foot six has more length guarding on defense then most other point guards in the league, which also adds into the Bucks already long length roster.

“That’s the goal, to be one of the best at defense,” Kidd said. “We feel that with his ability and his height, deflections and steals are something he’s already good at.

“Hopefully that will put us in a better seat defensively. Also for a point guard, he’s able to rebound, something we do struggle with.”

Kidd wants Michael Carter-Williams to turn into a triple double machine. Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook are two of the notable ‘triple double machines’ in the association right now. Kidd knows a lot about triple doubles too, as his 107 triple doubles ranks 5th all time in NBA history on the triple double list. Kidd compared some things that Carter-Williams did in Philadelphia that he wants to see in Milwaukee with the Bucks.

He’s done a lot of things in Philly,” Kidd said. “He fills up the stat sheet.

“He still has a lot to learn about the game. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to coach him. Hopefully I don’t get in his way or slow him down for the triple-doubles.

“It makes our team better, not just now but when we go down the road and we look at the bigger picture.”

The results haven’t shown in the praise thus far however, already leading to the questions about if the Bucks should have done the trade or not. The Bucks have went 7-15 since trading Brandon Knight, with Carter-Williams yet to win a road game as a Buck, and the offense has struggled scoring with Knight out of the picture, leading to the question marks about Carter-Williams’ game.

Carter-Williams is currently averaging 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists with the Bucks this season. With the Bucks beating the Chicago Bulls, Michael Carter-Williams looked like his rookie self, as he had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists. The biggest thing the Bucks miss about Brandon Knight is his ability to shoot the three ball and score using jump shots. Carter-Williams game is mostly driving to the hoop and setting teammates up, as he is shooting 10.5% from three as a Buck while also shooting 38.4% from the field. Carter-Williams has put together some nice games for the Bucks, but hasn’t been consistent with his game as he has been getting into foul trouble way to often. While the move hasn’t shown its genius behind it yet, it will for sure pay off, as the Bucks made the right move to get a guy like Michael Carter-Williams on board.

Let’s take a look at some of the Bucks notable players and their wingspans.

  • Michael Carter-Williams: 6’7
  • Khris Middleton: 6’11
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: 7’5
  • Jabari Parker: 6’11
  • John Henson: 7’5

That lineup with those wingspans are just so deadly, it’s almost scary to think about. The Bucks will have a big off-season however, and that includes re-sign restricted free agent Khris Middleton. Middelton, who started the year off the bench for the Bucks behind Jared Dudley, has stepped up big for the Bucks in Jabari Parker’s absence this season. Jason Kidd also knows how big of an off-season this will be for his Bucks.

When you look at the makeup of the team, you have your starting point guard and your backup point guard [Tyler Ennis] both under the age of 23,” Kidd said. “We have a big summer this summer with Khris [Middleton].

“You look at the 1, 3 and 4 are pretty much settled. Then we have a committee at the 5. The makeup of this team is pretty much set. Now it is just a matter of can we keep them together for five to seven years so they can have that consistency.”

If we get back on the topic of the wingspan as well, when the Bucks landed Michael Carter-Williams, they were 2nd in defensive efficiency, only trailing the NBA best Golden State Warriors, who have 61 wins and also a big wingspan wise lineup too. Dryamond Green has certainly changed the defense for the Warriors this season, as in his first year starting over David Lee his 7’1 wingspan has made a huge impact in that number one ranking of defensive efficiency rating that the Warriors have.

While Bucks fans may not like it now, you just have to be patient. They were in the playoffs race in a could position to make it, and depending on how they continue to play they could miss the playoffs but they won’t likely make it. The Bucks weren’t even supposed to be contending for a playoff spot this season, and having the loss of Jabari Parker also made the odds stack against them again. Jason Kidd didn’t let the Bucks just give up and fail, and I can 1–% guarantee he won’t let Michael Carter-Williams fail as well.

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Published by Tony Montalto

Twitter: @montalto_tony

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