Everyone Loves Rumors: Lance Stephenson, Corey Maggette

Remember the ball movement, 3-point shooting and balanced scoring that thrilled home crowds at the Bradley Center last season?

It may remain just a memory if things play out a certain way in the coming days.

First, Lance Stephenson is reportedly in the mix at the 15th pick for the Bucks and would be even more realistic if the Bucks were to trade for a lower pick (that’s what I call trading down if I haven’t been clear on that) in the first round. Stephenson, um, wasn’t a great passer in his one season at Cincinnati. In fact, he wasn’t much of a passer at all, finishing 11th in the conference in shot percentage and possession percentage. That wouldn’t be all that striking, if not for the fact that Stephenson was a largely average offensive player last season, finishing 75th in the Big East in offensive rating and turning the ball over on nearly 20% of his possessions.

But Stephenson has been one of the most sought after prospect in the United States since he was a 15-year-old. Attitude and criminal concerns have been real problems for him and leave him staring the life of a second round pick in the eye. In the NBA though, talent generally wins out over everything. It’s possible that the Bucks have become enamored enough with Stephenson that they’d be willing to take a chance on an incredibly talented prospect. Chad Ford has this to say in his most recent mock draft:

It’s a long shot but Cincinnati’s Lance Stephenson has impressed in workouts and the Bucks have had their eye on him for a while. It seems like that’s a bit of a reach at 15, but John Hammond rolled the dice on a former high school phenom with a bad rep last year and it paid off. Will he do it again this year?

And now, from one suspected future jacker to a certifiable shot machine, the Bucks have reportedly been kicking the tires on Corey Maggette says Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. The deal that the Bucks would reportedly like to offer would include Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell for Maggette. Here’s the quick salary breakdowns of the three:

2010-112011-122012-13
Corey Maggette9,600,00010,262,06910,924,138
Bucks two worst players11,099,7654,099,920
Bucks Salary Addition-1,499,7656,162,14910,924,138

Maggette’s strengths? Getting to the free throw line and looking mean come to mind. Maggette’s averaged 7.1 free throws to 11.2 shots per game in his career. He’s one of the league’s best a finishing with contact and annually has a true shooting percentage hovering around or above 58%. Maggette would give the Bucks a lot of what they’d be missing if John Salmons does not return and does it for only $15 million more dollars over the next three seasons than it’s costing Milwaukee to keep Gadzuric and Bell. Maggette’s age, he turns 31 in November, is a concern, but as I’ve earlier said about Salmons, three years seems a reasonable commitment for a player of that age.

But with strengths come weaknesses. Maggette’s primary weakness being his inability to operate much without the ball. Maggette, a player who’s only been on one playoff team and has never made an all-star team, is 51st in the HISTORY of the NBA in usage percentage. Maggette will be shooting or he will be getting to the line, there’s a high probability those things will happen. Milwaukee has to think hard about whether or not they can live with that kind of player at the three. There’s no question he can score effectively, but at what price? Will he alienate teammates with his constant shooting? Even if the other players accept his offensive outputs, will is cause them to unintentionally lose interest on defense if they aren’t involved enough on offense? Maggette is the kind of player that can drive a wedge into a team without even being a locker room problem. Offenses are generally best when teams have a number of productive players that can score and move the ball. The Bucks had players that could move the ball last season, but lacked players who could score.

They may be sacrificing the latter to get the former if these two moves go down and that could just result in a sideways step for a team that seemed on the right track last season.

I watch the Milwaukee Bucks often and write about what I see…

6 Comments

  1. You bring up some very interesting question in this piece on Maggette. The one thing I think the Bucks have to realize is just how valued expiring contracts are in the NBA. Think of last season when the Bucks were able to trade for John Salmons for literally nothing. Could pulling the trigger on this deal be a complete response to the new of Salmons opting out? Probably. Although there is a lot of risks in this deal, I would really like the Bucks to get rid of Bell. He provides very little to this team that couldn’t be replaced by a minimum contract.

    In Maggette, I really like his ability to get to the line. The one thing I was hoping to read in this piece was his defensive ability. His numbers have always been respectable, but I don’t know much about his ability to guard. Obviously, in Milwaukee, that is very important. I’m sure his defensive numbers could be a little inflated while playing for the Warriors and Clippers. Do you think that could have also lead to his inflated shot tendency?

    • I think he’s an okay defender, he certainly has the ability to succeed on that end. I remember him having problems with Mike Dunleavy, but that probably had a lot to do with Dunleavy restricting his minutes and making him come off the bench. I don’t know that he’d have issues with Skiles asking him to do more defensively. His offensive numbers certainly have some natural inflation from the Warriors system, but I think he earned the numbers he had as a Clipper, as Dunleavy typically has a pretty restrictive offense from what I understand.

  2. Lance Stephenson is the ultimate reach at 15. He was awful in one year of college ball, why do teams think he’s all of the sudden going to become athletic, have a vertical, or be able to shoot from farther than 10 feet away consistently?

  3. For the love of all that is holy, don’t select Lance Stephenson with the 15th pick of the draft, he’ll probably be around in the 2nd round still, late first round at best. Trade down and get some cash pleeeeeease. I trust Hammonds judgement, but still if thats the guy they want, might as well get some money out of it in addition to him.

  4. So, people don’t love the thought of Stephenson at 15 I take it? Haha. I see him as an okay value in the late first round or early second. He could be pretty solid, everyone’s been high on him for a reason, right? Or this could be another case of Telfairitis: a NY player getting undue hype because he’s from the big city.

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