And we’re off.
Draft day begins with a bang for Milwaukee Bucks fans. All week we heard the Bucks were itching to make a move, but not necessarily just dump salary. So that’s how we got here. Milwaukee is bringing in the talented, but volatile, Stephen Jackson along with Shaun Livingston and Beno Udrih and the number 19 pick in today’s draft. Out the door head Corey Maggette and John Salmons (much to the delight of Bucks fans I’m sure).
The salary info:
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Over the length of all of the deals involved, the Bucks will save $8,238,357 and the difference between the salaries of the 19 and 10 picks.
But this isn’t just a salary dump.
The Bucks appear to thrive with guards and forwards capable of handling the ball and making plays for others. Once upon a time, that’s how Salmons endeared himself so much to the franchise. After coming over from the Bulls, he drove and kicked right into the hearts and minds of Bucks fans. Not last year though. Last year he was more than a step slow and lacked any explosion whatsoever. A younger, cheaper Beno Udrih will attempt to slide into a fraction of that role he once played so well.
Udrih can spend time splitting between the one and the two — he’s a scoring point that should be able to move over in Milwaukee’s system, so long as he can keep his head above water defensively.
Livingston is, was and always will be as pure of a point guard as a point guard can be. His passing instincts are exceptional and his height gives him the ability to read defense like a quarterback. His length can help him with some point guards defensively, but his size can be exploited by the smaller quicker variety of point guard (think JJ Barea).
Milwaukee’s true success in this deal (unless you count escaping from the burdensome contract of Salmons as its true success), was swapping out Maggette for Stephen Jackson.
Yes, he’s crazy and yes, he was ejected within minutes of his last appearance at the Bradley Center, but Jackson can play ball. More importantly, he’s a much better fit on the court than the single-minded Maggette. Despite his reputation as a shoot first, last and always player, Jackson is actually a fairly accomplished passer. Last season he assisted on 18.4% of his possession, a monstrous number when compared to the 11.3% Maggette posted. He’s better in terms of creation of offense for the entire team and creating offense was a huge flaw for last season’s Bucks.
For now, this doesn’t appear much of a failure or success for the Bucks. They’ve acquired a couple players who seem like they may be better fits than the players they disposed of. Whether or not that will pan out, we’ll know when the ball drops next season. Milwaukee without question is saving some cash and appears to have improved on a personnel front. Whether the savings and the “right now” improvements will balance out moving down from 10 to 19 we won’t know for quite some time.
So now appears to be time to wait and see. It’s all we can do.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter.