Weird News

If you blinked, you missed most of the 2020 NBA offseason action. In a little over a week, we saw rosters revamped by the draft, trades and free-agent signings…

Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Notable Additions: Jrue Holiday, D.J. Augustin, Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, Torrey Craig
Notable Subtractions: Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, Sterling Brown, Ersan Ilyasova, Marvin Williams
Notable Re-signings: Pat Connaughton
The Milwaukee Bucks were active in a pivotal offseason, but the best way to summarize the turnover is this: They lost three playersEric Bledsoe, George Hill and Wesley Matthewswho could plausibly be on the floor at the end of a conference finals game, and added two in Jrue Holiday and Torrey Craig.
And the route the Bucks took to that mild downgrade was defined by indications that they didn’t really know what they were doing, per the Athletic’s John Hollinger:
“Milwaukee agreed to a contract with Pat Connaughton that they couldn’t signa two-year deal with a second-year player option for an Early Bird rights playerand ended up having to come back with a significantly more expensive deal for three years. They signed D.J. Augustin, who will help them, but could have put him into a sign-and-trade with the Holiday deal to preserve their mid-level exception, and it doesn’t appear they will. Had they done Augustin that way they also could have kept their original deal with Connaughton.”
And that’s without nodding to perhaps the offseason’s biggest gaffe, the failed sign-and-trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Holiday is a key acquisition. He’s going to make a difference. But the Bucks surrendered three first-rounders and swap rights on two additional firsts. If Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves, Milwaukee will be hopeless for the better part of a decade.
Zooming back in, the Bucks’ regular-season offense seems improved. Bobby Portis and Bryn Forbes can score, and D.J. Augustin is the pick-and-roll orchestrator the Bucks have long lacked. Yet all three are virtually unplayable for defensive reasons in big moments. Maybe Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez will help hide those guys’ shortcomings…but maybe not.
The stakes were high for Milwaukee. It had to impress Giannis, which means it was motivated to do its absolute best.
If “the best” is marginal, debatable improvement at the cost of depth, defense and experience, well…that’s discouraging.
Note that if Antetokounmpo inks a supermax, this grade will rocket up to an “A.”