NBA AM: Lottery Teams Emerging From The Basement

For weeks, the Eric Bledsoe saga has captivated the NBA world.

Fans have been firing up their commerce machines and rumors have been flying throughout about what workforce would land the gifted combo guard from the desert. This morning, a deal was struck.

First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks agreed to phrases on a commerce to swap Bledsoe for Greg Monroe plus a 2018 lottery-protected first-round choose and a protected 2018 second-rounder.

As one of many golf equipment linked to Bledsoe as quickly because it was introduced he was on the buying and selling block, first-year Bucks normal supervisor Jon Horst acted rapidly, making a daring transfer to provide Giannis Antetokounmpo and firm one other elite operating mate.

Milwaukee’s struggles on the boards have been expensive, so the lack of Monroe hurts, however he hasn’t performed since October 26 resulting from an ailing calf pressure. Bledsoe doesn’t have the cleanest invoice of well being himself, however he’s loads recent and can possible be re-energized coming to one of many youngest and most promising squads within the league.

Outside of Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe will possible be enjoying alongside Malcolm Brogdon. Already exhibiting strides in 12 months two, the Bucks present place to begin guard is curious to see how the 2 mesh within the backcourt when he arrives.

“You know at this point, you can’t be sure,” Brogdon advised Basketball Insiders Tuesday of what the acquisition does for the workforce. “I believe it’ll be a constructive. Losing Moose [Monroe] is unquestionably a damaging for us. He introduced a lot to the desk for us, particularly coming off the bench. He’s a starter that got here off the bench.

“But you know, having another guard that can really create his own shot, get downhill and make plays—I think that will definitely help us.”

In the early levels of the season, Brogdon is in an ideal groove. He doesn’t foresee the commerce affecting what he does on a nightly foundation.

“For me, I just think it’s about me continuing to be aggressive, continuing to develop, continuing to get better,” he stated. “And continuing to make sure that winning is the first [thing], is the goal for everybody.”

What may change, nonetheless, is Milwaukee’s type of play. Over the previous couple of years, they’ve been a prolonged bunch, and so they nonetheless are. But Brogdon advised Basketball Insiders that we may very well be watching the Bucks play with extra guard-heavy units in small ball shifting ahead.

When requested if that matches his talent set, he instantly nodded his head in approval.

“We’re a defensive-minded team, but we want to be fast,” Brogdon advised Basketball Insiders. “We want to play in the open court and we want to be very versatile and be able to defend multiple positions on defense. Having more guards and sort of mid-sized guys is gonna help us.”

For Milwaukee, it’s been a tough three-game shedding skid after a promising begin to the season. In that stretch, they’ve been the league’s the second-worst workforce in rebounding (35.7) and defensive score (115.9).

In order to verify this development doesn’t proceed, Brogdon advised Basketball Insiders they should key in on two issues: Limiting nook threes and limiting second-chance alternatives off the glass.

Playing with Bledsoe and a expertise like Antetokounmpo who “comes around once every generation,” there shall be plenty of eyes on the Bucks. The consideration is one thing that has been talked about earlier than, however Brogdon believes he and his workforce will deal with it nicely.

“People are watching us now,” Brogdon stated. “We’re not sneaking up on anyone. We’re in all probability the youngest, most gifted workforce within the NBA proper now, so we have now excessive expectations.

“I think the key for us is not to pay attention to those expectations and to come out every night and continue to try to achieve our goals.”

As the reigning Rookie of the Year, the 24-year-old has admittedly been having fun with what he’s seen from this 12 months’s unimaginable class.

Focusing on himself, Brogdon has not suffered from any sophomore stoop in any respect. In truth, he’s getting higher at plenty of issues. Through eight video games this 12 months, he has taken 35 complete threes versus simply 14 in the identical period of time as a rookie.

“Repetition breeds confidence,” he stated of the development. “That’s what I was about this summer. A lot of reps created a lot of confidence for me, so I’mma continue to shoot ‘em.”

Citing one other comparability to final season, Brogdon solely had two 20-point nights complete over 75 video games. He’s already matched that within the final two video games consecutively. So what’s led to his newfound attacking nature?

“It’s something I’ve taken upon myself,” he stated. “I think it’s me knowing coach Kidd, it’s knowing my teammates. I think that’s what the team needs from me this year. For us to take another level, one of the pieces is me being more aggressive so that’s what I’mma do.”

Being a surefire menace on this league now, Brogdon has additionally seen that opponents are defending him a little bit extra carefully.

“They play me harder man,” he advised Basketball Insiders. “They’re just more aggressive. I’m not sneaking up on anybody this year. Teams have a scouting report on me and my goal is to continue to improve and continue to show what I’ve worked on this summer.”

It appears that Brogdon’s plan is working, and he can get even higher with a backcourt companion like Bledsoe.

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