Bucks

Murky Offseason Ahead for Bledsoe, Bucks

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It could have been Eric Bledsoe’s Milwaukee Bucks moment. He could have been the guy to step up when the Bucks needed him most.

Nearly all past playoff transgressions forgiven with a strong performance to extend the Bucks’ Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat with Giannis only able to watch with his badly sprained ankle.

Instead it was more of the same playoff Bledsoe. He connected on just 2 of 12 shots in Milwaukee’s Game 5 and season-ending 103-94 loss to the Heat. In the fourth quarter, his defender left to double Khris Middleton, daring Bledsoe to shoot regularly.

Bledsoe finished with nine points and nine assists, but there was little to write home about for him offensively in the series. He was torched much of the series by Goran Dragic and struggled with his shot, yet again.

Playoff norms for him.

You can’t have a guard who is basically a detriment to your offense. Bledsoe is great defensively, but after a third straight lackluster postseason, he can’t have another opportunity.

It’s not an overreaction. This is who Bledsoe is. This tweet says it all and doesn’t even mention Bled being shredded by Terry Rozier in his first Bucks playoffs or Dragic taking him to the cleaners. Bledsoe made just 7 of 30 jumpers vs. Miami. Giannis entered Game 4 making just 5 for 27 outside the restricted area. It’s no wonder the Bucks are going home early.

Giannis’ greatness as a force driving to the hoop needs to be complimented with a point guard who can shoot and create offense.

Busy offseason ahead

It is clear there will be sweeping changes with this Bucks’ roster. While much is foggy, it is painfully clear the Bucks cannot bring Bledsoe back.

The need for a guard to take the pressure off of Giannis and Khris Middleton was brought to the forefront watching Miami stifle the Bucks offense. The Bucks’ roster is reminiscent of LeBron’s Cavs rosters in his first go-round in Cleveland.

There are too many spot-up specialists and not enough dynamic guards. For instance, LeBron was surrounded by guys like Boobie Gibson and Donyell Marshall.

Donte DiVincenzo was looked to create for others and himself more in the bubble and couldn’t yet. Pat Connaughton and Kyle Korver rarely do much on offense outside of catch-and-shoot 3s. George Hill isn’t great off the bounce and is getting long in the tooth. Middleton doesn’t take over enough, but would be a perfect third option.

Even with Giannis this team needs more from Bledsoe, who is looked at as the third guy. But when one of the top-two guys are out, you have to step up and Bledsoe shrank as he has in all three playoff appearances with the Bucks.

Terry Rozier outplayed him in 2018. Kyle Lowry/Fred VanVleet in 2019. Goran Dragic in 2020.

Middleton is a number 3. Bled is a role player. The Bucks need an upgrade for a sidekick for Giannis.

Giannis met with owner Marc Lasry for over three hours last week. According to Woj, everything was talked about. Lasry says he is willing to spend, go into the luxury tax to continue to build a championship-worthy roster around Giannis.

To CP3 or Not to CP3?

Giannis reportedly stated he wants them to seek upgrades with one name being Chris Paul. Another sign Bledsoe’s days are likely numbered.

https://twitter.com/ScoopB/status/1306122112227311617

While it remains unclear if the Bucks can afford much around Giannis, Middleton and CP3, a roster overhaul could very well be on the horizon as the Bucks look for upgrades following another playoff disappointment.

Being up against the cap, it’s likely going to have to come from trading Bledsoe or dangling their first-round pick from the Pacers or a decent package involving both Hill and Bledsoe.

To get a star, the Bucks may have to throw in DiVincenzo and the 18th pick, but it is what this team desperately needs.

If the Bucks can get a player like CP3 for Bledsoe, Hill, Ersan Ilyasova, maybe have to throw in DiVincenzo and a pick, the Bucks’ brass could pull the trigger on that deal to get this team over the hump come playoff time.

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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