The Power Rankings have been kinder to the Milwaukee Bucks in recent weeks as it has become harder and harder for the team’s outstanding play to be ignored.
It might be Milwaukee’s play on the floor that has earned all the plaudits, but this week there was only one real talking point to be found in scanning across the national Power Rankings.
It was, of course, that trade.
Although many expressed their surprise just like the rest of us, the overwhelming sense seems to be a thumbs up from some of basketball writing’s brightest minds.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com has the Bucks in 13th, up one spot from last week. Although he’s unsure of the trade’s potential impact on the Bucks’ offense, Schuhmann does give us an incredible new nickname for the Bucks: the Wingspan Clan!
Though the Bucks’ success has been about the group more than any player, it was surprising to see them break up the ensemble by trading Brandon Knight on Thursday. Swapping Knight for Michael Carter-Williams makes the Wingspan Clan even deeper, but hurts an offense that had shown a lot of improvement going into the All-Star break.
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Sports Illustrated’s Matt Dollinger has been high on the Bucks for a number of weeks now, and he kept them in 13th place again as a result. Dollinger speaks with foresight as he mentions how the Bucks are “rebuilding the right way”.
John Hammond is rebuilding the right way in Milwaukee. The Bucks GM made a move with the team’s long-term success in mind at the deadline rather than giving into temptation and doubling-down on his team’s surprising short-term success. As much as the Bucks are overachieving, they’re still years away from hitting their ceiling—which continues to climb thanks to Hammond.
ESPN’s Marc Stein also keeps the Bucks steady at 13th for yet another week. Stein points out how the Bucks had been a team that were more conscious of continuity than most of the others in the league, and with that in mind, he says that the trade was “bold” to say the least.
The young Bucks were one of three teams (along with Golden State and San Antonio) to return their top seven players from last season in terms of minutes played. But that was before they traded Brandon Knight in the midst of an 8-1 surge, having already doubled their 2013-14 win total. Bold.
Yahoo’s Marc Spears also had the Bucks in 13th last week, and keeps them there again this week. Not that this will come as a surprise to anyone, but Spears reports that it was Carter-Williams’ physical attributes that appealed to Milwaukee.
The Bucks trading point guard Brandon Knight was curious, but they love the athleticism and length of Michael Carter-Williams.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports had the Bucks ranked mysteriously low in 16th last week, and thankfully has gone some way towards remedying that this week, moving them up to 14th. Moore highlights how the Bucks had the freedom to make the trade as they were safe in the knowledge of an almost inevitable playoff spot.
Pretty amazing for the sixth seed to just bail on a core player (Brandon Knight) in exchange for unproven assets (Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee). But what’s more amazing? They could do that and they’re still a near-lock to make the postseason.
Drew Garrison of SB Nation also moved the Bucks up two places to 14th. He’s also yet another to commend the Bucks on doing what they feel is best for them in the future rather than getting bogged down in the now.
Milwaukee’s decision to move Brandon Knight while the team enjoys a remarkable season was a big gamble, but if the front office truly feels Michael Carter-Williams fits better in the long-term, then good on them for making a move and not worrying about Knight’s departure shaking things up.
So, the consensus on the trade seems to be positive, after a slow start to this week, will the Bucks have their work cut out to hold their own next time out though?
Find out at the same time next week!