After expressing interest in acquiring Greg Monroe earlier this off-season, should the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks explore a trade involving Jrue Holiday?
One of the last rumors to surface was that the New Orleans Pelicans were interested in trading for Monroe. In fact, sources claimed that both sides came relatively close to a deal, but things ultimately did not work out.
This leaves the Bucks with a difficult choice: what should they do with Greg Monroe?
More from Bucks News
- Bucks 2023-24 player profile: Can MarJon Beauchamp take a leap?
- Piecing together the Milwaukee Bucks’ dream starting 5 in 5 years
- Predicting Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s 2023-24 stats for the Bucks
- Grade the trade: Bucks land reputable backup guard in swap with Pacers
- New workout video should have Milwaukee Bucks fans excited
Moving Monroe, as they’ve tried to do so far this off-season, has not yet worked out. No one around the league seems comfortable taking Monroe on. His contract is expensive and expires at the end of the year. In addition, his play on the court didn’t thrill any of his potential suitors last season.
With teams going smaller and more athletic, Monroe has become a relic of a lost age. Had he been around 15 years ago, Monroe would have been the envy of most teams around the league. His low post scoring and rebounding are very good, and almost anyone would have paid top dollar for that.
Now, he looks like a major liability, seeing his below average defensive abilities offset the value he brings in other aspects of his game.
Keeping Monroe is also an undesirable option. Monroe believes (correctly) that he can still start on an NBA team, and being relegated to a role off the bench isn’t going to help Monroe get what he believes he’s worth next off-season.
In addition, keeping Monroe will only take minutes away from other guys like John Henson, Miles Plumlee, and Thon Maker. The Bucks have nearly $40 million invested in four guys who play the same position, and only have 48 minutes per night to share among them. Thus, both sides would be better suited if they were able to work out a trade.
Given that New Orleans expressed serious interest in Monroe before, it may be worth it for both sides to officially revisit those talks.
One way, perhaps the only way, a trade could be worked out is if the Bucks take back one of the Pelicans bad contracts. Three players on the Pelicans currently fit that bill: Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, and Jrue Holiday. Out of those three options, Jrue Holiday seems the best suited for what this Bucks team lacks.
Much of the Bucks struggles last season stemmed from their point guard position. Michael Carter-Williams proved to be an awkward fit because of his inability to stretch the floor. Jerryd Bayless remedied this issue, but created a slew of others because of his poor distribution skills. Others, such as Tyler Ennis, simply weren’t good enough to provide more than a few effective minutes off the bench every night.
The Bucks did address some of their issues by signing Matthew Dellavedova and he will provide solid value to the team. However, he’s not a long-term starter on a serious contender. Thus, the Bucks enter this season without an established starting point guard.
Holiday brings many skills to the table that the current crop of Bucks guards don’t.
First, he’s a respectable shooter from deep. In seven NBA seasons, Holiday has shot 36.8% on nearly three attempts per game. He may not be an elite shooter, and he did have a career worst season from range last year (33.6 percent on four attempts per game). However, Holiday has shown the ability to be an effective floor spacing guard who can hit an open shot.
Holiday is also an above average scorer. He has a solid handle of the ball and is a smooth finisher around the basket. He may not be as explosive as he was a few years ago, but he’s still able to effectively get to the basket by making smart decisions. He can also go on hot streaks where he’s able to hit pull up jumpers from the top of the key, and can create his own shot if the situation asks for it.
Many of these skills were on display in this 30 point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers late last season:
Holiday also has solid distribution skills. With the exception of his rookie year, Holiday has had at least two assists for every turnover he’s had. He may not put up Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo numbers, but he’s more than effective at getting his teammates good looks and making smart plays with the ball.
In addition to his offense, Holiday also provides some value on the defensive end. He’s not an elite defender, and won’t lead the league in steals. However, he’s a competent defender who can stay in front of his man and effectively rotate on defense.
If the Bucks did acquire Holiday, he wouldn’t come without risk. Since getting traded to New Orleans, he’s missed at least half the season twice, and missed 17 games last year because of injury. He may not be injury-prone yet, but his health history in New Orleans doesn’t exactly bode well for his future as an NBA starter.
Holiday has also struggled to regain his All-Star form since being traded to New Orleans. Although much of this can be attributed to his slew of injuries, he has had his fair share of struggles which go beyond being injured.
Ultimately, there wouldn’t be much risk to taking Holiday on. Though he has spent much of the past three seasons injured, he’s still an effective guard whose history proves is capable of reaching an All-Star level.
Like Monroe, he’s also on an expiring deal. This would make moving on that much easier if things didn’t pan out this season.
In the end, a Holiday for Monroe swap makes a great deal of sense. New Orleans has the defenders, particularly Anthony Davis, to hide some of Monroe’s defensive deficiencies. His low post and passing skills also bode well there, and could make him a dynamic fit next to Davis. With Monroe drawing attention, Davis could get more open looks at the basket and in the mid-range.
For Milwaukee, they’d being acquiring an effective point guard who can distribute the ball well, provide some ability to space the floor, and provide the team with competent defense.
There is some risk involved for both sides, but swapping Monroe and Holiday makes too much sense not to happen.