Milwaukee Bucks: Examining Kyrie Irving’s potential fit in Milwaukee

Kyrie Irving rising up in this year's finals.
Kyrie Irving rising up in this year's finals. /

If the Milwaukee Bucks were to trade for Kyrie Irving, how would the All-Star point guard fit in Jason Kidd’s team?

When a player of Kyrie Irving’s caliber becomes available on the trade market all 29 teams should make a call to inquire about his availability.

Most teams can be instantly eliminated from discussions. Most teams either do not have the assets, do not have the need, or do not have the talent to pair with the star, in order for the deal to make sense.

This is not the case for the Milwaukee Bucks. They have the assets — Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and additional draft picks. They have the need — last year no Bucks guard averaged more than 10.2 points per game. And they have the talent to pair with him, at 25 years old, Irving’s timeline matches well with the rest of this young Bucks core.

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The question the Bucks must ask themselves is, would Kyrie fit well enough with this team for them to become a legitimate contender, and would he be happy enough with his role in the offense to re-sign before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2019?

Championship potential and team fit

Adding Kyrie Irving, one of the leagues best scorers, to a team that was the fifth seed last year, not to mention removing him from the best team, would certainly help the Bucks in the interim. However, the long-term effects on the team could be worrisome.

According to, the Bucks ranked 19th in defensive rating last season. The addition of Kyrie, along with a full season of Jabari Parker, could hurt that rating even further. It’s hard to imagine a championship level defense, one that could compete with the likes of the Warriors, based around two defenders of that quality.

This is the largest problem facing any future Kyrie-led teams. Almost nightly the team would be at a disadvantage defensively at multiple positions.

In Cleveland, J.R. Smith was responsible for the best offensive guard of opposing teams. Tony Snell, certainly has length and other defensive tools at shooting guard, however, it would be a lot to ask of a player who is a more natural small forward than point guard to consistently guard opposing lead guards.

Offensive Role

Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that the primary reason Kyrie has requested a trade is his offensive role. While Kyrie may have a large role than in Cleveland, it may not be quite what he is looking for.

"“Irving has said that he wants to play in a situation where he can be more of a focal point and that he no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, sources said”."

According to, the four players who would most likely start alongside Kyrie given Brogdon and Middleton being included in the trade — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Thon Maker, and Tony Snell — have a combined usage rate of 85.2. That is actually slightly higher than the non-Kyrie starting four of the Cleveland Cavaliers. So while it may seem that Milwaukee would provide more of an opportunity for Kyrie, the numbers do not bear out the same picture.

Kyrie also would be taking a very similar role to what he has in Cleveland in regard to the team’s best player. If Kyrie Irving is looking to become a team’s “true point guard”, Milwaukee provides no better fit than Cleveland. While Irving may bring the ball across halfcourt, Giannis has similar responsibilities to James in regards of initiating the offense.

There is also the question of how Kidd likes to use his point guards. The last scoring point guard to play under Kidd was Brandon Knight, who he, along with management, traded mid-season for Michael Carter-Williams, who at least at the time was thought to be a more traditional and defensive point guard. It is very possible that Kidd looks for his point guards to resemble a style similar closer to his own as a player, rather than the high usage, score-first style of Irving.

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Kyrie Irving is a star, and typically in the NBA accumulating more stars, particularly at a reasonable cost, is a good strategy. He would instantly improve the Bucks’ offense and likely the current team. The Bucks, however, need to ask themselves how he fits with the young nucleus that has been assembled thus far and how Irving would impact the roster into 2019 and beyond.