Milwaukee Bucks: Regrading the renowned P.J. Tucker trade after title

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: P.J. Tucker
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JULY 22: (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The updated overall grade for the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for P.J. Tucker

That initial B+ grade for the Tucker deal would genuinely undersell just how impactful this move would become for the Bucks down the road. While it was impossible to predict that the forward would become a starter due to the DiVincenzo injury, everything else he brought to the table upon being traded did not get the proper recognition.

First and foremost, Tucker earned every last diamond in his championship ring during that second round series against the Nets. While he did not stop Durant by any means, Tucker used physicality to try and combat the attack offensively to wear him down, and in the end, his effort was enough as the Bucks advanced. That continued throughout the remainder of the postseason as the team used him against other stellar scorers like Trae Young and Devin Booker, which was a massive lift. Tucker’s contributions offensively were nothing to celebrate as he averaged 4.3 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting from the floor and 32.2 percent 3-point shooting. Still, they did not bring him in to score the basketball, and he understood the assignment.

While everyone can praise his efforts on the defensive end, Tucker also deserves credit for what he did to the team’s culture. From the moment he came in, the forward helped the Bucks embrace a “dog mentality” that would become somewhat of a rallying cry for the team and the fanbase in this turbulent playoff run. He was a much-needed vocal presence both on the floor and in the locker room, never shying away from the difficult conversations that needed to be had. The Bucks found themselves in trouble on multiple occasions throughout this run – down 0-2 to Brooklyn, down 0-1 to Atlanta, and down 0-2 to Phoenix – but they stayed together and battled back due to this new mentality. Tucker will certainly not get all the credit for that, but he deserves his share.

In the end, the move panned out precisely as the team envisioned when they traded for Tucker on that night in March. He proved to be an impact player and immediate contributor. Letting him walk in free agency remains the team’s most questionable decision of the offseason, but sticking solely with the trade itself, things could not have worked out better for the Bucks. They traded away two players that were hardly contributing and some draft capital for a player that would soon become a starter on a championship-winning team. Hard to beat that.

Updated BTBP Grade: A+

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Fans will undoubtedly miss Tucker in Milwaukee next season, but no one can take away the memory of this title run. That will live on forever.