How the Milwaukee Bucks offseason decisions impact trade deadline plans

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 03 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 03 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Sandro Mamukelashvili
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 08: (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

As we approach the dog days of the NBA season, one of the last remaining landmark days on the calendar is the trade deadline. Contenders shoring up their rosters for a deep playoff run and, perhaps, trying to correct mistakes they made in the offseason. The Milwaukee Bucks could be in that boat.

The defending champs had a relatively active offseason that saw them add several new players to their roster and had me convinced that this would be the deepest roster they’ve had in decades. That still may be true, but it’s not as convincing as I believed it was in the offseason.

As tends to happen with all offseason moves, some worked out and some did not. Some were the correct decision, but the outcome wasn’t what they wanted. Regardless, they made several decisions that impacted their rotation so let’s see what went right and wrong as we approach the trade deadline to see what the Bucks may need.

The Milwaukee Bucks trading down in the draft to select Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis

This has become a slightly more controversial decision as the season has progressed, but it was highly discussed at the time as well. The Bucks originally had the number 31 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft but traded out with the Indiana Pacers for four second-round picks, two of which were at the bottom of that same draft.

The Bucks used those selections on Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis. Now, starting at the top, there are a few notable players who were selected between 31 and 54 (Mamukelashvili) who fans can be upset they missed out on.

Chicago’s Ayo Donsunmu and New Orleans’ Herb Jones would be the two that stick out in my mind, but there’s also the question of how much playing time would they get on a championship contender that’s focused on playing veterans who can help now.

Donsunmu is seeing over 20 minutes a night on one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but would he have gotten the same chance with the Bucks? Jones has a better case in my mind, especially because of his elite defense. The Bucks could use a sizable, athletic wing defender like Jones but there isn’t a guarantee he would have been given the chance to shine as he has with the Pelicans.

Kalaitzakis was a pick that many were skeptical of at the time and just didn’t pan out. He was waived to free up space for Wesley Matthews but has had nice performances with the Oklahoma City Blue of the G League. A player such as David Duke Jr. or Austin Reaves would have been a better selection in hindsight.

I’ve been impressed with Mamukelashvili’s appearances, especially in the G League, and think there could be something there as a future rotation player. The other key to that deal was the other second-round picks that they acquired, which were used for another trade later that offseason.