Pros and cons of the Milwaukee Bucks pursuing a Jalen Smith trade

Jan 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith
Jan 2, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, talks between teams have begun to heat up. The Milwaukee Bucks may be in the market to make a trade and there have been murmurs of the Bucks looking to possibly add a big man to the roster in their quest to repeat.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Jalen Sith has been mentioned as a potential trade target. The former first-round pick has struggled to find his way into Phoenix’s rotation and could be on the move by February 10th.

With that said, here are some pros and cons in pursuing Jalen Smith at the trade deadline.

The pros of the Milwaukee Bucks pursuing a Jalen Smith trade

Pro #1: Jalen Smith will add a big body into the Milwaukee Bucks’ frontcourt rotation

In the absence of Brook Lopez, the Bucks have struggled to replace his rim protection. While Bobby Portis and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been serviceable in their time playing at the center spot, it’s tough to say that it will be sustainable for an extended period of game time. Smith isn’t quite at Lopez’s height, coming in at 6 feet-10 inches tall, but he is a big body that could be useful for the Bucks at the five.

The Maryland alum has struggled to make his way into Phoenix’s frontcourt rotation with players such as DeAndre Ayton, Bismack Biyombo, and Frank Kaminsky preceding him. He has the length to be a serviceable defender in the post and a good filler until Lopez can return to game action. Following Lopez’s return, Smith could fit seamlessly into Milwaukee’s second unit. If Smith joins Milwaukee, it will take some of the burden away from Portis and Antetokounmpo in filling Lopez’s shoes.

Smith has the ability to be a serviceable defender and could even be a starter for Milwaukee if he gets the chance to get the minutes and work on his game. If the Bucks are looking for a big that would be a solid filler piece in the frontcourt rotation, Smith may be the guy.

Pro #2: Jalen Smith has the tools to be a solid scorer in the paint for the Milwaukee Bucks

Coming out of his days at Maryland, Smith established himself as a solid scorer inside. His 7-foot-2-inch wingspan allows him to make tough shots near the rim and in the low post. That type of reach could be useful for Milwaukee.

While Smith’s stats don’t jump off the page, he has become a solid shooter inside the 3-point line. Smith has tallied a nearly 48 percent field goal percentage while making 55 percent of his 2-point shot attempts. Although his playing time has been limited, his success around the rim makes him an intriguing candidate at the trade deadline for the Bucks. While his three-point shot could use some work, his ability to score with his long reach would add an excellent option down low for Milwaukee. Smith could benefit from coach Mike Budenholzer’s system as the floor spacing has been solid for the Bucks this year.

Smith’s numbers aren’t extremely impressive, but his efficiency during his time on the floor has done him some favors by making him an intriguing trade target. Smith could excel in Milwaukee’s system, and his contributions on the offensive end could be helpful in the quest to repeat.

Pro #3: Jalen Smith’s rebounding abilities make him an intriguing target for the Milwaukee Bucks

Smith’s wingspan certainly helps in his scoring abilities, but it also helps his rebounding abilities. Just a few weeks ago, the Bucks were outrebounded by the Toronto Raptors by a whopping 16 rebounds. The absence of Demarcus Cousins and Lopez certainly contributed to that discrepancy, but the Bucks could find an excellent rebounder in Jalen Smith.

Smith has posted an average of 5.5 rebounds per game. With an average of only 14 minutes played, it is certainly impressive. If Smith ends up in Milwaukee, his rebounding ability will be key to gaining extra possessions. Lopez’s absence has certainly contributed to the decline in offensive rebounds, and Smith may be the answer to get those numbers back up. There are some drawbacks to Smith’s reach, but his rebounding has been solid in his limited time on the court in Phoenix.

The Bucks have been looking for an answer to win the rebound battle and Smith could be the answer. The big man has the reach that will allow him to excel as a rebounder and could be a crucial piece to gaining extra possessions for the Bucks.