3 reasons to love the Milwaukee Bucks’ trade for Serge Ibaka

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07 (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07 (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Toronto Raptors: Serge Ibaka
Nov 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason No. 3 to love the Serge Ibaka trade for the Milwaukee Bucks: Playoff experience

Leading up to the trade deadline, there were many (myself included) wanting the Bucks to get depth at center. Players like Mo Bamba and Myles Turner were both floated as potential targets, but they don’t have something that Ibaka does: postseason experience.

Ibaka has played in 146 playoff games in his career, so he definitely has familiarity with playoff basketball when the game slows down, and the intensity ramps up. The center was a part of the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors that eliminated the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals on their way to winning an NBA Championship.

Ibaka has played in 27 postseason series in his 146 games of playoff experience and has an 18-9 record in those series. While Ibaka certainly isn’t the only reason for his teams succeeding, there is reason to believe that he is an integral part of teams he plays for advancing.

In his postseason career, Ibaka shoots 50.2 percent on field goals and 79.2 percent from the free throw line, but where Ibaka makes some surprisingly helpful impact is at the 3-point line. Ibaka is a postseason career 38.7 percent 3-point shooter, which is higher than former teammate Paul George. It is also a higher percentage than Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder, who have both been in the finals in the past two years (Crowder in both). Ibaka also shoots a better postseason 3-point percentage than a creator of some legendary playoff moments Damian Lillard. If that isn’t enough, Ibaka also has a higher postseason three-point percentage than former champions Manu Ginobili, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Durant.

Ibaka’s playoff averages of 11 points, 6.5 rebounds, and two blocks may not jump off the page but it is worth noting that Ibaka is a capable defender and gives the Bucks another defender to throw at a guy like Joel Embiid should the Bucks meet the Philadelphia 76ers in the postseason. He could also assist in protecting the paint against guys like James Harden, Ben Simmons, and Kyrie Irving, or to help combat the floaters of players like Trae Young or Lamelo Ball.

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Overall, the Ibaka trade is a great move for Milwaukee.