Grade the trade: Bucks land reputable backup guard in swap with Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 29 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Indiana Pacers: T.J. McConnell
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MARCH 16 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Grade the trade: The verdict

I would grade this trade package as a B- for the Bucks, though it’s an exchange that makes sense for both teams on paper. To my mind, the trade comes down to the simple fact that the Pacers are rebuilding and need young talent, while the Bucks are (or at the very least should be) looking to improve their depth at point guard.

I’m personally hesitant about dishing out a second-rounder for McConnell even if it could eventually sweeten the deal for Indiana. While the late is a relatively small price to pay for McConnell, it is still a future asset that the Bucks will have to give up at a time when they are sorely lacking in capital to build for the possibility of a post-Giannis future or upgrade the roster in an effort to keep Giannis in Milwaukee.

On the one hand, they are getting a solid backup point guard in TJ McConnell, who would be a good fit for the Bucks’ second unit, and he would also provide insurance in case Jrue Holiday gets injured.

On the other hand, the Bucks are giving up Grayson Allen, who is a more balanced specialist than other floor-spacers around the league. Allen is also a competent defender, and he has clearly put in the work to noticeably improve his playmaking and finishing at the rim in recent years.

There are also minor flaws to McConnell’s game to consider. For one thing, he still has a limited sample size of being a good shooter. If his continued aging comes to affect his current uptick in efficiency, this could be a concern for the Bucks, who have built their offensive identity around shooting to complement Giannis Antetokounmpo’s inward gravity for years now.

For a point guard, McConnell is not a great ball-handler, and he can be turnover-prone at times. While he’s an above-average playmaker, his game has always been more fundamental than flashy, which could manifest in a lack of counters for stingy defenses. This could be a concern for the Bucks, who need their point guards to be able to handle the ball well.

Ultimately, whether or not this trade is a good one for the Bucks depends on their goals for the upcoming season. They may want to keep Allen, who is a young and talented player in his own right, and they can choose to trust some of their younger point guards instead and grow internally. However, if they are looking to improve their depth at point guard, this is a trade that they should definitely consider.

BTBP Grade: B-

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