Ranking the 6 best trades of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Jon Horst era

Jun 6, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Since taking over as the general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks in June 2017, Jon Horst has made his share of notable moves.

Not every move has hit, but the 2019 Executive of the Year has done his part to consistently put this team in a position to win it all, having finally gotten over the hump in 2021. A few of Horst’s moves during that 2020-21 season will certainly make this list. With that said, let us rank the six best trades by Jon Horst since he took over in 2017.

No. 6 – The George Hill trade

To start the 2018-19 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks were rolling. Giannis Antetokounmpo was playing at an MVP level, and in his first year as head coach, Mike Budenholzer helped the Bucks up their stature on the defensive end. Yet, Jon Horst felt like this team could use more, having made a three-team trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards for more point guard help.

In the deal, the Bucks traded Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, and a 2022 first-round pick to the Cavaliers while receiving George Hill, Jason Smith, a 2021 second-round pick, and cash to the Bucks. Cleveland traded Sam Dekker to Washington for a second rounder in the deal. There really were not any major “losers” in this particular deal, but it proved to be a good move for the Bucks.

Hill didn’t put up crazy numbers in the regular season upon arriving in Milwaukee, but he proved to be a solid addition to this bench unit. However, once the playoffs began, Hill’s importance was off the charts. In 15 games during the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Hill averaged 11.5 points and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from deep. He was great.

The Bucks fell short in the Eastern Conference Finals that season, but Hill was not one of the big reasons why. In fact, he was one of the players who actually rose to the occasion. The Hill trade was one of the reasons Horst won Executive of the Year in the months that followed, so it made sense for the team to re-sign him on a new deal that off-season.

Hill was even better for the Bucks in 2019-20. He had an incredible regular season showing, as he averaged 9.4 points while shooting extraordinarily, having hit 51.6 percent of his field goals and an NBA-leading 46 percent of his threes. While his shooting percentages regressed, Hill was still one of the more reliable Milwaukee Bucks in that playoff run in the bubble that ended in round two.

Despite his strong play, Hill was included in a trade that off-season that will appear much higher on this list. During his first stint with the Bucks, Hill was a solid rotational player who was worth what the team gave up to get him. Of course, he came back for a second stint, but that does not have anything to do with this 2018 trade. To this day, that trade was a great move.