No. 4 – The Eric Bledsoe trade
Entering the 2017-18 NBA season, it was clear that the Milwaukee Bucks were worth monitoring as an up-and-coming team. Giannis Antetkounmpo was coming off his first All-Star selection, and Khris Middleton was coming into his own as a second option. Yet, it felt like this team needed just a bit more to truly take the leap, and that came in the form of the Eric Bledsoe trade.
Bledsoe made it clear that he wanted a trade away from the Phoenix Suns, and the Bucks obliged in early November by sending Greg Monroe, a 2018 second round pick, and a 2020 first round pick in exchange for his services. This was exactly the kind of trade the Milwaukee Bucks needed at the time, giving them the best point guard they had in a long time.
The guard immediately saw a prominent role with the Bucks, having started in all 71 games that regular season. This continued over the next two seasons, as Bledsoe was a key part of the Bucks becoming one of the league’s top contenders. He became a stellar defender at the guard position, having earned back-to-back All-Defensive nods in 2019 and 2020.
The biggest stain on Bledose’s time with the Bucks was his playoff struggles. For three years, he could never live up to the task of helping Milwaukee succeed in the postseason, having struggled year after year. It was tough to watch, and after falling short against the Heat in 2020, it was clear that the Bucks had to go in another direction, having traded away Bledsoe for another point guard.
Despite Bledose’s playoff struggles, this was a good move for the Bucks. It showed that they were ready to contend, and they formed a nice Big 3 with Bledsoe, Antetokounmpo, and Middleton. The guard was the perfect complementary piece next to those two and helped them out tremendously as they earned All-Star selections, MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year Awards, and more.
Had they not brought in Eric Bledsoe, who knows if Milwaukee’s ascension to title contention would have happened as it did. The trade itself was beyond reasonable at the time.