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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Milwaukee Bucks: P.J. Tucker
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 05 (Photo by Steven Ryan /Getty Images) /

No. 3 – The P.J. Tucker (and MarJon Beauchamp) trade

It was no secret that the Milwaukee Bucks were looking for defensive reinforcements during the 2020-21 season. They were rumored to be interested in both Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker of the Houston Rockets. Milwaukee’s interest in Tucker never faded, and before the trade deadline in March, they finally got the guy they wanted to fortify their defense.

The Bucks traded away D.J. Augustin, D.J. Wilson, a 2021 first-rounder, and a 2023 first-rounder for P.J. Tucker, Rodions Kurucs, and a 2022 first-round pick. It was an excellent deal for the Bucks. Augustin was struggling, and this helped the Bucks get out of his hefty contract. Wilson was out of the rotation and needed a fresh start. Shuffling around the picks made sense for both teams.

Shortly after arriving, Tucker dealt with some injuries and missed some time. The Bucks were very cautious, knowing they needed him for the postseason. That quickly proved to be the case after he was made a full-time starter once Donte DiVincenzo went down early in the playoffs. For the rest of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Tucker gave the Bucks a boost they had been lacking in previous years.

Throughout that playoff run, Tucker played every game like it would be his last. He played the part of the defensive stalwart that Milwaukee needed, oftentimes taking on the most difficult tasks on that end. The primary example of this was in round two vs. Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. Durant got his points, but Tucker made life as difficult as possible for him on every possession.

Though Tucker was most known for defending Durant, his best playoff effort typically came when he was matched up with guards such as Trae Young and Chris Paul. Against guards, Tucker held guards to 38-of-97 shooting (39.2 percent) while forcing 17 turnovers. This was huge for the Bucks, as it let their other defenders focus on their offensive production or other defensive tasks.

Tucker’s contributions, though not plentiful on the stat sheet, were one of the many reasons as to why the Bucks were champions that season. Despite how impactful he was, the Bucks let Tucker go in free agency as the forward flew to Miami. It’s a decision that is still heavily discussed among Milwaukee Bucks fans to this day, and it won’t stop anytime soon.

Getting Tucker alone would have made this one of Horst’s best moves, but they also swapped a future first-rounder, which they used to select MarJon Beauchamp. Though he didn’t play much during his rookie season, the swingman seems poised to take a leap in year two and be a big part of the team’s success. If so, this trade could get even better for the Milwaukee Bucks.