The Milwaukee Bucks are finding their stride after the Damian Lillard trade. It was an all-in move to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo happy that has created some concerns. Fans can overreact, but it is still early. First-year head coach Adrian Griffin is still figuring out his new team and the best is still yet to come.
The biggest question mark right now is Khris Middleton. He is still dealing with knee issues after playing just 33 games last season. The three-time All-Star has only been able to handle 18.6 minutes per game in the early going and missed two of the team’s first seven contests. Milwaukee needs Middleton to be their third star, but he has barely stayed on the court so far.
What if he cannot get right? The Bucks can only offer a couple of secondary pick swaps and two second-round picks in trades. They would need someone to gamble on Middleton’s future upside with two years and $65.6 million left on his deal. Who could the Bucks bring back if they decide to move before the trade deadline?
6. Ben Simmons
This sounds crazy, but Simmons is playing 31.8 minutes per game and making an impact in Brooklyn. He has significant offensive limitations, but the Bucks are 29th in rebounding and 24th in defensive rating. Simmons is still a plus defender grabbing 10.8 boards per game this season.
The Bucks do not want to take the ball out of the hands of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Simmons is still a skilled playmaker. He does not shoot threes and lacks the aggressiveness driving to the hoop from his prime years, but Simmons can still impact winning and may fill some significant holes in Cream City.
The Milwaukee Bucks would be searching for more in a Khris Middleton trade, especially with Ben Simmons’ injury history factored in. If the three-time All-Star is not playing more and producing, finding a blockbuster deal will be tough. The Bucks do not have much to offer, but talent on undesirable contracts should be available.