Grade the Trade: Bucks move fan-favorite to Kings for defensive guard, more

This Buck has been mentioned in trade rumors constantly.
Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings
Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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What would the Milwaukee Bucks gain in this potential deal?

The averages and percentages don't tell the full story, but the advanced stats don't do much more to suggest that the Bucks are upgrading here. Bobby Portis had a 115 offensive and 113 defensive rating per 100 possessions this past season, and Lyles had a 120 offensive and 116 defensive rating — negligible differences.

The true shooting numbers give Trey Lyles a slight advantage at 59.6 percent, with Portis at 58.1 percent. Offensive box plus/minus has Lyles at -0.4 and Portis at 0.0; for defensive box plus/minus Lyles was at -0.7 and Bobby at -0.8.

These numbers go to show that there really isn't a large incentive for the Bucks to make this trade, and that's before you consider the fact that Bobby Portis has been an ironman for the Bucks, playing 82 games last season while Lyles played only 58.

That's where Keon Ellis and the second round pick in 2025 come in.

Ellis isn't a household name, but what he brings to the household table could make this trade considerable from the Bucks' perspective. He is 6-foot-6 and was measured at the 2022 NBA Combine to have just shy of a 6-foot-9 wingspan.

In the combine notes about Ellis, it was said that while he was undersized (almost the exact same size as Bucks' recent draft pick AJ Johnson, who holds tons of potential), he makes up for it with "very impressive lateral quickness."

In college, Ellis transferred to Alabama before his junior season. While his junior season was relatively quiet, his senior season was fairly impressive and ended with Ellis making the All-SEC Defensive Team. Ellis' pre-draft notes are filled with sparkling notes on his defensive prowess.

In his two seasons with Sacramento, he has taken 180 3-pointers and made 76, coming in at 42.2 percent. Also, in those two seasons, Ellis' defensive rating is 113. Based on these facts and his pre-draft analysis, it's not hard to imagine Ellis fitting in as a 3-and-D addition to the Milwaukee Bucks' shooting guard room.

Lastly, add in that in this deal, the Sacramento Kings throw in a second-round pick, not their own, but a second round pick next year from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers could very well be one of the worst teams in the NBA this upcoming season; they have some good young players but are far from contenders and are in a loaded Western Conference.

That second-round pick would likely be in the early 30s, so the Bucks could be in a position to draft their picks close together next year like they did for the 2024 NBA Draft, or they could use the pick in another deal.

Grade for Bucks: B+