Grade the trade: Milwaukee Bucks land lockdown defender in mock deal with Portland

Portland Trail Blazers v Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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Grade the trade for Matisse Thybulle: Milwaukee’s POV

Right off the bat, it’s common knowledge that Thybulle is an elite defender (or at least close to that status) in this league. Standing at 6-foot-5, he’s stout enough to keep stronger slashers in front of him while nimble enough to stick with shot-makers around screens. It helps, too, that he's the league-leading forward in steals per 75 possessions, according to BBall Index.

In short, there is, at this point, no world where his presence on the roster does not immediately address a weakness for the Bucks and help them lock down opposing scorers.

On top of his relative competence, Thybulle can guard multiple positions and fit well alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo in their switching and trapping scheme that new head coach Doc Rivers has been pulling out through his few games with the team thus far.

His contract is also pretty reasonable considering what he gives you on the court. He’s making just $10.5 million this year, $11 million next year and has a player option for $11.5 million after that, according to Spotrac. This also makes him a future-proof move if his fit eventually works out in Milwaukee’s favor. On top of that, giving up two bench players and two second-rounders isn't a huge cost for someone who might potentially start, especially if they're late picks.

Now the most immediate con is that Thybulle is not a strong offensive player, averaging only 5.5 points per game this season. The fact that less than ten percent of the team’s offensive possessions directly involve Thybulle speaks for itself: he simply doesn’t give you much on that end of the floor. And for all of their defensive limitations, Connaughton and Payne still do provide valuable depth and shooting for the Bucks, who have surged to one of the NBA's best offenses due to their hot shooting.

It’s also worth pointing out that Thybulle does have a veto clause in his contract, which means he has the option to approve or veto any deal involving his contract. His past relationship with coach Doc Rivers could be a factor in this.

The merit of the Milwaukee Bucks is clear. They could address a major need in defense without giving up major assets. However, they lose some depth and scoring, and Thybulle's offensive limitations could hurt them.