Grading Bleacher Report's captivating Milwaukee Bucks' mock trade for Marcus Smart

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Grading B/R's mock trade for Marcus Smart: Milwaukee's POV

Would the Milwaukee Bucks giving up their Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Bobby Portis, their hustle guy Pat Connaughton and their young gun MarJon Beauchamp be worth the upgrade that Marcus Smart presents defensively?

The main complaint among Milwaukee Bucks fans so far in the Damian Lillard era of the team has been the defense. Adding Marcus Smart would certainly help fix that, but is he single-handedly enough to fix the Bucks' defense? Maybe.

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Bucks would sacrifice depth, and potentially more detrimental is the impact that losing Bobby Portis has on the fanbase. Portis, since arriving in Milwaukee, has completely reshaped his image and become a fan favorite that can flip the momentum of any game in a complete 180.

However, the goal of the NBA season is to win championships, not popularity contests. The Milwaukee Bucks may be a bit short handed for a month to a month and a half until Jae Crowder is back from his injury. Adding Marcus Smart could provide a big boost to the team by knowing you have a lockdown defender who can switch one through four on any team.

Marcus Smart then becomes your go-to defender for players like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyrese Maxey, Jalen Brunson and whoever the best player is on the Western Conference champion should the Milwaukee Bucks make another finals run.

Grading Bleacher Report's trade for the Milwaukee Bucks: B+

Initially, the Milwaukee Bucks will be a little short handed, they are aided by the fact that Khris Middleton's minutes restrictions seem to be getting less strict by the game. However, until Jae Crowder is healthy, the Milwaukee Bucks would be asking a lot from a guy like Andre Jackson Jr. to be one of the first guys off the bench with Malik Beasley.

Also, losing Pat Connaughton, who does more things than shoot, could open more playing time for A.J. Green, who has made some splashes in a few games this season, shooting 36.7 percent from the 3-point line. Jackson Jr. and Green combined could make up for the loss of what Connaughton does for the Milwaukee Bucks.

While Crowder is out, Adrian Griffin could also turn to Thanasis Antetokounmpo to play some minutes and take over the hustle role on the team. We've seen countless times, when Thanasis gets on the floor, he plays like a man who knows and accepts that his minutes are limited and puts an entire game's worth of effort into a few minutes.

Also, by sending out three players and getting just one in return, the Milwaukee Bucks could add a player or two to the roster while waiting for Crowder. There are a few journeymen available who could help the Bucks for a short period. Guys like Rudy Gay, T.J. Warren or Will Barton come to mind.

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