The first blockbuster move of the NBA trade deadline is now complete as the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to ship out Australian big man Andrew Bogut and his rapidly receding hairline to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for scoring stud Monta Ellis.
Bogut showed All-Star potential in his six and half seasons with the Bucks, but his size and skill didn’t outweigh his health issues. After adjusting to the NBA game Bogut became a double-double player with great defensive skills and scoring ability, but injuries have left him on the sidelines for extended periods of time.
His best season, 2009-10, in which he averaged just under 16 points, 10.2 rebounds and two blocks per game, was derailed after he broke an arm in a gruesome mid-air collision right before Milwaukee would make their only real playoff run of the past decade. He managed just 65 so-so games last season and won’t play more than 12 he already has in 2011-12 because of a fractured ankle he suffered in late January.
The Bucks may have decided that Bogut would never again reach his production of the 2009-10 season and at the same time saw an opportunity to also rid themselves of Jackson, a former NBA champion who had become redundant in the Bucks lineup. Brought over from Charlotte in an offseason trade, Jackson clashed with coach Scott Skiles and never really offered the Bucks the scoring, defense, and leadership they so badly needed from the wing position.
Although Bogut is often injured, the Bucks broke the number one rule when trading players: never trade big for small. Ellis is an elite scorer and could one day still become an All-Star player but the fit in Milwaukee isn’t exactly obvious at first glance. The Warriors never enjoyed much success when Ellis was paired with another talented but undersized guard, Stephen Curry, who also required significant amounts of the ball so it seems a strange decision that the Bucks would choose the tandem of Ellis and the quick shooting Brandon Jennings as the future backcourt.
Ellis has been a borderline All-Star for a while now but was quite unlucky not to have been chosen this year. Under new coach Marc Jackson, Ellis showed a newfound commitment to the team and willingness to sacrifice his own statistics for the benefit of the ball club. There is a chance Ellis may be moved on again in another big deal, but in the meantime the additions of Udoh and Brown give the Bucks financial flexibility moving forward and further depth to a relatively thin frontline.