This piece was written by new staff writer, Jordan Krueger. You can follow him on twitter @JKsitDownSon
Back at the trade deadline last season, the Bucks made a last minute trade to get former Rookie of the Year, point guard Michael Carter-Williams for Brandon Knight who had arguably an all-star season. This move made it look like the Bucks were all in on shaping for the future, giving up a proven scorer/ three point shooter for a project player who had proven really only that he could do well on a bad team.
As a rookie, MCW averaged nearly 17 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds per game. The points per game numbers have been going down ever since his move to Milwaukee which may alarm a lot of people. In my mind I look at it in a question and that is how much do we really need from Michael Carter-Williams from the scoring aspect? Looking at the cast around him, in the future I would say not much. Jabari, Giannis, and Middleton are three guys that are likely going to be around for a long time. If MCW is our point guard going forward, then why does he need to be a great scorer and take shots away from those three guys, and Monroe? These guys are going to be the cornerstones of this franchise and the guys who are going to be scoring more than anybody anyway.
The Bucks point guard going forward needs to be a guy who can set Giannis, Jabari, Middleton, and Monroe up with good shots, and play good defense in my opinion. MCW has been very good this season at doing those two things, and a lot better as of early December. Since then he has averaged 6.7 assists, also his turnover numbers have went down a ton since then.
Despite not being an offensive threat, when he needs to, MCW can finish at the rim as good as a lot of point guards in the NBA. MCW is finishing a little above 50% in the paint this year which is very good for a point guard. He is able to take most point guards down there, where he can back them down or just finish over them. Most jump shots he takes are usually with less than 7 seconds on the shot clock, so not bad shots even though they do not always fall. While on Philidelphia his rookie year, MCW averaged about 17 shots per game, therefor he was going to average more points which makes sense. On Milwaukee he averages 10 shots per game, therefor less points. With the people around him he does not need to take as many shots, and he does not need to score as many points.
Turnovers were a huge issue at the beginning of the year which from what I have seen has been fixed. Started off averaging nearly 4 turnovers per game, is down to 2.9 per game and since December has been 2.2 per game.
When people poke holes in his game, they go immediately to turnovers and his jump shot. No, his jump shot is not very good and there is no way around that. He takes some mid range jumpers late in the shot clock, but he is accepting the fact that right now he can not be looking for those. In his current role on the team, which he has been filling very well for about two months, he is never the main scoring option and once he realized that he got a lot better. Also, he is shooting 36% from three this season, which is no doubt a very small sample size, regardless that is a career high. However his pull-up elbow jump shot is falling at 28% which is not very good. The coaching staff is doing a good job of putting him in a place to succeed letting him cut off ball more and letting other guys handle the ball, while also surrounding him with better shooters.
Due to these big improvements over the last few months, his trade stock is arguably going back up. Though his value is not as high as it was after he won rookie of the year, he is for sure valuable enough to get something. I think the Bucks should keep him and develop him, he could play a role on future Bucks teams. After the Bucks shocked the world at the deadline though there is no telling what their vision of the future might hold. There is a chance the Bucks will look to move someone big near the deadline if this season does not turn around and he could be a main candidate.
Despite his shooting troubles, MCW is a fine point guard and in my opinion he can be the point guard of the future for us if he can start knocking down jump shots and handle the ball in crunch time. He had a few turnovers down the stretch and in OT against Atlanta last week and that is definitely not the first time that has happened. If he sticks to his role and puts up about 10 shots per game, 11 ppg, 8 apg, 6 rpg and stellar defensive numbers, he can be just fine on this team. I have stuck behind him this entire year, through his 7 turnover games and other haters saying he should be traded and now I’m glad to see him doing much better. It’s been about 10 months since the Bucks got their new point guard, the Bucks knew they were getting a worse point guard in the trade, they should play this experiment out until they absolutely have to make a decision on his future and give him every chance to hold down the job long term.