NBA Trades to Fix Struggling Teams (6/8)

Enough games have been played this NBA season to sense where teams stand relative to the rest of the NBA. Some NBA Teams have solidly established themselves as playoff contenders, whereas others have fallen outside of the playoff picture. It is early enough in the NBA season where the right trade could save a season for certain teams, and this eight-part series of trades could turn around each team involved with the right factors.

The Trade

Portland Receives: Greg Monroe, Steve Novak

Milwaukee Receives: Maurice Harkless, Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier, rights to switch 1st round picks

Portland and Milwaukee are two teams with two bright young stars, and an imperfect supporting cast. Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker (41.5 points, 14.7 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 3.2 steals per game combined,) and Portland has Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (50.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 2.0 steals per game combined,) but these teams aren’t properly supporting their duos correctly.

Portland needs a third star. Insert Monroe. Milwaukee seriously reduced Monroe’s role this year, but Monroe is a great player. Last season, he averaged 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game. He shot 52.2%, and had 7.5 win shares.

Gary Dineen / NBAE via Getty Images
Gary Dineen / NBAE via Getty Images

Those are great marks, and just what Portland needs from him in their front court. Critics of Monroe attack his defense, yet Monroe had the 2nd best defensive rating on Milwaukee last season with 106, and the 2nd most defensive win shares with 2.4.

The real issue with Monroe comes from asking him to be a rim protector, but on a Portland team with Festus Ezeli, Mason Plumlee, and Al-Farouq Aminu on it to block shots, Monroe should be able to focus on individual defense.

Milwaukee should also be ready to pull the trigger on this deal. They are able to get out a deal that overvalued Monroe’s value to the team, and they get some great assets as well.

Maurice Harkless is having a great season. He’s averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on 48.5% shooting and 37.5% from three for Portland. At 6’9″ and 215 pounds, he fits the Bucks model of adding versatile players to play alongside their stars.

Craig MItchelldyer / Associated Press
Craig MItchelldyer / Associated Press

Napier is beginning to come into his own as an NBA player. His PER is at 17.6, and he’s averaging 18.0 points and 6.5 assists per 36 minutes. The former first round pick was also a collegiate champion and NCAA tournament MVP.

Ed Davis is having an off-year so far, but he has been very impressive off the bench for his career. Davis has 29.0 win shares off the bench (.146 per 48 minutes,) and career offensive and defensive ratings of 118 and 105. Davis is a very efficient player, and he could definitely shape up a shaky Milwaukee bench.

The rights to switch first round picks also is nice for Milwaukee. Both of these teams are on the fence of making the playoffs in their respective conferences, and if one of these teams doesn’t, then the Bucks get a lottery pick out of it.

Here are the resulting rosters:


Projected Portland Trailblazers Depth
PG Damian Lillard Evan Turner Tim Quarterman
SG C.J. McCollum Allen Crabbe Pat Connaughton
SF Al-Farouq Aminu Jake Layman Steve Novak
PF Noah Vonleh Meyers Leonard
C Greg Monroe Mason Plumlee Festus Ezeli
Projected Milwaukee Bucks Depth
PG Giannis Antetokoumnpo Matthew Dellavedova Shabazz Napier
SG Khris Middleton Malcolm Brogdon Jason Terry
SF Maurice Harkless Tony Snell Rashad Vaughn
PF Jabari Parker Michael Beasley Mirza Teletovic
C Ed Davis John Henson Miles Plumlee Thon Maker

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