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NBA Trade Rumors: The case for and against Milwaukee Bucks signing Chris Paul this off-season

Chris Paul
Chris Paul
Kunal Sethi
ANALYST
Modified 11 Nov 2020, 14:13 IST
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Chris Paul has been the subject of numerous NBA trade rumors. His selfless point-guard skills are hard to find in today's NBA, and hence, even at the age of 35, the veteran guard has teams vying for his signature. Paul has been linked with almost every team in need of a point guard, with the most intriguing one in this respect being the Milwaukee Bucks.


NBA Trade Rumors: Why the Milwaukee Bucks should sign Chris Paul this off-season

Chris Paul against the Milwaukee Bucks
Chris Paul against the Milwaukee Bucks

Despite posting the best regular-season record for two consecutive years, the Milwaukee Bucks have struggled in the playoffs. Most recently, they were knocked out in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs by eventual finalists, the Miami Heat.

Many attribute the postseason failure of the Bucks to the lack of veteran leadership and the fact that their power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the primary ball-handler.

Chris Paul, on the other hand, took the young OKC Thunder squad to the playoffs last year, thereby proving to the league that he still possesses exceptional basketball IQ. His leadership and playmaking skills could be perfect for the Milwaukee Bucks' roster and would take a lot of the pressure off Antetokounmpo.

Chris Sheridan of BasketballNews.com pointed out that Paul and Antetokounmpo struck up a friendship during the NBA restart earlier this year;

"Giannis and Paul became close in the NBA bubble (particularly during the Bucks’ boycott), which is where this chatter originated."
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Opponents count on Giannis Antetokounmpo's lack of playmaking skills to often get the better of him. In this regard, adding a master floor general like Chris Paul to the Milwaukee Bucks' lineup could be a nightmarish proposition for other teams in the NBA.


NBA Trade Rumors: Why the Milwaukee Bucks should refrain from signing Chris Paul this off-season

Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo is utilized differently by the Milwaukee Bucks' head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Antetokounmpo being one of the greatest drivers of the ball one may have ever seen, often a 'wall' is required to stop him. Terms like 'Giannis Wall' have been aptly coined to describe 'walled' defenses against him.

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The Milwaukee Bucks' downhill scoring and three-point shooting thrive in an ecosystem where Giannis Antetokounmpo rushes to the basket. That triggers defenders to swarm around Antetokounmpo, which leaves wide open shooters waiting beyond the arc.

If Chris Paul is added to the Budenholzer system, Giannis Antetokounmpo could get reduced to a shooter, and the latter's full capabilities as a point guard may remain unutilized.

Another reason why the Milwaukee Bucks should not go after Chris Paul is because of his contract. Paul is expected to make around $41 million in 2020-21 and has a $44 million player option for the next season.

The Milwaukee Bucks are expected to offer Antetokounmpo the 5-year supermax contract. If Paul's high salary also comes into the equation, the Miwaukee Bucks would have to shell out significant pieces, possibly their shooters along with Eric Bledsoe that have made the Bucks' system so potent in the first place.

Published 10 Nov 2020, 03:59 IST
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