Does Losing Michael Carter-Williams Make Bucks More Dangerous?
The Milwaukee Bucks will have to play the rest of the 2015-16 NBA season without star point guard Michael Carter-Williams, per reports. Carter-Williams had been dealing with knee soreness, but was immediately shutdown when the team learned he was dealing with a torn labrum in his hip.
State of the Bucks
Losing Michael Carter-Williams is not a huge blow to Milwaukee’s playoff chances, as they were already sitting at the bottom of the Central Division in the Eastern Conference at 26-37.
That isn’t to say the Bucks have no shot at the playoffs or are a terrible team. At 11 games under .500 they certainly have long odds and won’t be confused with a good team, but the recent rise of what is suddenly a stable trio of Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker has Milwaukee fans thinking big.
Technically speaking, the Bucks are five wins out f the 8th and final playoff spot. But in terms of losses, they’re in quite a bit of trouble, having seven more losses than the Bulls, who just got Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic back.
Needless to say, now isn’t the best time to lose some decent depth.
Of course, that’s if you buy into Carter-Williams as being an asset. The reality is, short of his size and length, he’s at best a sub-par defender and aside from a decent ability to create as a lead guard, he actually hurts Milwaukee’s offense.
From a passing perspective, MCW can create and find open guys, but he also turns the ball over (2.8 turnovers per game). While his overall shooting percentage has improved this year (up to 45%), he’s still just average from the field and atrocious from deep (shooting 27% from three. He also is a below average free throw shooter (65%).
Carter-Williams certainly has talent and upside, but there is a good reason he’s been involved in trade rumors ever since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2013: it’s because he’s really not that good.
If you’re looking at the absence of MCW, it can be seen from two perspectives. On one hand he is a talented player who can do a few things like create and attack the rim at a moderate level. The other might be more telling, however, as his absence opens up a very attractive point-forward situation for the seemingly unstoppable Antetokounmpo, who has been on a torrid run as a nightly triple-double threat.
The man some call Alphabet has blossomed into a star with a massive role over the past few weeks, and healthy or not, MCW being part of the rotation was only going to curb that promise.
Instead, Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo can pick up the scraps at point guard and the Bucks can continue to see what they can get out of Giannis, Jabari and Khris. So far, it’s been a heck of a lot during a solid 5-5 stretch over their last 10 games.
None of this means the Bucks are going to go on a wild tear and leapfrog the Pistons, Bulls, Pacers, Wizards or even the Orlando Magic, but it does mean they should be fairly consistent and overall pretty competitive.
Michael Carter-Williams bows out of his second (first full) season with the Bucks and it’s very possible he may be done in Milwaukee. Head coach Jason Kidd has been working to find a permanent fix at point guard ever since he arrived here last season and that has involved a lot of trade rumors.
With MCW still on Milwaukee’s roster for a moderate salary, he’s going to increasingly develop into a hot trade chip, while there is still an angle here that promotes serious potential growth for the 24-year old.
The real issue with MCW is that he is not a good shooter, he’s a merely passable defender and he’s a barely above average point guard when it comes to setting teammates up, running an offense and distributing. His best asset is his ability to attack due to his size and length, but his woeful jumper can kill that upside more often than not.
With this shutdown, the Bucks could (and should) close the door on his future with the team, as in just three NBA seasons his health, inconsistency and failure to live up to expectations have marked him as a sizable disappointment.
MCW could pan out elsewhere, but with how the Bucks are currently built, he just isn’t a fit. It’s a shame his tenure likely ends on injured reserve, but it’s a fitting end for a player that has yet to find the right fit in the league.
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