Milwaukee Bucks Could Deal Brandon Jennings If Austin Rivers Falls

By Michael Terrill

The Milwaukee Bucks could trade point guard Brandon Jennings if guard Austin Rivers falls to them at the 12th spot in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Milwaukee is in desperate need of an offensive center that can score at will and give aid to the perimeter shooters. They already have two defensive shot blockers in Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders; however, they need someone with size in the middle that can make an impact on the offensive side of the court.

Unfortunately, the Bucks also need a point guard that can handle the ball well, drive to the basket, and prevent opposing guards to drive on them. As athletic as Jennings may be, he has not done any of those things the last two seasons. If Milwaukee can either move up to select Rivers, or be confident that he will fall to them at the 12th pick, then dealing Jennings is a solid move. Jennings has already made it perfectly clear he will be testing the waters once he becomes a free agent so this will be the Bucks beating him to the punch.

The 6’-4”, 200-pound Rivers could be exactly what Milwaukee needs in the back court with Monta Ellis. Ellis would be moved to point guard because he is more suited for that position, while Rivers would take over at shooting guard. Ellis is able to drive to the basket at will, score, and draw fouls. He is also a phenomenal outside shooter and has great defensive skills to prevent opposing guards reaching the paint.

Rivers converted 43.3% of his field goals and 36.5% from beyond the arc while averaging 15.5 points per game with Duke last season.  I am confident he will be able to improve his shooting numbers in the NBA, as many good players are capable of doing. In comparison, Jennings shot 41.8% and 33.2% respectively, but remember, this is not all about the field goal percentages.

It would be hard for many Bucks fans to say goodbye to Jennings, but if the team wants to become contenders instead of pretenders than they must make the hard decisions. If Jennings leaves via free agency in over a year from now then many people are going to wish Milwaukee had got something for him. Obviously, the only way the Bucks trade Jennings is if they are able to acquire a solid replacement, preferably a shooting guard. Rivers is an essential piece to the puzzle if Milwaukee wants to reach the postseason for the first time in three years.

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