Looking back on the failed Michael Carter-Williams experiment will be a painful one for the Bucks and Jason Kidd. It doesn’t seem too long ago that MCW was a reigning Rookie of the Year with what seemed like an abundance of potential – but it’s clear the Bucks got Hinkied on this one. The cost has been substantial. They’ve lost Brandon Knight, who was a borderline All-Star that year in Milwaukee, and even worse, could have had the Lakers first round pick (Top 3 protected in 2017, Unprotected in 2018) instead.
The Bucks had clearly been shifting away from Michael Carter-Williams over the past season when it became clear he was a poor fit alongside Giannis and Parker. His lack of a J consistently hurt the team spacing, which he still has not improved after 3 seasons in the league. If you consider the payday that Milwaukee gave Matthew Dellavadova this off season, the writing was on the wall. The Bucks could have given MCW the Qualifying Offer for next season and make him a Restricted Free Agent, but have elected to move on and trade him to the Bulls for SF Tony Snell.
Snell clearly fits a need with Khris Middleton being out for perhaps the entire 2016/17 NBA season. Known primarily as a “3&D” wing, Snell could potentially get the start at the 2 or 3 spot and be used in a similar way to Middleton, just without the ball handling. Snell’s numbers don’t really pop out at you, but there didn’t appear to be much appetite for MCW around the league – so perhaps this was the best they could do given their desperate circumstance.
2015/16 Shot Charts: Tony Snell & Khris Middleton
Snell is not the shooter Middleton is, but he’s capable. At 36% from deep last year, he has a similar ability to hit from the foul line extended but on much lower volume. Perhaps with more continuity in playing time and a larger role – he will further improve on his ability to be a deep ball threat to provide this team with the spacing it desperately needs.
When considering the Bucks gave up the Lakers pick for MCW, this is a horror trade for Milwaukee. However, if we are purely looking at the MCW for Snell components – it’s a talent loss but a fit and need gain.
Well…this is surprising. Or is it?
As I pointed out in my Off-Season Report, to me the Bulls are a confusing mess. Are they going young or going old? They appear to be going in direct contrast to the rest of the league, acquiring players that are terrible shooters but above average playmakers – and hoping it will all work out. MCW continues to fit this mold, for better or worse (likely worse).
I will say that the Bulls have managed to get good years out of many of their backup PG’s in recent times but that was more so under Thibs. MCW’s opportunities to contribute will be behind ball needy starters Rondo, Butler & Wade and then only after beating out other ball needy backups in Grant, Valentine, Canaan & Dinwiddie. Not to mention the spacing issues on this team – the fit is awful. Carter-Williams shot 27% from deep last season, with a conversion rate of 0.3 per game. That’s considerably worse than Rondo, and bordering on Wade levels of three aversion. Last season 3 pt % of Bulls guards;
MCW figures to be Rondo insurance if he gets injured or pulls a Dallas, but the only positive I can say about the move is it didn’t cost them much. Consider it an encore to Chicago’s Off-Season where the Bulls deals in isolation were perhaps passable but in the grander scheme, make little sense.
Ultimately the Bulls can choose not to pick up the QO on MCW if he shows nothing, or match him if he does. Overall, a shoulder shrugging move from a franchise that is becoming adept at them.