We had a trade yesterday! The Bucks and Hornets exchanged big men…
Miles Plumlee (2.6 points per game, 1.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 9.7 minutes)
Spencer Hawes (7.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 17.9 minutes)
Roy Hibbert (5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 16.0 minutes)
This isn’t exactly an exciting trade, but let’s break it down anyway.
Plumlee has barely played since the Bucks acquired him from the Suns back in 2015. He did have one nice season down in Phoenix, averaging 8.1 points and 7.8 rebounds back in 2013-14. The Hornets will hope that he can return to that production and form a nice big man rotation with Cody Zeller, who’s been battling injuries as of late. That could mean that Plumlee steps right into the starting lineup while the Hornets wait for Zeller’s return.
On the way to Milwaukee is Spencer Hawes, a big man known for his long range shooting, and Roy Hibbert, who has looked increasingly obsolete here in the Pace & Space era. It’s easy to forget that Hibbert was a two time All Star during his heyday with the Indiana Pacers, but he’s found a hard time being effective as of late. Hawes has the best numbers out of everyone in this trade, and should provide Milwaukee with some added spacing thanks to his shooting, however, he’s hit just 29.1% of his threes this year, down from 37.4% over the course of the previous four seasons. Also, if there’s any closet conservatives on the Bucks, they now have somebody to hang out with.
It’ll be interesting to see how these two fit in up in Milwaukee. The Bucks already have a lumbering big man, Greg Monroe, who isn’t exactly compatible with the Pace & Space era either, although he’s been able to remain more relevant than Hibbert has. John Henson usually starts at center, but he only averages 19.8 minutes a game. How Hawes and Hibbert are integrated into the lineup will be something to keep an eye on, as well as which one of the Henson/Monroe/Hawes/Hibbert group becomes the odd man out. My guess is that it’ll be Hibbert.
In Charlotte, Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky are the only other rotation big men on the team, and Kaminsky’s more of a perimeter player, so Plumlee should see an increase in playing time, especially with Zeller out. It’s great that he could potentially get a chance to become a solid contributor again.
Both of these teams are fighting for a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Currently, the Hornets (23-27) are in the 8th and final spot, but they’ve lost six in a row. The Bucks (21-27) are a game behind them and in 10th place. They’ve lost four in a row, and they’re a yucky 1-9 in their last ten games, so this trade, while not particularly flashy, could have a real impact on the Eastern Conference Playoffs.