Bucks could use Jahlil Okafor to fill in for Greg Monroe in the paint

Bucks could use Jahlil Okafor to fill in for Greg Monroe in the paint


Bucks could use Jahlil Okafor to fill in for Greg Monroe in the paint

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After the Milwaukee Bucks flipped big man Greg Monroe to the Phoenix Suns for Eric Bledsoe, they’re now a logical fit for Jahlil Okafor.

The 21-year-old Okafor and Milwaukee forward Jabari Parker are both from Chicago and both played college basketball at Duke. While they did not play in college at the same time, they are described as close friends.

If he were on the Bucks, Okafor would have a defined role now that Monroe is no longer on the roster. Milwaukee will need a scoring big man to provide an offensive spark off the bench. The two players have a fairly similar style and Okafor could slide in seamlessly into the minutes Monroe saw off the bench.

It’s a match made in basketball heaven, as the Bucks currently post up more often than all but four teams in the NBA.

Monroe was a major source of their offense on this play type. Last season, his post up frequency was 30.6 percent. Okafor had a nearly identical rate at 31.6 percent during his 2016-17 campaign.

Considering how often Milwaukee posts up, John Henson will not be a serviceable replacement for Monroe as a backup big. His 11.0 percent rate last season is now down to 4.0 percent this season, with just two post-up instances in nine total games.

Meanwhile, the Bucks rank last in total putbacks this season. Monroe led his squad in putbacks last year and averaged 0.97 points per putback possession. Okafor had an impressive 1.14 points per putback possession last year.

Okafor, who has a 7-foot wingspan, would also fit with their identity as one of the longest teams in the league (via ESPN):

“The Bucks have already fulfilled their plan of assembling the NBA’s longest roster. In 2012, they drafted John Henson (7-foot-5 wingspan). The following year they landed Khris Middleton (6-11 wingspan) in a trade of Jennings and drafted Antetokounmpo, the 6-11 forward with the 7-3 wingspan, in the first round. In 2014, Milwaukee chose Jabari Parker (7-foot wingspan) with the No. 2 pick. Until further notice, the Bucks won the 2016 draft, snagging Thon Maker (7-3 wingspan) with the 10th pick and rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon (a point guard with a 6-11 wingspan) in the second round. They traded Michael Carter-Williams for shooting guard Tony Snell (6-11 wingspan) just before last season, then took forward D.J. Wilson (7-3 wingspan) in June’s draft.”

There’s an obvious fit so the question now becomes what the Philadelphia 76ers may want in exchange for Okafor. If the Sixers want a second-round pick, the Bucks have several in each draft for the next three seasons.

According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, Milwaukee would not need to provide any players in exchange for Okafor for the trade to work within the CBA.

However, due to Philadelphia’s ample cap space, they could theoretically take on any contract that Milwaukee might offer. This includes pricier players like John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova as well as more affordable players who are not premiere assets like Rashad Vaughn.

The Sixers would presumably avoid taking on someone like Henson so they could keep their cap space available for free agency.

Regardless, if the Bucks would be able to land Okafor and Bledsoe for the price of Monroe and a few draft picks, it shows they’re in win-now mode and willing to do what it takes to build around their rising superstar.

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