Joshua Hicks is a contributor to WARR and The D & Davis Show
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been going through some real scares to start off the NBA season.
Losses to below .500 opponents and big time battles in the games against the league’s best teams have littered the early schedule of the prohibitive Eastern Conference favorites.
Recurring defensive elapses underscore an overall narrative of defensive inefficiency along with the struggles natural in a veteran team trying to get past what’s worked for them in the past and in other situations not finding a rhythm offensively in the present. A huge wave of concern exists in The Land, but those fears are not the only frights that the Cavs have to face.
An electrifying guard is coming from the West to the East and landing on the Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan. This week the Milwaukee Bucks acquired former Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe in exchange for Greg Monroe and 2018 first and second-round draft picks, a trade that not only benefits the Bucks, a nascent contender in the East, but also can benefit a dying Eastern Conference.
Lacking a scoring point guard that can accelerate with speed and quickness on both ends of the floor, the Bucks with Bledsoe coming to town can institute a fast break offense that becomes much scarier than it already is with the incredibly long-limbed Giannis Antetokumpo, who has repeatedly shown his ability to cover half an NBA court in two steps, running the break.
In the half court, Bledsoe brings you another potential 20-point scorer, making the Bucks that much harder to defend, especially when The Greek Freak is leading the league with his average of over 30 points a game along with Kris Middleton and the 2017 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon stretching the floor with their effective three-point shooting.
We also cannot forget that when Chicago protégé Jabari Parker comes back this season, he will be another key addition to the extra versatility, length and speed Milwaukee is currently lacking in the starting lineup. Adding Bledsoe to the mix also increases Brogdon’s roll as the scoring sixth man spark needed off the bench, a level of extra depth that will be beneficial come playoff time if the team stays healthy.
One of the biggest keys to the success of this trade is relativity. The Bucks are one the youngest teams in the NBA with a young head coach in future hall-of-famer Jason Kidd. Kidd’s knowledge of the game, the point guard position and his mentorship can be the difference to making Bledsoe potentially a top-3 player in that position in the East, while also taking the challenge of being a young veteran leader for this franchise that has not had any real playoff success since making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001.
Bledsoe already believes he is a top 10-point guard in this league, but he now has the opportunity to prove that for a team that people are watching and expecting to develop in the East, increasing point guard competition and bringing more excitement to a conference thought to be deteriorating.
At the age of 27, Bledsoe still has a lot left in the tank and has the opportunity to truly be a strong asset to a franchise of young, very talented individuals that are his age all across the board, something not many star players in the league have chances to fully experience.
Watch how the Bledsoe trade also opens up opportunity for center Thon Maker. The second year player shows a lot of promise, and now with Monroe’s exit, can get the experience he needs to grow into the strong, effective two-way player many believe he can be.
New developments have Milwaukee’s future shining brighter and brighter by the day. The Bucks were already a dangerous Eastern Conference team coming into this season, but the Bledsoe addition automatically makes the Bucks huge contenders to be a top-three team in the East, and a team that can give King James and the Cavs a run for their money.
Joshua Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio