Mar 26, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Spencer Hawes (00) during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Charlotte won 115-91. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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The Milwaukee Bucks added two new players via trade. Here’s what Bucks fans should expect from Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes.
The Milwaukee Bucks shocked Bucks Twitter by offloading Miles Plumlee‘s massive contract in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. The biggest reason Milwaukee moved Plumlee was to dump his $50 million in guaranteed salary over this season and the next three.
That alone basically makes this trade a home run, considering how tight the Bucks books are getting with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s extension, plus potential deals with Jabari Parker and Tony Snell potentially coming up next summer.
Still, the Bucks received two players back for Plumlee. Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes are now Bucks, and they’ll be on the roster for the foreseeable future even if the most valuable asset Milwaukee got in the deal was additional cap space in the future.
There weren’t enough minutes for all the big men on the roster before, so it’s doubtful both Hibbert and Hawes will see playing time. Maybe neither of them will. But it’s certainly possible that they’ll get looks, if for no other reason than to boost their value and set up another deal to help shape this roster.
To that end, we’ll go through first Hibbert and then Hawes to see what Bucks fans should expect from each of them, should they get any extended playing time. By first looking through what they’ve done in the past, we can then figure out what these two are likely capable of at this point in their careers.
Oct 26, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert (55) spins towards the basket as Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) defends during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Roy Hibbert is a two-time All-Star and one-time All-Defensive Second Teamer. Or, more accurately, he was a two-time All-Star and one-time All-Defensive Second Teamer. Hibbert has regressed from his former glory days as a defensive stopper and anchor of a great Indiana Pacers defense.
Since leaving Indiana after an abysmal 2014 playoffs with the Pacers, Hibbert has bounced around a bit. He played the 2015-16 season with the Los Angeles Lakers and was both less effective and got less minutes to play in, and those trends both continued when Hibbert arrived in Charlotte last summer.
On Opening Night of the 2016-17 NBA Season, it looked like Hibbert was snapping back to his previous form. He dominated the Bucks, putting up 15 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and three assists in a nice Charlotte win.
Unfortunately for Hibbert, one of his knees swelled right after the game. According to the Charlotte Observer, he hasn’t been fully healthy this season since then. Whether that’s been the Hornets pushing Hibbert to play or Hibbert himself wanting to prove himself in a contract year, it would likely be for the best if the big man had a chance to recover.
Jan 18, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert (55) looks to dunk he ball through the Portland Trail Blazers guard Shabazz Napier (6), forward Noah Vonleh (21) and guard forward Pat Connaughton (5) during the second half of the game at the Spectrum Center. Hornets win 107-85. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
It’s foolish to expect Roy Hibbert to make it back to his peak level of play at this point. He’s now over two seasons removed from being an All-Star type player, even if that first game of the year reminded many of his form in those days.
Is it technically possible that a fully-healthy Hibbert could get there? Sure. Expecting him to get to that level at all anymore is asking too much of a 30-year-old big man, though, especially one who’s been dealing with injuries.
In all honesty, it will be tough for Hibbert to find minutes in Milwaukee. Even without Plumlee around, John Henson and Greg Monroe both should ideally get more than 24 minutes a night. Now that Thon Maker is in the rotation, there’s even less minutes for everybody else.
Hibbert could get some minutes just as a chance to see what he’s got left in the tank, or in case of an injury or subsequent roster move that frees up minutes for Milwaukee’s big men. Or maybe Jason Kidd‘s latest tinker will be throwing Hibbert in as a starter. Who knows!
Jan 25, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward center Spencer Hawes (00) reacts after scoring during the first half of the game against the Golden State Warriors at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Spencer Hawes lacks the past highlights that Roy Hibbert has on his resume. Hawes has never been an All-Star, and really hasn’t been a starter for much of his career thus far. After being drafted 10th overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2007, Hawes spent three years in Sacramento.
His biggest strength is supposedly that he can function as a stretch-five, a big man who can play center while being able to knock down threes. He’s only broken 30 percent from three-point range in five of his ten NBA seasons, although Hawes’ is a career 35 percent three-point shooter.
After departing Sacramento, Hawes spent three and a half years with the Philadelphia 76ers and half a year with the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Sixers traded him there in 2014 for Earl Clark and a pair of second-round draft picks.
After that Hawes was signed by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played a single season in L.A. before being traded once more, this time to the Charlotte Hornets in the Lance Stephenson trade. He played sparingly for the Hornets for a year and a half before being moved once more, this time for Plumlee.
Hawes’ best season was unquestionably 2013-14, when he was dealt to the Cavs mid season. He scored a career-high 13.2 points and grabbed 8.3 rebounds per game that season, and hit 45.6 percent of his field goals and 41.6 percent of his threes.
Since that season Hawes has been unable to return to form. The next year he hit less than 32 percent of his threes, followed by a surge to 37.3 percent last season. This season that number has fallen all the way down to 29.1 percent, as Hawes has seen his role disappear in Charlotte.
Dec 28, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Spencer Hawes (00) protects the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game Orlando Magic at Amway Center.The Hornets won 120-101. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Much like Hibbert, it’s hard to expect all that much from Spencer Hawes as a Milwaukee Buck. He’s definitely a center, despite being listed as a power forward for some of his career. Even if he could play the four, it’s not like there are tons of minutes available there in Milwaukee either.
Jabari Parker, Michael Beasley, Mirza Teletovic and sometimes Giannis Antetokounmpo already need more than the 48 minutes the Bucks have at power forward this season. Again, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hawes be thrown in as a chance to prove himself or in case of a spot opening up, but as things currently stand there doesn’t seem to be much place for him.
The one draw that Hawes has and Hibbert doesn’t is the potential of floor spacing. Thon already brings that to an extent, but Hawes being able to capably play the center position and nailing 40-plus percent of his threes would bring a new dynamic to Milwaukee’s offense.
The defense would be a completely different story though, and if his play in Charlotte this season is any indication Hawes doesn’t have the touch he once did from three-point territory. The Bucks have more reason to find out what they have in him thanks to his player option for next season, however.
Hibbert will be an unrestricted free agent this summer no matter what. Hawes could opt-in to make $6 million next season. If he decides to do so the Bucks would either need to keep him, waive him or trade him.
That could lead to more minutes for Hawes than Hibbert in the early going. Hibbert is owed something like $2.5 million for the rest of the season from the Bucks, because Charlotte has already paid half of his game checks (the full $5 million is on Milwaukee’s cap sheet, though.)
Hawes is owed closer to $3 million for the rest of this season, plus he might take that player option for another $6 million, meaning the Bucks could be paying him triple what Hibbert will get. That’s incentive right there to see what the team has in Hawes, even with the expectations as low as they are after his disappointing recent history.