Discussing the decision to acquire Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline, Bucks general manager Jon Horst referred to the big man as “one of our top targets,” explaining that Ibaka will help the team become more versatile defensively, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
“I think our rebounding and our toughness and our presence at the rim is a little bit of our identity and our calling card, so adding players to that – kind of independent of how big they are – is always going to be something we’re going to try to do,” Horst said. “Last year, we did it in a 6’6″, 6’7” P.J. Tucker package. Now this year we did it in a 6’10” Serge Ibaka package.
“I see this as a similar move to P.J., having a chance to have a similar impact. I don’t know that Serge will guard the ones and the twos the way that P.J. Tucker did, but I think Serge can guard the fours and the fives in a different way than what P.J. Tucker did. So, it’s just versatility. We want to find the best seven, eight, nine guys who can play meaningful playoff minutes and our roster is so versatile, I think we can kind of do it in different ways.”
The Bucks, who came out of the deadline with three open spots on their 15-man roster, found themselves a little shorthanded on the wing and will reportedly bring in DeAndre’ Bembry as its 13th man. However, as Nehm relays, Horst said the club isn’t focused on specific positions to fill its 14th and 15th spots, and will target players who are the best fit from a talent and culture perspective.
“It could be guard help. It could be big help,” Horst said. “You know we’re always looking for shooting, we’re always looking for experience and toughness, defensive versatility, a lot of the things that Serge gave us in this move, I think we’ll look for more of that, but positionally, I’m really less worried about what that means positionally. I just think we’re really balanced and really deep.”
Here’s more from around the Central:
- Bulls head coach Billy Donovan confirmed on Monday that Zach LaVine will be out at least through the All-Star break, noting the guard’s his visit to a knee specialist in Los Angeles will take place on Tuesday, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Donovan suggested that the Bulls will have a better idea of the plan for LaVine after today’s evaluation.
- Praising Kevin Pritchard for his impressive trade history, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star argues that the Pacers ought to give their president of basketball operations a contract extension. Doyel thinks Pritchard may be in the final year of his current deal, though he acknowledges he’s not sure about that.
- Pacers forward Oshae Brissett began the season on a non-guaranteed contract without a regular rotation role, but he has made impressive strides and shouldn’t be overlooked in conversations about the team’s young talent, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Brissett, whose contract includes a minimum-salary team option for 2022/23, established new season highs with 22 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota on Sunday.
- Marvin Bagley III made a strong impression in his Pistons debut on Monday, putting up 10 points and eight rebounds in just over 20 minutes in his first game since January 29, says Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “His timing’s off a little bit, understandably, but he has an advantage in the post with his length and his ability to score around the basket. I really like that,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “And first play down the floor, he took a charge. I love that. He’s a little rusty, but I like the way he plays.”