The Milwaukee Bucks didn't add a big name to its roster like the Toronto Raptors did at the deadline, but they traded for someone who could make a tremendous difference for them in their pursuit of a spot in the Finals this season.
In a three-team deal with the New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons, the Bucks acquired Nikola Mirotic for Jason Smith and Thon Maker - two players who were no longer in their rotation - plus four future second-round picks.
Welcome to Milwaukee @threekola!!#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/xSkODqNP4E- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 8, 2019
Mirotic has struggled to stay on the floor this season due to injuries, but the veteran is hoping to make his debut with the Bucks on Thursday, when they host the Boston Celtics.
Before he does, let's take a closer look at how Mirotic fits in with his new team.
What does Mirotic bring to the Bucks?
3-point shooting - and a lot of it.
Mirotic has been a volume 3-point shooter for his entire career, with more than half of his shot attempts since coming to the NBA coming from the perimeter. He struggled in his rookie season, but he's since made 36.9 percent of his 3-point opportunities, an impressive number considering he's a 6-foot-10 power forward.
Most of those have been of the catch-and-shoot variety. According to NBA.com, Mirotic is knocking down 2.3 catch-and-shoot triples per game this season, putting him behind only Stephen Curry, Buddy Hield, Lauri Markkanen and Klay Thompson for most in the league.
That alone makes him a perfect fit in Milwaukee because there isn't a team in the league taking more catch-and-shoot 3-pointers than the Bucks this season. Mirotic even likes to shoot from the same spots as they do, which will only ease his transition.
The Bucks shooting heat map vs. Mirotic's heat map: a seamless fit. pic.twitter.com/XNgHjZdzBT- Seerat Sohi (@seeratsohi) February 7, 2019
Once a team that struggled to space the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo, head coach Mike Budenholzer has given their offence a much-needed face lift by surrounding the MVP candidate with four perimeter at all times.
Mirotic will almost certainly come off the bench, but he'll give Budenholzer the option of going big by playing him alongside Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez or small by slotting him in alongside only Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt.
The latter is a look we could see more in the postseason, when teams try to run Lopez off the court.
The Bucks already sort of have that option with Ersan Ilyasova, whom they signed to a three-year contract in the offseason. Ilyasova, however, is taking 4.7 3-pointers per 36 minutes this season compared to 9.0 for Mirotic.
That's the difference between a capable 3-point shooter and a legitimate threat who can heat up at a moment's notice.
Mirotic does a little more than just shoot 3s - he's a great rebounder, a willing cutter and a solid defender - but the Bucks traded for him knowing his strengths and how they align with what they are doing this season.
It's why the Bucks had an arguably better trade deadline than the Raptors and 76ers even though Mirotic doesn't come close to bringing the star power that Marc Gasol and Tobias Harris do.
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