By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Feb 09, 2023 at 3:16 PM Photography: Phoenix Suns Facebook

The Milwaukee Bucks may have an eight-game winning streak and the third-best record in the entire NBA, sitting in second place in the East – but there's always room to improve. And that's what the Bucks just did at the trade deadline, making a deal for long-rumored target Jae Crowder. 

As first reported by The Athletic's NBA insider Shams Charania, the Bucks received Crowder from the Brooklyn Nets – who just acquired the veteran from the Phoenix Suns in Wednesday evening's blockbuster Kevin Durant trade – in a three-team exchange involving the Indiana Pacers and five total second-round draft picks. In addition to the second-round picks, Milwaukee also traded away bench pieces George Hill, Jordan Nwora and Serge Ibaka to the Pacers in the deal. 

It's not the flashiest deal of this year's deadline – but on paper, it's exactly the deal the Bucks need to prepare for another run at the NBA Finals. Crowder brings the outside defensive grit and presence Milwaukee needs – particularly against the Boston Celtics' talented twofer of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who menaced Grayson Allen and the Middleton-less Bucks in last year's postseason defeat. And while it's not as consistent as his defense, Crowder can also shoot from outside effectively.

In exchange for a serious rotation player, Milwaukee loses a bunch of second-round picks that basically don't matter, two players in Hill and Nwora who currently struggle as defensive liabilties, and Ibaka, whose most notable highlight with the Bucks came when Giannis roasted him on his own YouTube show. So yeah, that's a winning deal for Milwaukee – and while there may be concerns that, due to an early-season trade request with the Suns, Crowder has yet to take the court once this year, he'll have the whole second half of the regular season schedule to get warmed up to NBA speed and acclimated to the Bucks.

In the end, think of the deal as the P.J. Tucker trade 2.0, with Milwaukee getting a tough defender to throw at their hardest playoff opponents plus the occasional three-pointer to keep the other team's defense on its toes. Hopefully it comes with the same result too: Giannis and company hoisting the trophy and hosting a victory parade. 

As a sentimental bonus, the trade serves as a bit of a homecoming for Crowder, who made his name with two strong seasons as a Marquette Golden Eagle from 2010-2012. Marquette went to the Sweet Sixteen in both of his seasons, with Crowder averaging 17.5 points per game and earning Big East Player of the Year honors in his second MU season. Judging by Crowder's post-trade tweets, he seems happy to return to Brew City.

Save for any small-scale moves on the post-trade deadline buyout market, Milwaukee's now ready for the rest of the season, currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference at 37-17 and bringing an eight-game winning streak into Los Angeles tonight against LeBron James and the Lakers. There should be much more exciting Bucks basketball to come – so stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates and info as they chase another championship.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.