Tony Snell went from the back of the bench in Chicago to a starting role in Milwaukee.
Just like that.
The Bucks’ desperate need at shooting guard led to the trade late Saturday that sent point guard Michael Carter-Williams to the Bulls and brought the 6-foot-7 Snell a great opportunity in Milwaukee.
Snell admitted Tuesday it was a stunning turnaround for him, but the former New Mexico player said he would be ready by the time the Bucks open the regular season against Charlotte on Oct. 26.
“I was really excited,” Snell said. “It was really mind-blowing to come in and get the (chance to) start and show what I can do best.
“I already talked to some of my teammates and I saw the first practice. I know what this team needs. I’m going to go in and try to provide my knowledge and everything I learned from the Bulls the last three years. Bring it here and do the best I can.”
Snell sat out Tuesday’s practice with a sprained left ankle suffered in a Bulls practice. But he was confident he would be able to return to the court in a few days.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd said he believes Snell can handle a starting role and help fill the gap left by Khris Middleton, who will be out at least six months following hamstring surgery. The 6-7 Middleton led the Bucks in scoring last season and was the team’s primary three-point threat.
“He’s still young and is still learning the game,” Kidd said of Snell. “He’s extremely long and fits the makeup of what we’re trying to do here.
“He has an opportunity to start. If we can get him up to speed by Wednesday we could look at starting him against Charlotte. That’s a possibility.”
The Bucks (2-3) close their six-game preseason schedule against Indiana on Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Then they will have a week to prepare for the real thing.
The 24-year-old Snell has started 67 of 213 games in his NBA career and averaged 5.3 points and 18.5 minutes while shooting 35.1 percent from three-point range with the Bulls.
Those numbers could rise given the Bucks’ need at shooting guard.
“He can play multiple positions as a wing,” Kidd said. “You look at being able to stretch the defense. And he’s not just a shooter but can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket.
“Defensively, he uses his length and always is taking the challenge of guarding the better of the two wings. He enjoys playing both sides of the ball, which we definitely like.”
Snell said he wouldn’t try too hard to replace Middleton’s production.
“That’s the last thing to put on yourself in a new spot, to put pressure on yourself,” Snell said. “When you work hard, there’s no such thing as pressure.”
Snell said he’s excited about playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, the Bucks’ 21-year-old duo.
“They’re young superstars,” Snell said. “They’re really talented and very young, so they’ve got a lot of room to grow. But so far, they’re amazing.”
Snell said he learned from many of the Bulls veterans over the last few years. He mentioned Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng.
“It kind of caught me off-guard,” Snell said of the trade. “But I know everything happens for a reason, and I’m here.”