The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

A’Ma’Re S’tou’De’Mir’e’

Spelling of dude’s name changes every season, I swear. By the end of his career he’ll either have converted to Islam like Kareem or be known as “Bill Smith.”

Anyway, just so I’m on record before (if) it happens- this is not a great move for the Nets. “Bill” is by all accounts looking for a max contract, and in exchange for that he brings to the table offensive dynamism, certainly. But consider this: offensively, his performances this season (PER of 20.23) and last (20.39) have been noticeably down from the two previous campaigns (27.29, 23.15), he’s got a history of bad leg injuries and relies to a great degree on his athleticism, he’s not got much of a history of being able to excel on a team which doesn’t have Steve Nash running the point, defensively his plus/minus numbers aren’t so hot, and his rebound rate among 4s clocks in at a lovely 35th. He’s very good and very flawed all at once.

None of this is to say that he’s a BAD player; it is to say that he’s the perfect player for a team like Cleveland, where he can slot into an already established team which excels at defense (6th in team defensive rating) and rebounding (2nd in team rebounding rate) and which can use additional offensive weapons, and has players who can get Bill the ball and use him to best effect. In that context, he’s a great 2nd or 3rd piece. The Nets are not that team- 17th in pace where Phoenix are 3rd (yes, Cleveland are 28th, but they have the tools to go up-tempo if they desire), with a point guard who’s more ball-dominant than distributor and a best offensive player who already takes up most of the available post space. What’s more, let’s be serious: if everything goes right for the Nets from here on out- Brooklyn move, Wall in the draft, etc.- they are still 3-5 years away from serious relevance again. By that time Stoudemire is 31 to 33 years old and making a huge amount of money, likely given his health history performing at a level far below his pay grade, and quite possibly becoming a bit of a personality issue in the process. At best it’s the Rockets and Tracy McGrady all over again. For my money, if I’m the Nets I’d rather keep my powder dry and save the cap room for someone who’s much more likely to be a key contributor on the next contending Nets team. Stoudemire is a very good player, but if he’s your best player you are not a title challenger; and if you have someone better than him, it should be fairly obvious by now that players at his level are usually out there for the getting when the time arrives to make a serious play.

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January 26, 2010 - Posted by | The Nets

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