I am a cruel and heartless fan shaped by years of Isiah Thomas-as-GM and Derrick Coleman-as-Net, so I have to admit I was kind of rooting for this to happen. Next year’s Grizzlies will probably be a good offensive team by dint of pure talent, but they’re also likely to be the single most disorganized and incoherent offensive outfit of recent times. Rudy Gay has been gaining a ballhog’s rep of late, Iverson’s always been ball-dominant (and in fairness has often played on teams designed around him being so), OJ Mayo needs his shots to be worth anything, and… Zbo, who speaks for himself. They should run a contest to guess the average team assists per game, and if they do put me in for 4.5. This has a chance to be the greatest Rucker Park unit of all time, and as much as I hate to admit it I’m actually quite interested in how well it does or does not work this year- the Grizz will be bad, but the question is whether it’s an ordinary bad (25 wins?) or a towering, extraordinary bad (15?). They won 24 last year and in theory the maturation of a young roster plus the addition of new talent should make them better, but I’ve never yet seen Zbo be a positive and there’s a limit to the potential marginal improvement of adding more players who do the same things as the players you already had.
At least the Grizzlies understand that if you’re going to be awful, be interesting in the process.
I’ve done my share of bitching about other people’s articles of late- here’s one that’s really quite good, a post on the underrated The Painted Area blog looking at the NBA in Vancouver and why that never worked out.
One of the most active NBA trade seasons I can recall rolls on with a three-team guard swap. Let’s quickly break this one down:
– Mike James ($6 million, player option for $6.5 in 09/10)
-Javaris Crittenton ($1.4 million rookie contract guaranteed through 09/10, team option, qualifying offer thereafter)
New Orleans gets:
– Antonio Daniels ($6.6 million, through 09/10)
– A conditional second round pick from Memphis
– Their own first round pick back from Washington, which they originally sent out in the Juan Carlos Navarro deal.
The simplest move here is Memphis’, as they send out a guard they weren’t really going to use at all and get back what’s very likely to be a high lottery selection. Crittenton has talent but he’s played fewer than 7 minutes a game in only 7 games this year as Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley and OJ Mayo have all moved past him in the depth chart. If you can move a player who’s not in your plans and get back a lottery pick, you’ve done good business. Good deal for the Grizzlies.
For the other two teams, a lot of this comes down to Daniels and James and what to think of each of them, since their contract figures are essentially the same. Let’s run some numbers:
PER: James 6.14, third year of decline from a peak of 19.88 in 05/06; Daniels 11.22, second year of decline from 15.02 in 06/07, career peak of 19.72 in 03/04.
WP48 (last year): Daniels 0.159, James -0.110
Adj. +/- (last year): James -6.73, Daniels -7.41
Age: both are 33
Other numbers: James has had a major cratering of his shooting abilities in line with the PER drop, and has slipped to an unforgivable 38.6 TS% this year which is an awesomely bad figure for someone whose bread and butter is scoring ability. Given his age, the scale of the drop, and the fact that it’s continued for three seasons, I’m inclined to say he’s probably just got a large fork in his back. Daniels by contrast doesn’t seem to have any major statistical drop in one category, just a normal decline phase.
For New Orleans, this trade makes sense- they send out a totally done guard and get back a still-useful backcourt reserve for a team which they feel, probably rightly, can be a contender. There’s no difference in long term obligation, so the money’s a wash; a mild positive overall, then. For Washington, well…they get a warm(ish) body for now in James and a good young prospect in Crittenton, but they give up a still-useful player in Daniels and, worse, a lottery pick for Crittenton. I don’t really get it- if they wanted Crittenton, why not deal directly with Memphis? Was the slight contract difference between James and Daniels necessary to make this work? If they just wanted rid of Daniels, was James the best they could do? In theory this was made to address the guard position now and in the future, but I think they got worse now with James and I’m not sure Crittenton, drafted 19th overall, is going to be better than a guard you could get with Memphis’ lottery selection. If Stephen Curry is available at that slot they may end up kicking themselves for this one. Mild thumbs down for them.
EDIT: on further inspection, yep, the other chunk of this deal was necessary to clear space to get Crittenton to Washington, and there were some lottery protections on the first when the Wiz had it. Source here. I’m still not thrilled with the deal for them, but it makes more sense with those aspects taken into consideration. Mike James though…good luck, Washington.
Back later tonight with a Knicks/Nets report.