Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Breaking Down the New Orleans and Charlotte Trade

This is a little late, and I'm not the only one that thinks this makes little to no sense whatsoever. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, and while various pundits have tried to explain it away somehow, I still can't help but sit and consider how remarkably incapable the Bobcats' front office really is. You'd have to think money plays into this somewhere, and that while Chandler is slated to make $2 million more than Okafor over the next two years, Okafor is signed for the next three following. It's a weak, but semi-palatable argument that gives Bobcats some resemblance of credibility on this trade, more so than Larry Brown's proclaimation of playing Chandler, at least for a little bit, at power forward. I could start pulling out numbers now and talk about immediately how Emeka Okafor is at the very least, Tyson Chandler with an offensive game. So in essence the main difference in what you're paying Chandler is 3 inches of height on Okafor.

For the Hornets this makes every single bit of sense. Not only do you retain the defense that Chandler once brought to the middle in Okafor, you add a legitimate third option scorer behind Chris Paul and David West, one that isn't as injury prone as Tyson Chandler (or Peja Stojakovic). This is important because this enables Chris Paul a little more help and decreases the necessity of having to create a shot for every single other player, he can simply toss it into the post every now and again and have Okafor back his man in. While he's no Tim Duncan, Okafor is a competent back-to-the-basket player, and therefore keeps the defense honest on him. Additionally, he can run the pick-and-roll as effectively as Chandler can. Finally, depsite being undersized, Okafor plays like a true center, requiring fairly close positioning in the paint without any teammates getting in his way, with David West's bread-and-butter being the mid-range jumper, the frontcourt has good synergy and the pieces fit well next to each other.

On the other side of the trade, I'm not really sure why they pulled this. Some argue that Okafor is too much of a center and the Bobcats haven't been able to put legitmate PFs next to him, ones that can shoot, which leads me to wonder, isn't Boris Diaw the Bobcats' starting PF? Doesn't he shoot pretty darn well? I mean, I'm pretty sure you'd have to, to be a starter in D'Antoni's 7-seconds-or-less offense. The only feasible reason would be that Larry Brown wants to run the offense less through the middle, meaning more touches and shots for who? Oh, yes, the offensive powerhouse of a trio in Gerald Wallace, Raja Bell, and Boris Diaw? Maybe Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin? Vladamir Radmanovic? Um.... Yeah, I don't get it either. As Brown mentioned in his interview, he might play Chandler sometime at PF making the other center either Nazr Mohammed or DeSagana Diop. Now, Mohammed has some scoring ability, but with a front court of Diop and Chandler? I was just watching the 1999 NBA finals on DVD, and Doug Collins consistently mentions how Jeff Van Gundy was loathe to play Chris Dudley simply because while defensively competent, he can't score, and therefore stressing the importance of buckets. Not to say that Chandler and Diop can't put the ball in the bucket when left alone, but they are by no means defensive stalwarts, and neither DJ Augustin nor Raymond Felton are extraordinarily adept at creating shots for others. I understand that defense is important, but a team full of defensive specialists that aren't exactly known to be able to score? Uh... did I miss a memo here? Sure it's nice to hold the opposition to 85 points, but it doesn't help if you can't even score 80.

No comments: