A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Make this trade: Danny Granger for the Minnesota 2012 1st (owned by the LA Clippers)

with one comment

Chauncey Billups & Danny Granger

Danny Granger would be an excellent fit on the LA Clippers (Image by Jeremy Andrews via Flickr)

I had planned to wait until the lockout ends to make posts about offseason fake trades, but why not single out individual ones – I can just revisit them later. I love this trade in particular:

The LA Clippers trade:

Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 1st

Ryan Gomes (2 years, 8 million)

Randy Foye (4.2 million expiring)

The Indiana Pacers trade:

Danny Granger (3 years, 39 million)

Why should both teams do this?

First, the Clippers side: I truly believe the Clippers are closer to becoming not only good, but a title contender than people give them credit for. The model for building a contending starting lineup is almost always the same. You have your double team magnet superstar, your 2nd all-star caliber scoring – and then beside them, three more key ingredients: Size in the frontcourt, shooters on the perimeter, and enough athleticism to rotate hard defensively. Here’s what the Clippers could be looking at after this trade: A future superstar in Blake Griffin and high end 2nd option in Eric Gordon, surrounded by one of the best PG shooters in Mo Williams, one of the best SF shooters in Danny Granger, and one of the biggest frontcourts in the league with the Deandre Jordan and Chris Kaman C combination. Gordon, Granger, Griffin and Jordan are all athletic players, giving the team fast defensive rotations. Granger I believe could have standout perimeter potential if conserving his energy and fouls more than he does as a 1st option in Indiana. He has the length, basketball IQ and attitude for it.

Is this team missing anything? The biggest hole is a true PG, but the amount of teams who’ve won titles with score first PGs, let alone contended, is surprisingly high. If you have a number of players that willingly move the ball and the offensive star power to create open shots, you don’t *need* a true PG. I believe this team would be fine without that model. After that, the next biggest weakness is likely perimeter scoring off the bench. The team would have a number of ways to address this. PG Eric Bledsoe and SF Al-Farouq Aminu are young players who could either develop into those contributers or be dealt for them. They could also look into an MLE signing to back up one of those positions. Furthermore, Rome was not built in a day and everyone in the immediate core has years left. Granger is 28, but his longevity going forward may be underrated. He has under 15 thousand minutes played total, giving him the legs of a 25 year old player – furthermore, with his height and shooting ability he’s built to still valuable as spot up SF after he loses a step in his mid 30s. Otherwise, if the team failed next year from youth and an undeveloped bench, they’d have years to address this.

This is an aggressive move, especially in light in the team trading the 2011 1st round pick to swap Baron Davis for Mo Williams and having it blow up in their face by Cleveland winning the lottery with it and selecting Kyrie Irving. That’s a sunk cost that has to be forgotten. It should have no implications on future decisions. The Minnesota pick could end at 1st overall and will be for sure if there’s no season, true. But so far the most impressive prospects in college have been SG Jeremy Lamb and PF Anthony Davis – both whom would make no sense for the Clippers beside Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin. C Andre Drummond is in the mix, but he’s looked incredibly raw in college and appears to have a questionable basketball IQ. There’s a chance he could be a Deandre Jordan type C long term. Still, Drummond becoming Dwight Howard 2 on another team is the biggest risk the Clippers make by this trade. The question is whether the reward of making this trade is worth it.

To me it is. This can be one of the most complete teams in the league right now and all the pieces would be there for the Clippers to be relevant for the next decade, while still leaving valuable trade assets in the bank to be flexible modifying the team if it needs to be. When you have the chance to build a complete roster on the table, you have to take the chance before it goes away.

Now, for Indiana: Although they had a respectable 8th seed playoff run next year and everyone generally likes their team and how hard they play – You have to consider the big picture. Where are the Pacers going from here? What is their upside? Can they be anything more than a playoff knockout led by Granger? They are an ideal supporting cast for a great team, but lacking the centerpieces and will be picking low enough in the draft to have no chance at getting one. Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward. Trading Granger now for the Minnesota pick puts them right in the mix for those star prospects, with possibly two picks deep in the lottery including their own if the team’s record slides to the bottom of the league without Granger. If they land a Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond and they reach stardom, to go along with Paul George at his natural SF position, Roy Hibbert at C and another good 2012 prospect from their own draft pick – now that’s one hell of a young core with upside to reach the top of the league. As an additional benefit, the Pacers are bleeding money as much as anyone in the league – this helps them cut salary commitment long term.

This trade achieves what both teams want. The Clippers get the stud veteran to compliment their youth as they try to move up the NBA ladder now, and the Pacers give themselves the long term upside they presently lack. Make this trade!

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Written by jr.

November 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

One Response

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  1. why not screw the clippers?trade griffin and gordon for poseys championship accumen, the rights to double double whitebread McRoberts and, say, two future first-round picks of Indiana..sounds a tad stupid, wouldn`t you say? so why screw Indiana??

    georgeW

    November 24, 2011 at 3:03 am


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