A Substitute for War

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Posts Tagged ‘Amare Stoudemire

Should the Celtics trade for Amar’e Stoudemire?

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Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks addre...

Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks addresses fans at the team’s open practice session in October 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Amar’e Stoudemire coming back from injury, all the talk is of what to do with him. The Knicks have clearly been successful without him, starting 21-8. A key to this is Carmelo playing at the 4 beside Tyson Chandler, the two providing a perfect harmony of offensive spacing and mobile defense. Carmelo and Amar’e have never been able to win while on the court together. The offensive chemistry and synergy between them is impossible with their style of ball-needing play. While Amar’e seems destined to come off the bench when he returns, this does not fix the issue. Carmelo, Amar’e and Chandler will need to play together a certain portion of the game – and I suspect Stoudemire will want to finish games and play the end of 4th quarters. Coming off the bench is one thing, but being benched in “winning time” is arguably an even bigger slight to star player’s egos.

Trading Amar’e is the natural move, the problem is he has the single worst contract in the league. At 2 years/45 million owed after this season, if his health issues prevent him from playing at a star level, he will be a massive albatross.

Here’s the team I like for Stoudemire: The Boston Celtics. Boston has started a disappointing 14-14 and looks in no way like a title contender this year. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are still effective, the problem is the rest of the team. All of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger are performing poorly. The Celtics frontcourt in particular has been ineffective aside from Garnett. I’m of the belief that when you have old stars like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, you should push all in to try and win the title. Because having players that effective is a scarce asset and it can take decades to contend for a title again after they’re gone. The Celtics only being a .500 team in a year they expected to compete for a title is a huge failure from that perspective.

The thing about the Celtics is that they’re loaded with long term deals. Jeff Green is owed 3 years/27.1 million after this season and may be a below league average player, Brandon Bass is owed 2 years/13.7 million after the season, Courtney Lee is owed 3 years/16.3 million after this year. Combine those 3 poor contracts together and financially, it’s almost an exact match for Stoudemire’s salary. The Green, Bass and Lee combination is owed 19.6 million in 2012-2013,  20.65 million in 2013-2014, 21.6 million in 2014-2015 and 14.9 million in 2015-2016. Amar’e is owed 19.5 million in 2012-2013, 21.7 million in 2013-2014, and 23.4 million in 2014-2015. Because the Knicks do not likely have room for 3 extra players in their rotation, especially an extra wing defender like Lee, a logical swap would be sending back Ronnie Brewer and 1.1 million expiring contract. Brewer has been losing minutes lately due to his lack of shooting and would be replaceable by Lee.

So the Knicks move on from their Amar’e conundrum and get a legitimate backup big who’s OK being a backup in Bass and give Green a try at SF and PF, while replacing Brewer with Lee. All of these pieces are more moveable in upcoming years than Amar’e himself. The important part though is avoiding the potential chemistry nuke of an unhappy Amar’e returning and being benched in 4th quarters.

As for the Celtics, they hope Amar’e can spark them to contention this year. With Terry, Pierce, Amar’e and Garnett, the Celtics would have tremendous offensive spacing for Rondo to play with. They would have an extra scorer to match up with Miami, Chicago and New York’s tough defense in the playoffs. Defensively they would have to hope the team thank to Garnett can get back to the heights they were in previous years. Getting Ronnie Brewer back may help that as well. Overall, it’s a gamble, but one that doesn’t cost them anything financially and they’re in a position where they need to take chances, if they want to compete for a Finals berth again this year. With Rondo, Pierce and Garnett on the team they can’t be far away from contending again. One more big gun could do it.

Written by jr.

December 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Why the Knicks should consider the WTF move: Dumping the Amare Stoudemire era now

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Amare Stoudemire

(Image by Keith Allison via Flickr)

One of my biggest pet peeves recently is the assumption by Knick fans and others that it’s possible for the team to acquire Chris Paul or Dwight Howard next summer as is. It isn’t. For one, the team doesn’t have the capspace next summer with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combining for 40 million in salary alone. When this is pointed out, the answer is that the Knicks will force the team to trade for them. With what? The trade assets they don’t have? It’s not like they’re sitting on James Harden and Serge Ibaka to throw at the Hornets for Chris Paul. Their most valuable young player is Landry Fields. That won’t cut it. There’s almost no way for the Knicks to be in the position to get Chris Paul or Dwight Howard without either the capspace or trade assets that other teams have.

Thus what is more likely is this. The Knicks two best players a year from now are still Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The team is a decent playoff knockout and has little way to improve from that point on without any extra assets or capspace, until Amare’s health inevitably betrays him. Is this something the Knicks fans want? After the “Isiah and Eddy Curry decade” as it will forever be remembered, it’s a slight improvement in entertainment, but the goal should be to win the title eventually. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

November 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Why future #1 pick Andre Drummond reminds me of a bigger John Wall

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The draft board and stage pre draft.

Image via Wikipe

You may have been disappointed by the 2011 draft simply because it didn’t have any knockout prospects. I’m a bit higher on PG Kyrie Irving’s potential to be a top 10 or 15 player and maybe get close to where Mark Price was in impact and statistics, but certainly from a talent perspective, you didn’t have an “Oh my god” physical talent like John Wall, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Greg Oden were in their drafts.

2012 is different. Andre Drummond is the definition of an “Oh my god” physical talent and quite possibly the most purely talented player since Dwight Howard went 1st overal in 2005, if you consider Oden’s health issues as something to diminish his ‘physical gifts’. Like Howard he’s a freakish combination of massive size and outstanding explosiveness – and he’s showing solid touch and ability to pass at the high school level.

But there’s a catch. In the last year or so, he’s starting to get some criticism for coasting on his talent level in games – plus, his stylistic preference has been to be a face-up, finishing and finesse PF. The stylistic comparison for Andre Drummond has moved from Dwight Howard to Amare Stoudemire. Now I’m not going to say we should be remotely disappointing in Drummond having Amare’s career considering how outstanding he’s been offensively, and frankly I don’t have personal hand knowledge of Drummond’s makeup to say he won’t go back to playing center and mimicing Howard. I would suppose that if he is indeed a future PF, he has the potential to be like Amare offensively with greater rebounding and defensive ability – which would possibly make him a top 5 player. But I’ll tell you what his situation reminds me of: John Wall

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A Parable of Noah and Solomon

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Joakim Noah

Image via Wikipedia

And so it came to be that not long after the foul word used by the man they call Kobe, Noah himself did use the same word. From on high, the Association gave the decree to punish Noah as had been done before to Kobe. But from the crowd came an cry after it became known that the penalty for Noah would be only one half that of what Kobe was made to suffer. In response, the man in the high castle known only as Stu spoketh to his people:

He was provoked, and he used a statement to a fan that passed by him. So it’s different circumstances. We’ll continue to evaluate each one of these incidents separately and make a determination. But we felt in this case a higher fine wasn’t warranted.

Wise Stu

(Okay I’ll drop the bad Biblical language now) The comeback to this statement by the league that struck me came from Jeff Van Gundy on ESPN’s telecast of Game 4 between the Mavericks and Thunder: “They should have explained that in the initial fine of Kobe Bryant.

Obviously, if the league had laid out precisely how much every kind of fine was to start with, and then followed those rules, they’d have a bit more credibility when faced with criticisms of bias.

Personally?  Let me give my Huzzah to Stu Jackson and the NBA on this one as it shows them performing with a wisdom they didn’t show previously.

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Fixing the Knicks and the 2012 myth

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Image via GearLive

A month after the Carmelo Anthony trade,  the Knicks are crumbling and have lost 8 of their last 10 – with 6 to under .500 teams (2 to Indiana, 2 to Milwaukee, 1 to Detroit, 1 to Charlotte). With the success of the post Carmelo Nuggets, the vultures are swirling and declaring the Knicks trade a failure. Advanced staticians are picking Anthony’s game apart.

What’s going wrong? Ball movement on the offensive end. D’Antoni teams rely on spacing and finding the open man and Carmelo’s ball reliant, isolation game is an awful fit for this. Billups and Amare have yet to find their efficiency legs in the new get it to the stars offense. The Knicks also have among the worst offensive depth I’ve ever seen. In their last loss to Charlotte they started Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas beside Melo, Amare and Billups and their bench was Anthony Carter, Roger Mason, Jared Jeffries, Shelden Williams, Landry Fields and Bill Walker. That’s not going to cut it.

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The Nash Disequilibrium, or Why I Use +/- Statistics

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Image by OakleyOriginals via Flickr

I felt the need to write this as a result of the article I wrote on Kobe Bryant and his adjusted +/- statistics this season. That article showed my perspective as someone who uses these stats – this one gets into why one should use them.

I’m a math kind a guy. I’ve been making statistical rankings of basketball players and other such trivia for forever. When the internet was first reaching prominence, many did see how they would use it, though they actually did end up using it obviously. I was dying for it though from the start. To have access to data like basketball-reference.com has is like a geek nirvana for me.

Now, I always knew that in basketball, the stats didn’t cover everything, but I always figured that what they missed was relatively small and not ridiculously biased. And then in ’04-05, I found myself utterly fascinated by the Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash. Every metric I’d ever come up with or ever seen said that Nash wasn’t the best player on that team, but my common sense just found this absurd. He was the one directing that offense, not the scorers. The team had launched forward far beyond what anyone expected because of an improvement in team offense that was completely unbelievable, and the team had made but one major change and one other major decision: Sign Nash, and put the ball & decision making in his hands.

And Now for Something Completely Different

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Written by Matt Johnson

March 26, 2011 at 12:04 am

The value of “Tyson Chandler buckets” – Low volume, high efficiency scoring

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Tyson ChandlerOne of the advancements of basketball statisicians is a movement towards better wars of measuring scoring efficiency. The most popular is True Shooting % (TS%), which is more accurate of points per shot than FG% because it accounts for 3pt line and FT line scoring. The average TS% for teams in the league is .54. Thus player efficiency is measured by scoring above and below this line. Usually, we value players who score 20 points a game at .60 TS%. Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer are examples of players capable of this. But what about the players who score at an even higher efficiency, but at a low volume? Examples of this include Tyson Chandler who scores 10.3 points a game at a league leading .70 TS%, Matt Bonner who scores 7.6 points a game at .669 TS%, and this year’s Shaq who scores 9.3 points a game at .655 TS%. These seasons are usually not as valued due to the lower volume. But is this accurate? Let’s do a quick calculation:

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Written by jr.

March 15, 2011 at 12:11 am

7 Thoughts on the Melo Maneuver

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Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

Image via Wikipedia

Thank God, it *finally* happened. I say that both with the emotional inflection you think I’m using, and whatever the opposite is. Any big trade brings with it some fantastic new information to analyze which I love. At the same time Carmelo Anthony being traded means I don’t have to hear any more about the rumors and drama in Denver. Good times ahead. My initial thoughts on the trade:

1. Never been a huge Melo fan (as was clear in my Carmelo Conundrum piece). I remain steadfast in my opinion that however many tools are in his arsenal, he never came close to a consistent run at superstar levels. Now possibly that’s George Karl‘s fault. I doubt it, but I never say never. We’ll learn a lot more in the near future.

2. My thought for the Knicks about whether acquiring Melo was a good idea was always a mild yes, depending on the specific terms. I am however more positive about it with inclusion of Chauncey Billups. Seems to me what Mike D’Antoni really needs to make his scheme pop is a great point guard, and despite the fact that we keep seeing hype indicating that’s he’s turned another scrub point guard into a star, he’s actually been discarding point guards left and right in New York. Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Chris Duhon, and now Ray Felton, all gone. Clearly they didn’t have everything he wanted. Now we get to see how Billups does. This will be the closest thing D’Antoni’s had to Nash, so we’ll have to see if that finally does the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

The Empire State Wears No Clothes: Amare is NOT the MVP

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Amar'e addresses the masses

Image by Chamber of Fear via Flickr

Wow.  Alright, we’re have halfway through the NBA season, and the MVP race is the strangest I’ve ever followed.  Every candidate has a mark against them, and no one really would have a chance against the competition from last season, despite the fact that it’s all the same players and then some in the pool of candidates.  It’s tough, I know, but that’s no excuse for this fellas.

Sports Illustrated check came out with their mid-year awards, and if you take their writers’ votes and tally them up, Amare Stoudemire is their choice for MVP.  They aren’t alone.  nba.com’s Race to the MVP has Amare at #1, ESPN’s Awards Watch has Amare at #3.  That’s as good of a collection of the established media as we’re going to get right now in an award the media votes for – and they’re telling us Amare is the favorite for the MVP right now.  I keep my own weekly MVP list because I really enjoy thinking about this stuff, and because I respect the NBA’s MVP.  It’s fashionable to knock it, but I always defend the voters.  But this, folks, is just crazy.  Excuse me while I get on this here soap box so I can talk y’all down.

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 21, 2011 at 2:02 am

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/17

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (2)

I wasn’t really comfortable with Rose as high as #2, so I’m definitely not comfortable with him at #1.  He remains though the clear star of a very successful teams that has seem major injuries.  Rose takes over games like an MVP, and I know mediocre efficiency in and of itself is not necessarily as damning as we tend to think, but still, I don’t expect Rose will be able to hold on to this spot without proving (even) more than he already has.

2. Deron Williams (4)

40 games in, and the Jazz sans Carlos Boozer and with a disappointing Al Jefferson are on pace for their best record in over a decade.  A shout out to Paul Millsap, but this has everything to do with Deron being able to take on more than he’d ever been asked to do before.  Significantly more for example, than John Stockton was ever asked to do.  He’s right there with Rose.

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