A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Chauncey Billups

Examining Steve Nash trade possibilities and the oversaturated PG market

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Steve Nash 00054121

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The Phoenix Suns need to trade Steve Nash this summer. At age 37 he has about one more year at this level and is an unrestricted free agent after the 11-12 season. Thus his is the last chance for the Suns to get value in return for their star. Virtually the only reason to keep him is ticket sales, which may be why Robert Sarver keeps him. But the Suns desperately need to take this oppurtunity to add young trade assets and start rebuilding. The longer they wait, the bigger the hole they create to climb out of.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, this is the worst possible trade market for Nash. With his age only teams looking to win a title now will be interested. But contenders like Boston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Chicago have PGs in place like Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose and won’t be interested. The win now teams where Nash fills a need like Dallas, Miami, the LA Lakers and Orlando have minimal trade assets. The lack of buyers for a PG Nash’s age and the lack of quality offers available on good teams diminishes Nash’s likely return. We are in the PG era.

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Everyone needs to pay attention to the Nuggets right now

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Nene Hilario

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

As an analyst, I love it when players change teams. I know, it goes against the very core of what fans do, and I feel that typical pull as well, but when a player changes teams we get to see what he really meant to his old team, as well as what he can do in a new situation. This is why I’ve been looking forward to Carmelo Anthony being traded ever since the rumors of his discontent surface. He in particular has always had a reputation among the general populace as a superstar that there was never any statistical basis for.

He is a very skilled scorer, but has never utilized it do produce great efficiency. The rest of his game has never had the breadth of impact the top tier of stars have. And then this season, a weird conversation began happening based around the idea that he makes his teammates shooting skyrocket. I commented on this and on him generally in my Carmelo Conundrum piece. The most amazing fact was that if you actually looked at his effect on teammates shooting efficiency, it was negative. While true superstars tend to indeed help their teammates get easier looks, Melo didn’t.

So now, Anthony is traded to New York, and we’ve seen the new look Denver Nuggets for 10 games. You probably already know that the Nuggets are doing well and find it interesting even before you get to the entertainment aspect of things (Denver just plays some pretty, pretty ball now), but I don’t think it’s obvious to people how glaring the success has been.

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Grading the Carmelo Anthony trade: Missed opportunity and opportunity cost

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The day we waded through months of painstaking trade rumors for finaly came. Carmelo Anthony is a Knick and will get his 65 million extension. For Carmelo and Chauncey Billups, the Knicks traded Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 1st and two Golden State 2nds to Denver as well as Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph to Minnesota for cap reasons. With the history of stars who want out getting traded for pennies, the Nuggets have to happy with their return. Not only due to the valuable talent coming back, but they also saved about 23 million by cutting enough salary to get under the luxury tax.

What about the Knicks? Despite the apparant leverage of Carmelo wanting to play there, they ended up mortgaging the entire farm. The threat of Carmelo going to the Nets apparantley pushed them towards it. Rumors of James Dolan and Isiah Thomas taking the negotiations from Donnie Walsh are in the air.

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7 Thoughts on the Melo Maneuver

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Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

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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 »

Lame Duck Melo = Best Offense in the League?

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So don’t look now but the Denver Nuggets have the best offense in the league. Their offensive efficiency is at 112.4, which is the best in franchise history, and when you account for strength of schedule their performance this year as an offense moves even ahead of the one team this year with a superior raw efficiency (Lakers).

Of course their doing this in a year where their putative superstar, Carmelo Anthony, has told the organization he wants to be somewhere else, and questions and rumors have formed a dark cloud around everyone associated with the Nuggets.

More tangibly, they are doing this in a year where Carmelo has missed 7 games, is playing less per game than in previous years, and most importantly his scoring has dropped from 28.2 PPG to 23.6, while his shooting efficiency has dropped from 54.8% TS to 52.2 (the league average is 54.0%).

I’ve posted before on the question of how good Carmelo is, so you know I’m not a huge fan. It’s funny though, the thought about how good the Nuggets offense is right now just didn’t come to mind. What’s funny is that that whole debate was kickstarted by Nate Silver’s odd argument about Melo making his teammates shoot better. The argument has been shot down, but on a superficial level without looking at previous seasons, this season’s performance by the rest of the Nuggets would seem like a great piece of evidence in Melo’s favor. Teammates Nene, Arron Afflalo, and Chauncey Billups are all shooting at 62% TS or better, which is utterly insane. The best offense from last year had none of their big minute players shooting that well.

So either, Melo’s reached the pinnacle of improving teammate shooting by deciding he doesn’t care about his team any more and going into a personal slump where he plays less than ever, or, the rest of the Nuggets are good enough that it doesn’t make sense for them to stand around while Melo volume scores. And of course, if you don’t want Melo to volume score, why would you want to pay him upwards of 20 million dollars each season?

Written by Matt Johnson

January 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

The Carmelo Conundrum, how good is he?

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Carmelo Anthony during an NBA preseason game i...

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Carmelo Anthony has been a lightning rod for debate for a long time, but with his recent decision that he doesn’t want to play for the perpetual playoff team Denver Nuggets any more, we’ve reached a local peak in activity.

A few days back political statistical superstar Nate Silver wrote an article about Melo.  I’m a big fan of Nate’s – but it really was a terrible article.  First off the title was “Why Carmelo Anthony is the Ultimate Team Player”.  Aside from the fact that “ultimate team player” isn’t something that can be measured by statistics completely, it’s not like Silver actually went about comparing him to other players and showing Melo’s superiority.  I really hope that the title choice was done by someone other than the statistician.

I focused though on Silver’s specific analysis.  He’s saying that teammates do better at shooting efficiently with Melo.  Taken at broad strokes, this is essentially a +/- argument using shooting efficiency instead of the scoreboard.  While such an analysis can be useful because it is specific enough to suggest a particular means of impact, if we’re talking about a player’s overall impact it’s inherently weaker than what we call +/- statistics because it factors in only one part of the game, and so I said as much:  Whatever Melo’s factor on his teammates shooting, his total impact based on the +/- stat of greater scope and at least as much credibility is not anything like the true superstars of the world like draftmates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Today Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop has an article about the debate about how good Melo is, and it’s pretty good.  It mentions things from both sides.  Among other things it mentions a more clean take down of Silver’s analysis:  Silver analyzed this by measuring efficiency of players when they were on Melo’s team compared to on other teams, but if you actually look at his on/off numbers on 82games.com, you see that for both this year and last year, his team shoots better when he’s on the bench.

I want to respond to some specific points from Henry’s article:

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 18, 2011 at 11:01 am