Monday, July 31, 2006

More Trade

News is coming out today making the Magloire trade official. There's great conversation about it all over the place. A few things I've noticed that have either been subjects of controversy or forgotten altogether:

--Several people are wondering what positions Magloire can play. He's always been a center and pretty much always been the best center on whatever team he's been on since he's matured. (That doesn't mean he's a savior. He has, after all, been traded several times. If he were all-world that wouldn't have happened.) I think he could also spend some minutes at power forward if needed. Neither Joel nor Raef take up a lot of space in the low post on offense, which clears the way for Jamaal. His quickness could be a liability guarding skinny, quick power forwards (you won't see him on Shawn Marion, for instance) but in cases like Tim Duncan I don't see any problem. Some have mentioned offensive concerns, which is legitimate, but I don't see it as horribly different from what Chicago is trying to do playing Ben Wallace and P.J. Brown together. They have a ton of scorers at the small positions, which is basically how we're evolving. Chicago is a couple years ahead of us in experience and talent development so it will likely work better for them than us. But I can still see it as a backup plan.

--One of the biggest questions is one I raised in the weekend post, namely where Magloire fits in terms of the hierarchy of big guys. Specifically I've noticed what to my mind is an overvaluing of Raef LaFrentz, which is common just after a trade. Forgetting contracts, leadership, and all the peripheral stuff, here is where I see our fours and fives ranking in terms of talent, skills, and production:

Before the Trade
Zach Randolph
Joel Przybilla
Brian Skinner and Raef LaFrentz (tie)
Lamarcus Aldridge (hasn't played yet)
Ha Seung-Jin

After the Trade
Zach Randolph
Jamaal Magloire
Joel Przybilla
Raef LaFrentz
Lamarcus Aldridge (hasn't played yet)

Admittedly the gap is large between Zach and everybody else in both cases. There's also another significant talent gap after Joel in both lists.

Whether you prefer Skinner or LaFrentz in the pre-trade list is largely a matter of whether you like more points, rebounds, and big-body post play or more blocks and an outside shot. Either way they're way down the chart. How much you value Skinner is about how you should see LaFrentz's value. (Which actually ends up being much worse because Raef's contract is downright awful.) In the second list the gap between Magloire and Przybilla is fairly small, but Jamaal has more experience and a little more well-rounded game so I gave the edge to him despite Joel's astonishing blocked shot numbers.

Anyway, the point is that Raef isn't that high in either list and actually ends up further down the depth chart after the trade than he was before. And if you're hoping Aldridge will develop into even a middle-of-the-road contributor, that puts Raef dead last.

--We shouldn't forget in the ensuing media hubbub that AM 1080's Ian Furness broke this story (in the Portland market at least). Furness was taking a lot of flak on draft night for his outspoken criticism of the team, some of which at least he must have had substantiation for from league sources. Apparently his sources are good at least in some respects. I wonder if this will rehabilitate him in the eyes of the fans. And don't forget that the Blazers targeted 1080 pretty hard in their post-draft Courtside show...Furness being the one who publicly talked about Darius Miles trade rumors that the team "debunked" that night. I found it funny that the Blazers' official response to the Magloire story over the weekend was "We don't comment on trade rumors". Ummmm...yes you do. So far we've learned if the rumor is false the Blazers will go public and castigate the people who mentioned it. If it's true they'll say "No comment".

If the team really wants to keep the cards to their vest they probably need a better poker face...

Edit: Eric Marentette is reporting that Steve Patterson will be sitting down with the guys at 1080 from 3 to 4 this afternoon. That is good to hear.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

9 Comments:

Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

Dave, in general terms, I disagree with your assessment of out talent level of our ‘bigs’. I would rate them: Godzilla, Maglorie, Zach, LaFrentz, Aldridge. Maglorie has already proven himself much better defensively than Zach could ever be in his dreams. It may be argued that Zach’s offensive game is much more polished- except Zach often refuses to set picks & screens and loves to turn the ball over late in games as he puts the ball on the floor when surrounded by three players. So is it really all that much better? Scoring average stats don’t always tell the whole story. I think LaFrentz is going to be the odd man out and he’ll be understandably unhappy. However, he got his big fat contract and that makes him so difficult to move that he’ll just have to be satisfied laughing all the way to the bank. If I were to look into my crystal Blazer Prophet ball, Maglorie will leave at the end of the season via FA (don’t look for a sign & trade) as he will be unhappy with his position on the team (unless Joel’s tendonitis really flares up and Maglorie gets serious PT), LaFrentz will be a bit role player, Aldridge will either take over Zach’s starting PF job OR get 30 MPG within 2 seasons as backup for both Joel & Zach.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Scoring up front? Can you say Bill Wennington/Dennis Rodman?

11:50 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I would agree, BP, if we look at things in a 5-on-5 sense. I'd rather have Przy on my team than last year's Zach with that contract for sure. But if you're just comparing 1-on-1, kind of like picking sides playground style, I think Zach goes first. Also Przy needs to put together a real, consistent season averaging starter's minutes before I'm ready to anoint him. That doesn't mean that I don't love him, just that Zach has had three (relative) quality seasons under his belt so I think when comparing individually it's easier to trust in his talent.

I'm glad that somebody else thinks Zach's game is way less valuable than the stats indicate though.

--Dave

11:50 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

OHHHH...this blog's first Bill Wennington reference! SCORE!!!

--Dave

11:51 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

At least this year we will not be run over by every team with a good scoring forward. I love the idea of using Joel and Jamal together as a roadblock in the post. We could play Jack, Webster and Roy on the outside and let them be the offense (although both Joel and Mags can be efficient post scorers when there isn't another post player who needs 20 touches per game).

This trade makes it easier to move Zach. I'd happily move him for an expiring and as high a 2008 first rounder as we could net. That would give us a year to let Aldrige learn and grow from a high-quality vet who knows the inside game rather than a selfish, stat-oriented, no-defense guy like Zach.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

randolph,t.o.,dixon,for a.i.
let's do it get it done period....

1:49 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

Yeah, I too think this looks like a prelude to trading Zach.

3:37 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

With all due respect, guys, trading Zach would be a major undertaking. His reputation has (is) taking a beating these days (and deservedly so). Most likely, all we could get is some team looking to unload a salary. Since we have already done that with LaFrentz, I don't think we need to add another to the list.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Earl said...

Personally I think if we're trading Zach for anyone we should wait til the trade deadline midseason. That gives the "New Zach" a chance to show he has some value. We'll play him 40 minutes a game and feed him the ball like crazy. Pad his stats and then we might be able to get something of value for him. Trading him now when his stock is low isn't really a good idea.

And I do think Zach is our most talented big. Not the most driven, that title goes to Joel. But Zach is definitely more talented. That drive to do things beside score makes a BIG difference though. So I'd rather have a guy like Joel on my team than Zach even though Zach has more scoring ability.

3:40 AM  

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