Trade Winds


I’m not really sure how anyone could totally process all these trades that went down, but that didn’t stop the ESPN crew from grading and dissecting them in four separate columns, to the tune of several thousand words: Hollinger, Stein, Simmons, Ford. Which is fine, we all want to read about these trades and it’s the worldwide leader’s job to provide content. What I don’t get is why sports pundits subscribe to the cable-news idea that the only worthwhile commentary is passing judgment.

For instance, Hollinger followed the draft-day model and graded every trade. Of course, he uses PER as his basis for all the grades, but most stat-heads I’ve read admit that all these complicated statistics measure only past performance. They hold little to no predictive value. So… how can you assign grades down to pluses and minuses when your numbers don’t say anything about how the new pieces will all fit? Or Simmons, who watched Chris Paul destroy an anxious, amped up, and adjusting Mavs team and declared that all his worst fears about Kidd were confirmed.

For now, even the limited evidence available is returning a ton of variation. The Suns just gave up 130 points to the Lakers and then held the Celtics to 77. Kidd had 5 assists and 6 turnovers in his first game, then turned around two nights later and handed out 15 dimes . Hell, Chicago went from being the most disappointing offensive team of the season to scoring 135 points in a regulation game — more, apparently, than the franchise ever scored in a game in the last 7 years of the Jordan era.

Going forward, it seems like it would be more helpful to offer fans something to watch for — whether on the court or statistically — that should signify whether these trades are having their intended effect. One example could be to watch how the Suns defensive rebounding rate and defensive efficiency increase with Shaq. Maybe I’ll think of some more for a post tomorrow.

At this point, only one thing is certain: everyone’s happy. Kobe’s delight, the high spirits in the Phoenix, and even Marion’s excitement about a fresh start are well chronicled. Dirk and Josh Howard are both gushing about Kidd, who’s wanted out of NJ forever. Devin Harris said he’s glad to be out from under the Little General’s marching orders. Lebron and Damon Jones seemed completely amped in a short-handed win the other night, like they were trying to put on a show for their new teammates (who had to watch in street clothes). Larry Hughes told the AP he’s happy to be out of Cleveland and no longer pretending to be a point guard. Unless you’re Brent Barry or doomed to Memphis, things are looking up, apparently.

I can’t believe I’m wrapping up by quoting Joakim Noah, but he said it best: “I think the most important thing tonight is just being happy in this locker room,” said Noah, who reportedly clashed with Wallace. “We haven’t done that too much this year.”

How long the backslapping lasts for all these teams is anyone’s guess.


2 Responses to “Trade Winds”

  1. Quality Analysis « Blogjammin’ - An NBA Blog Says:

    […] Blogjammin’ – An NBA Blog « Trade Winds […]

  2. Big Stat Attack « Blogjammin’ - An NBA Blog Says:

    […] Stat Attack Following up a previous post, let’s throw out some stats that seem like logical indicators of whether these huge trades […]

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