Tag Archives: Bill Simmons

The People’s 2011 NBA Trade Value Column

Earlier this week, I was asked by the Knicks blogger who runs the imminently readable “What Would Oakley Do?” website to participate in the first annual “People’s NBA Trade Value Column” — the NBA blogosphere’s response to The Sports Guy’s annual NBA trade value column at ESPN.com.

If you realize nothing else about WWOD, know that it has everything to do with a chain of carwashes owned by “the roughest and toughest power forward ever to own a chain of carwashes,” which met with hearty approval from The Bob Boozerjinx editorial board.)

Also know that, while I don’t mind The Sports Guy Bill Simmons so much, there is much about ESPN coverage of the NBA that I find truly abominable, so I jumped on board to be the Bucks’ voice in The People’s Trade Value Column.

This basically entailed figuring out who I would trade Andrew Bogut for straight up, taking age, health, salary and contract length into consideration.  Brandon Jennings has, as most Bucks fans realize, fallen out of consideration for this Top 50 list and the Bucks don’t have anybody else quite worthy of consideration unless it’s the Mbah a Moute-Ilysaova monster at power forward.  I decided to make a note on Ilyasova and leave it at that.

Would I trade Bogut for Kevin Garnett?  Maybe, but then I looked at KG’s contract and dismissed the idea.  I wouldn’t trade Bogut for Chris Bosh unless Bogut couldn’t walk, but then Bosh’s contract moves Bogut ahead of Bosh, too, on the list.  It all seemed fairly sensible until I read Simmons Trade Value Column this morning.

Simmons, in a podcast preview, had Bogut at about 30th, ranked with KG and Bosh, guys whose contracts are a lot more onerous the Bogues’, so I had in mind that I would probably move him up a few spots.   But in Simmons’ published version, he dumped AB all the way down to #40, at the head of a group that included Nene, Luis Scola, Danny Granger, Paul Millsap and Kevin Martin.  And Simmons failed to mention that Bogut is playing with one arm this season.  For reasons known only to someone who lives in L.A., Simmons then irrationally ranked notoriously injured Lakers center Andrew Bynum ahead of them all, despite his more-expensive-than-them-all contract.

Without further ado, here was my response:

Brandon Jennings is Simmons’ “toughest omission.”  The part of that I would argue with is this “toughest” thing.  Brandon’s a great kid who’s so quick he makes John Wall look like Chauncey Billups, and Isaiah Thomas raves about him in the March issue of GQ as one of the NBA’s top “five under 25” — but BJ has some growing to do.  He may never shoot consistently well enough to be a winning NBA point guard, and the Bucks should be open to offers for him.  Ouch, the Sports Guy is right — it is tough to come to that conclusion.

Ersan Ilyasova would be a much tougher omission if anybody at ESPN could remember his name. The Bucks starting power forward’s star will rise as fast as the Bucks allow it to, which is to say that the team has not allowed Ilyasova’s star to rise even as they’ve discovered that he’s making every five-man rotation he’s a part of play winning ball (+/-).  The hope here is that the Bucks will set his value (he’s currently a steal at $2.5 million per year, next season unguaranteed) without interference from the rest of the league. We may not get there, but he deserves consideration as a “cost effective building block.”  (Let’s call this a “watch list” note).

22. Andrew Bogut. When your center dominates the second half of a nationally televised NBA without taking a shot, there are two logical reactions.  The first is to wonder why the biggest man on the court isn’t getting more touches in the offense, and what could possibly be wrong with either the biggest man on the court or his teammates.  The second is to start counting blocked shots and rebounds and, oh there’s the charge he just took, and to look at the beleaguered faces of the guys on the other team fighting in the paint with your center, possession after weary possession. A third (and completely obligatory) reaction is to look up at the scoreboard, where you see that your team is ahead by 5 midway through the 4th quarter against the rugged sea of tattoos that are the Denver Nuggets.

The Bucks managed to lose the game down the stretch, but then, your center isn’t the player who threw the ball away in transition after he killed another Nuggets possession with a blocked shot.  Your center didn’t shoot 1-for-18 from the 3-point line or put himself in a position where the coach has to play him 44 minutes to give your team a shot at winning the game.  All Andrew Bogut did against Denver was grab 20 rebounds, block five shots, alter countless others, take a charge and control the defensive paint while wearing the Nuggets down and putting his team in position to win the game.

Bogut does this night in and night out. He’s 5th in the league in rebounding (11.5 per game) and leads the league in Defensive Plays (blocks, steals, charges taken) clocking in at just over 4 per game.

People, all this is difficult to trade and well worth the $13 million per year that the Bucks are paying Bogut through 2014.  That’s full time, borderline All-Star/All-NBA center pay in the NBA, and it’s less of a commitment than the Bulls have made to Joakim Noah, who’s under contract through 2016. Noah’s health has been worse than Bogut’s, believe it or not, and he’s been routinely outplayed by Bogut on the occasions that they’ve gone head-to-head.  Wherever one stands in the Bogut-Noah debate, edge to Bogut based on more reasonable length of contract.

Would you rather have Josh Smith’s shorter contract (2013, $25.8 million) and a hole in the pivot?  No.  And Bogut’s DPOY play at center gives him an edge over the other guards and forwards ranked behind him in the “borderline franchise player” group.

Want more efficient offense out of Bogut?  Trade for Al Horford or Amar’e Stoudemire, the big men ranked just ahead of Bogut.  But note that AB is clearly out of the can’t-win-with-Chris-Kaman-woods and is one of the better passing big men in the game.  And did we mention that his right arm, mangled in a horrific fall last March, is still on the mend?

Bogut’s scoring 13 points per game in the NBA with one arm, but we’re the Milwaukee Bucks, so, no — we’re not infuriated that you asked us about his availability.

So there you have it.  My thinking was to simply organize Simmons list and move Bogut up into a group of “Borderline Franchise” players that are (or will be in Joakim Noah’s case) working under $12 million per year contracts and all happen to play in frontcourt.  It’s a natural grouping that Simmons mixed up by putting in … the Warriors starting backcourt and Eric Gordon?   The result looks like this:

25. Rudy  Gay

24. Josh Smith

23. Joakim Noah

22. Andrew Bogut

21. Al Horford

20. Amar’e Stoudemire

No, that’s not an acknowledgement that Horford, or Stoudemire for that matter, are centers (Horford’s not; Amar’e plays more center for the Knicks than Horford does in Atlanta) but more of a nod to the fact that Horford’s right hand works better than Bogut or Noah’s.

Stoudemire begins Simmons’ first “Franchise” group, and rightly so, though I’m pretty sure he and D’Antoni will never deliver a championship.

Sponsored by: Trade Michael Redd

Like ESPN’s Bill Simmons, would-be GM of the Milwaukee Bucks and master of the Michael Redd shootingESPN Trade Machine, I consider basketball-reference.com the bible. A bbr window is almost always open on my desktop, despite that I know basketball refuses to be reduced to a game of statistics.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I clicked to the bbr link for the 2007-08 Bucks and found that our 2007-08 Bucks had, as of April 21, acquired a sponsor: Aporiatwo.

No info is given about our proud sponsor, but “Aporiatwo” has this message for Bucks fans: 

“Why not the Sports Guy for GM? 2nd last in sieve-like defense, another lottery for us loyal Bucks fans. Why not the master of the Trade Machine? Think of what we could get for Michael Redd…”

Yes, it’s come down to this: Bucks fans so disgruntled they welcomed ESPN “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons as GM, probably because Simmons at least promised to make losing a little more fun.

(I’d post a link to Simmons’ fine writing here but “The Sports Guy” has yet to credit the Jinx for the hire-Sam “I Am” Cassell-as-player/coach idea. I wrote it first. Simmons knows it. He’s ducking me, probably because he figures he one-upped me with shock value by proposing Sam as player/head coach. I had Sam in mind for an offensive guru-type assistant. But here’s the kicker, Simmons’ high maintenance “idea” requires an NBA rule change – can’t play and be head coach at the same time. My idea – which came first – is perfectly legal as is. That makes my idea not only first but better – I PLAYED BY THE RULES!!!  Simmons, the ball is in your court.)

(Deep breath) Now that that’s off my chest, where we were we? …. Right, disgruntled Bucks fans entertaining Simmons’ madcap GM campaign;

AND mad enough to pay good money to brand our Bucks on bbr page with a “Michael Redd trade” message. The sponsorship cost Aporiatwo $30 cash money.

Aporiatwo, I realize that “trade Michael Redd” has become the motto of the season for Bucks fans, and I’m down with the cause, but … That’s a case of beer and a six pack!!!  What were you thinking?  


As if some strange synchronicity among Bucks fans was at work, shortly after finding Aporiatwo’s “trade Redd” branding, I clicked over to the RealGM.com Bucks fan forum (which I don’t often do) to see if anything was going on with Scott Skiles’ assistant coach search that I might have missed. Sure enough, at that very moment, the realgms, ballboys and scouts were in the process of trading Michael Redd to Cleveland Cavaliers. Now there’s an idea! (It was the trade of the week last week here on Bob Boozer Jinx).

Although I do admit to taking a certain amount of creative license in calling Lebron James’ cell, I was (and still am) quite serious about the anatomy of the Michael Redd trade to Cleveland. The Cavaliers get Redd; the Bucks get 21-year-old shooting guard Daniel Gibson and the Wally Szczerbiak contract (one more year at $12 million). Keep it simple, get it done.

A few posters on realgm came to similar conclusions – Bucks would have to get Gibson or F/C Anderson Varejao or both; Cleveland would require that the Bucks take Wally’s contract, no way around it. The Cavs cannot afford to keep both Redd and Wally at shooting guard. The realgm-ers also added to the mix the Cavs #19 pick in the 2008 draft.

Gibson and Valejao are young players who can ball. Gibson’s been a better shooter than Redd the last two years (Gibson’s first two seasons in the league). Varejao’s like a young Dan Gadzuric, but less of a train wreck — a monster rebounder and a good defender. Because of Big Ben Wallace’s back and Z-Ilgauskus’ age, however, Cleveland’s not likely to risk parting with Varejao.

Gibson’s an up-and-coming player and a good pickup; and Wally (he’s only 30) would be a good veteran to have around for a year. He would fit in. Redd has nothing on either of them as an outside shooter, and the rest of his game would not be missed. The Bucks get better in the trade without the draft pick, and don’t risk the baggage of any other team’s expensive, tradebait “stars” who could hurt the development of the team.  With the pick, it’s a sweet deal.  Why would the Bucks turn it down?


Back to basketball-reference.com  Other teams have sponsors too, but their fans haven’t been so activist with the messages as Aporiatwo, which is why it’s worth a mention. Most fans who buy player and team stat page sponsorships don’t leave any message at all, but there is this little note from the 2007-08 Miami Heat page sponsor, Eduardo Kupfer:

“Ah Riles, you slay me.”

“Riles” being Heat GM Pat Riley, who recently vacated the Heat coaching job – yikes!  How’d you like to see that message for a year on your team’s reference page? Buck up, Heat fans, you’ve got D-Wade.

One last bbr sponsorship note: The charge to sponsor the Michael Jordan page for a year is $520, or $10 per day. It’s much more economical to be a Bucks fan. Marques Johnson sells fo $20; Sidney Moncrief for $25. Kareem‘s takes the sky hook of Bucks players – $220 – but isn’t that the cost of Kareem being a Laker?