Did the Trail Blazers Improve at the Trade Deadline?
By Mike Rice Posted in: Blazers, Blazers, Bobcats, Bobcats, Celtics, Celtics, geraldwallace, geraldwallace, Knicks, Knicks, Lakers, Lakers, Mavericks, Mavericks, NicolasBatum, NicolasBatum, Nuggets, Nuggets, Spurs, Spurs, Thunder, Thunder
There is always a lot of speculation on winners and losers on the day after the draft and the day after the trade deadline.
The draft day after, is almost impossible to judge because you’re dealing with a college player coming into a team of Pro’s. In order to judge you have to speculate on his potential on his new team – whether his skills are needed, will he get enough minutes to show his ability. It’s a crap shoot to judge after even a year’s time, let alone the next day.
With that said, it’s a little easier to give grades on the trade deadline movement because all you have to deal with is why teams made the moves they made and will the moves make them a better team.
Let’s start with the Trail Blazers move with seven minutes to go at the noon deadline. It took a lot of patience and poise to get the deal the Blazers got. To begin with, Michael Jordan is one of the most competitive people on this earth. Reports indicate that he wanted Nic Batum and no one else to begin with. When the push came to shove, the Blazers had to give up Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks and draft picks for All-Star and all NBA-Defense Gerald Wallace.
In order to give a grade on this move, we have to look at the benefits that both teams would potentially get in the present and future. Charlotte gets a center in Joel, a power forward in Sean Marks, and a small forward in Dante Cunningham. They traded away Nazr Mohammed to the Thunder and were left with one center, Kwame Brown, so they probably will try to keep Joel and want him to play back up center. Dante will compete with Gerald Henderson for the small forward position to take Gerald Wallace’s spot. I think Sean Marks will be waived.
Now let’s look at what the Blazers get in the trade. To grade Gerald you have to start with the defensive end of the court where he is the total package. He can block shots, he is willing to sacrifice the body and take a charge, gets steals, and excel on one on one defensive assignments. That is why in 2009-10 he made all-defensive first team.
On the offensive end he has an outstanding at drawing the foul, and has added a solid three point shot to this game last year. His midrange game can be streaky, but his athleticism overcomes that.
Now the question is can Nate McMillan use an all NBA defensive guy who plays hard more offense and has always been an excellent locker room guy with his teammates?
Charlotte gets a C+ grade for this trade because of Joel’s expiring contract and because reports are saying that coach Paul Silas talked Joel into playing (instead of asking to be bought out), the hard working and future potential of Dante Cunningham and the potential of the two future draft picks.
The Blazers get an A+ on their move because I can’t think of a player that fits in as well as Gerald in the Nate McMillan system. You put him next to Wesley, Nicolas, LaMarcus, Camby and Roy on the defensive end and you can now start getting transition points from your defense. Gerald Wallace has three years remaining on his contract so maybe just maybe we can add Greg Oden’s name to the defensive in the future. Now that’s something to think about.
Some of the other grades on trade day were a B for the Thunder who picked up Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, and Nate Robinson. They lost Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. They did not want to pay Green big money and he plays the same position as Durant. The addition of big guys will help against San Antonio, Dallas, and Lakers in the playoffs. Because Green was a great third option on offense for them they only get a B grade on trade day because they lose some offense.
I can’t really give the Nets a grade on getting Deron Williams from the Jazz because they were thinking of just matching the Knicks superstar for superstar and not improving their team. Speaking of the Knicks, they gave up a ton of potential talent in Chandler, Felton, Gallinari, and Mozgov and draft pick to get Carmelo. If they can get Amare and Carmelo to play defense on the same day then they get an A for the trade. That’s not likely to happen so I give them a B for the entertainment value of the two stars together. Denver gets an A for pulling off some talent in a situation that might have been disastrous for them.
All in all the Blazers will end up having the best results from what they did on trade day 2011. You can send me congrats on my grade after the playoffs.