“I wish you were more like ‘Big Baby’.”
The key to the Ray Allen trade this past draft day was the possibility that acquiring the smooth stroking shooting guard would give the Celtics a chance to later turn Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff’s contract, and other spare parts into a dominating troika that included Kevin Garnett. KG had never been a fan of Wally Szczerbiak and the chance to team up with Paul Pierce AND Ray Allen, who perfectly complement the big man’s game, would prove to be too tempting for The Big Ticket to pass up. Mission accomplished for Danny Ainge.
The reason for the first paragraph is to state that this deal cannot be looked upon entirely by itself, as it was more of a precursor to the KG trade that was consumated later this past off-season, adding infinite value to the move for the Celtics.
However, I would like to analyze this trade now based solely on the players interchanged by the two teams. To jog your memory the deal consisted of Boston sending Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and Jeff Green to Seattle for Allen and Glen Davis.
The deal accomplished quite a bit for Seattle, netting the number five overall pick in a deep draft to complement the newly drafted Kevin Durant, a decent young combo guard in West, and a veteran to help show the young guys how the NBA works until his twelve million dollar salary comes off the cap in two years.
While Seattle made the decision to use the #5 pick on Jeff Green and not Yi Jianlian or Corey Brewer, they got themselves a quality young player. The key question now is did they actually end up with the lesser of the two draftees traded?
A close inspection of both Jeff Green and Glen Davis shows that their talents aren’t that far apart, and certainly not to the point where almost 30 players should have been selected between them. Both can post up well, have solid jumpers from 15 feet, and have a good scoring touch. Green has a chance to play at either the 3 or the 4 because of his play-making abilities, while Davis will be rooted to the 4. The big difference between the two is their long-term physical abilities.
“Big Baby” is fat. He struggles to dunk a basketball at 6’9″, while Jeff Green is a solid athlete. This is the biggest difference between the two players. However, does this mean that Jeff Green will turn out to be the better player?
Based on their early returns one might find him/herself thinking that Davis may turn out to be the better investment. Costing much less, he has been a perfect fit down low for the Celtics, while Green has struggled on the leaderless SuperSonics. Big Baby leads all rookies in PER (UPDATE: After a mediocre showing against Toronto he has dropped to third), while Green checks in with a poor 10.89 rating, which signifies he’s a well below average NBA player at this point.
Roughly 20 games do not make a career, so there is no reason to believe that Green won’t develop into a very good player, but the first quarter of the season has shown us that at the very least Green and Davis will be linked for the rest of their careers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Green turn into the better all-around player, but wind up only slightly more valuable than Big Baby in the long-run.
Based on the previous determination, the trade must be seen as a slight victory for Boston. The Celtics acquired the best player in the deal–a franchise pillar–and a second rounder who could turn out to be the second best player in the trade. Seattle did well for itself, but they may look back in years to come and wish they had found a way to hold on to Big Baby.
Chicago’s starting to get hot. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games and might be turning things around. I still expect them to find their way into the play-offs.
Orlando has come back to earth after its incredible start. They were playing a little over their heads until their recent mini-slump, but certainly should be expected to remain in the top 3 in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto probably has the deepest roster 1 thru 15 in the league. They just keep finding guys who can step in and contribute.
Detroit has been gellin’ lately. They’re 8-2 over their last 10 and are now outscoring their oponents by 8.5 points per game, second only to the Celtics in the entire NBA.
Golden State has found its mojo, but don’t look for them to do too much damage in the play-offs. It’ll be either one and done or a nice first round upset like last year, but probably nothing more.
Portland has quietly won 6 in a row despite their constant struggles with injuries. This is a team that could be very interesting starting next season.
Utah is much better than it has been playing of late. Their roster is filled with good players and they have a Hall-of-Fame coach; don’t expect them to finish out of the top 5 in the West come the end of the season.
The Lakers have been playing extremely well. Andrew Bynum has taken some tremendous strides and could be a part of the next great wave at the center position along with Greg Oden and the head of the class, Dwight Howard.